John was born in 1729, his parents being John West, 6th Baron De La Warr, and his first wife, the former Lady Charlotte McCarthy. In 1746 John joined the army as an ensign. He progressed up the promotion ladder and by 1770 he was a Lieutenant General.
In 1756 John married Mary Wynyard daughter of Lt Gen John Whynyard. They had two sons, William Augustus (1757-1783) and John Richard (1758-1795), later third and fourth Earls, respectively. In 1761, John's father was created Earl De La Warr and Viscount Cantelupe, enabling John to use the latter as a courtesy title. From 1761 to 1766 he was Vice Chamberlain to Queen Charlotte. In 1766 he inherited his father's titles and became the Queen's Master of the Horse until 1768 and her Lord Chamberlain from 1768 up until his death in 1777.
John is mentioned briefly in the diary of George Marsh Commissioner of the Navy when George met Queen Charlotte (page 135, 1772).
(George Marsh) (Diary of George Marsh)