1213659 Pvt. Bert William Wishart (1894 – 1936)
Of all the Wisharts who served in uniform during the Great War, Bert William Wishart and his brother Frank are the only two who do not have any ancestral connections to the United Kingdom. They were the sons of Frederick Wishart and Louisa George and had at least three siblings. Their paternal grandfather John was a German immigrant who arrived in New York during the first half of the 19th century. It seems probable that John’s original surname was something like Wiessart, which is German, and similar to others who arrived in the US during this period, changed it for one reason or another.
Bert was born about 1894 in Frankfort, Herkimer County, New York and when old enough, became a farmer like his father. On 25 May 1917 enlisted in Utica, New York and joined the Machine Gun Company of the 1st Infantry, New York National Guard which later formed part of the Machine Gun Company, 107th Infantry, 27th Division A.E.F.
On 8 June 1918, Bert was transferred to Company C, 54 Pioneer Infantry and took on the role of mechanic. Pioneer Infantry primarily worked under the direction of engineers but also received basic infantry training so they could defend themselves. Bert’s unit, who had been based at Wadsworth Camp, sailed from Newport News for France on board the SS Duca d’Aosta on 30 August 1918. They arrived in Brest on 12 September and by the end of September had reached woods near Clermont. Between late-September and the Armistice on 11 November, the 54th took part in the Meuse-Argonne offensive and made their way into Germany during December.
Bert began making the journey back home in February 1919 and sailed from Brest on 3 March on the USS Mount Vernon – arriving in Hoboken, New Jersey eight days later. He was discharged from service on 20 March, and in the summer married Marion Joseph in Utica on 16 August. Five children were born of the marriage and Bert supported his family working as an odd job man. He died on 20 December 1936 in Little Falls, New York.
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