2745087 Pte. George Rodger Wishart (1899 – 1960)
George Rodger Wishart was born on 24 February 1899 at Burnhead Cottage in Stanley, Perthshire. He was the second of six children of George Rodger Wishart, a ploughman from Largo, and his wife, Isabella Grieve. By 1901 the family had moved to the village of Inchyrn in the parish of St Madoes and then to Colin Farm Cottage in Scone ten years later. When old enough, young George followed in his father’s footsteps and became a ploughman and on 24 March 1917, when he lived near Auchterarder, he enlisted in Perth with the Black Watch. Just over a year later, on 28 May 1918, George was called up for service and posted to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion which was based in Edinburgh.
Four months later on 25 September, George left for France and after being processed at an Infantry Base Depot, was assigned to the 1/6th (Perthshire) Battalion and among a group of 24 ranks who joined the Battalion at Wakefield Camp, west of Roclincourt, on the 30th. Three weeks later George was set to go into action near Iwuy when his unit was placed in support of an attack to be made by the 153rd Brigade on 19 October; however, before the assault took place the enemy retired and the Battalion took part in their pursuit. On the 24th, in the front lines near Douchy, orders were received to renew the attack across the Ecallion River (using temporary bridges) and capture the village of Maing and the high ground south-east of it. It is not known which company George was part of although the two leading companies suffered badly from machine-gun fire from the opposite bank. Despite initial difficulties crossing the river the Highlanders pushed ahead and met with stiff resistance near the village but were able to take most of it by the evening. Fighting continued throughout the following day but George’s unit was not engaged and found themselves in action for the last time on the 26th when the Battalion attacked along a three-company front. Enemy machine-gun fire swept across the landscape which had also been soaked with poison gas and littered with booby traps. By late morning the Battalion was close to Mont Huoy and fought furiously in the area until being compelled to fall back and eventually relieved in the early hours of the 27th. Battalion losses during this last fight numbered two officers killed, six wounded and 37 ranks killed, 185 wounded and one missing.
The Battalion marched back to Iwuy (northeast of Cambrai) where they were based for over two months. After the Armistice, George would have been engaged in salvage work and moved to Seneffe in Belgium on 9 January 1919. In early February all officers and men earmarked for demobilisation were attached to the 7th Battalion with George re-enlisting for Short Service and marching with his new unit into Germany. George’s war finally came to an end on 5 April when he returned to the UK and made his way to the dispersal camp in Georgetown, Glasgow. Upon arrival, he was re-engaged for service and sent to the Black Watch Depot in Perth and transferred into the 1st Battalion.
On 29 August 1919, George left for India with the Battalion and was attached to the Signal Service Depot in Wellington on 8 March 1920. Three months later on 12 June, he was taken on strength of the 33rd Divisional Signal Company in Quetta with who he served until 2 September when he embarked at Karachi onboard the Chakdara for Basra in Mesopotamia (Iraq.) George spent four months with the ‘B’ Company, Divisional Signals in the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Forces before leaving for the UK on board the SS La Plata on 17 January 1921.
George returned to Perthshire where he married Helen Elder Ballantine in Balbeggie on 20 December 1929. Three children were born of the marriage and he farmed at Ardgilzean Farm near Scone and then Cowden Farm in Abercairney where he was resident at the time of his death.
George died from cancer on 11 April 1960 at the Ashludie Hospital in Monifieth. He was survived by his wife and children while his older brother William lost his life during September 1918 when serving in the Tank Corps.
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