Joseph Wishart was born on 18 September 1894 in the mining village of High Spen, Durham. He was the fifth child of George Wishart, a local miner, and his wife, Ellen Bradley. When Joseph was six, he lived with his family in a terraced house at 22 Severn Terrace in Chopwell Village, however, ten years later the family had moved back to High Spen, living in a similar property at 36 Townley Terrace. Joseph had joined his father and elder brothers working in the local mine and was employed by the Consett Iron Company as a driver boy.
Joseph enlisted in the military on 5 February 1916 at Blaydon and sent into the army reserve. Over two years later on 18 April 1918, he was mobilised for service at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and posted to the 85th Training Reserve Battalion of the Machine Gun Corps (part of the 20th Reserve Brigade) at Edwinstowe. During his training, Joseph became a qualified machine gunner, and on 15 August he was transferred to the 8th Battalion MGC at Clipstone Camp. By October Joseph was based at Rugeley Camp where he found himself in trouble when he overstayed his pass by five days, which after reporting himself back on 17 October, subsequently deprived him of 20 days pay.
On 25 October Joseph embarked at Folkestone for Boulogne and arrived at the Corps base depot at Camiers the following day. He joined the 200th Battalion MGC (part of the 59th Division) in the field on 3 November and remained in France until after the Armistice when, due to being a coal miner, he was prioritised for demobilisation on 29 December and embarked for England at Dunkirk on 2 January 1919.
After the war, Joseph eventually became a colliery haulage driver and married Hilda Brown in 1938. He lived the rest of his life in the area where he grew up and died from Bronchopneumonia on 28 June 1978 at Dunston Hill Hospital, Dunston. At the time of his death, Joseph’s usual residence was 5 Cooperative Terrace in High Spen and his younger brother George of 36 Townley Terrace, High Spen registered his death.