2006256 Spr. Alexander Stewart Wishart (1888 – 1962)
Alexander Stewart Wishart was born on 10 September 1888 and grew up with his eight brothers and sisters in Largs, Ayrshire. They were the children of a mason from Fife named John Wishart, and his wife, Marion Bruce Stewart. After he left school Alexander found work as a general labourer and joined the Largs Battery of the Ayrshire Artillery Volunteers, however, on 31 May 1913, he left Scotland for Canada, sailing on the Scandinavian from Glasgow to Montreal, where he arrived nine days later.
Making his way west, Alexander eventually moved in with his older brother Robert and family in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he found work as a farrier and blacksmith. He enlisted in Winnipeg with the military on 24 May 1917 and joined the Canadian Railway Troops. Sapper Wishart was assigned to No. 3 Section, Skilled Railway Employees who in March 1918 were redesignated as No. 69 Wagon Erecting Coy, Broad Gauge Railway Troops, and arrived in France on 10 April. Alexander’s skills as a blacksmith would have been of great use to his company, and he would have been involved in the construction, repair and maintenance of the broad gauge network in areas of France & Belgium. At the time Alexander arrived in France, the Germans had recently begun what would be known as the ‘Spring Offensive’, and consequently, the railway troops were immediately put to work constructing new lines that acted as feeders to the front line trenches. The Railwaymen continued to give invaluable support to the Allied Armies throughout the remainder of the war and played a vital role that would eventually lead to victory.
After the war, on 2 June 1919, Alexander married Jean Henderson Ashcroft at St. Paul’s Church in Winnipeg. Four children were born of the marriage, and in the 1920s the family moved to Toronto – eventually settling in the Scarborough district, where Alexander died on 30 January 1962.
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