110514 F/Cdt Frederick Wishart (1893 – 1948)

Tree: WIS0010

Frederick Wishart was born on Rose Street, Aberdeen on 17 August 1893, the youngest of seven children of Robert Watson Wishart, a local upholsterer, and his wife, Isobella Robertson. By 1901 the family had moved to a comfortable terraced stone cottage on Victoria Street with Frederick eventually attending the prestigious Robert Gordon’s College.

In the summer of 1911, immediately after leaving school, Frederick enlisted with the Gordon Highlanders on 5 June and joined E Company of the 4th Battalion, which was a Territorial unit formed in Aberdeen during 1908. As a part-time soldier, Frederick also held a civilian job as a cashier but in his military life is known to have been skilled with a rifle, and a member of the Battalion Shooting Club. During June 1914 at the Seaton Range, in the first shoot of the season and the last before war broke out, Frederick came 6th in the ‘A’ Series scoring 24 at 200 yards, and 23 at 500 (Private Nicol came first with a score of 27 and 28.)

At the outbreak of war in August 1914, all territorial units were mobilised for duty, and consequently, Frederick was ordered to report to the battalion HQ in Aberdeen. Upon arrival, he would have undergone a medical inspection at which he was deemed medically unfit for service and discharged from any further duty. This must have been something of a disappointment for Frederick, and perhaps as a way to soften the blow, he went to work for his father as an upholsterers manager. Less than two years later, on 15 January 1916, he married a marine engineer’s daughter from Glasgow named Mina Coutts Lawson. Mina lived at 448 St. George’s Road in the Milton District of the city where, the following year, a son was born. In July 1916 he would have received the news that his older brother George had been killed in action at the Somme with the ANZAC forces.

Frederick still had aspirations to join the war, and in November 1917 using both his school and father’s connections, he applied for a temporary commission in the Regular Army. In order of preference, he stated that he would like to join either the Royal Flying Corps or Royal Engineers as a pilot, or observer. On 30 November he was interviewed by an officer of the RFC in Glasgow and accepted into a cadet unit with the view to becoming a pilot. Initially classified as Air Mechanic (3rd Class) Frederick’s services weren’t immediately required and he was kept on the registers of the recruiting depot until 21 July 1918, when he was called up for pilot training at an air school. One month later Frederick was transferred to No.18 Station, part of the 33 Wing in No 7 (Training) Group, and reclassified as a Flight Cadet. After the armistice, on 29 November 1918, Frederick was assigned to No.6 Training Depot Station at Boscombe Down where he was based until 3 March 1919, when he was discharged from duty at the Georgetown Dispersal Centre in Glasgow.

After the war, Frederick went to live with his wife and son at his father-in-law’s house in Garnethill, Glasgow. The marriage was not a happy one, and the couple frequently quarrelled. During June 1920 they separated and began living apart. Evidence eventually came to light that Mina had been seeing another man, and on 3 July 1924, Frederick was granted a divorce at the Court of Session on these grounds. By then he had been living at Leggart Cottage in Bridge of Dee, Aberdeen and working as a master upholsterer.

Three years later Frederick remarried to another divorcee named Ada Mundie, and lived with her and his son on Great Western Road during the late 1920s/1930s. By the 1940s Frederick was employed as a clothier’s warehouseman and died of heart disease and vitamin deficiencies (he was possibly a heavy drinker) at Aberdeen’s Royal Cornhill Hospital on 9 March 1948.

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