290534 Cpl. Albert Wishart (1898 – 1918)
Albert Wishart was born in 1898 at Waterside of Cauldhame, a farm south of Caldhame Mill near Luthermuir, Kincardineshire. He was the youngest child of John Wishart, a local slater, and Margaret Watson.
Based on his first army service number, Albert almost certainly enlisted at Banchory on 9 October 1914 with his older brother John Watson Wishart.
The Wishart brothers were assigned to the 7th Battalion Gordon Highlanders, however John, who was a full ten years older, was sent overseas the following year leaving Albert, who had in all probability lied about his age, behind until he turned nineteen, or at the very least ‘looked’ nineteen.
Unfortunately, Albert’s service papers have not survived, however, according to a local newspaper published in December 1917, he had been at the Front since July 1916.
The Wartime Memories Project summarises the Gordons movements and actions during the period in which Albert was overseas:
In 1916 they were in action in the Battles of the Somme, including the attacks on High Wood and The Battle of the Ancre, capturing Beaumont Hamel, taking more than 2000 prisoners. In 1917 They took part in the Arras Offensive, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of Menin Road Ridge and the Cambrai Operations. They remained in the Cambrai area until the 21st of March 1918, when the enemy launched an overwhelming attack and the Division engaged in a fighting withdrawal back to Bapaume.
By the afternoon of 25 March 1918, and four days into the German Offensive, the 7th Gordon Highlanders (who were part of the 153rd Brigade, 51st (Highland) Division) found themselves east of the village of Irles. In his history of the Division, Major F. W. Bewsher wrote that:
In this position, the troops engaged parties of the enemy massing for attack successfully; but the exhaustion of the men had become such that they could no longer offer a protracted resistance. They had been in action continuously since the morning of 21st March; and at the end of five days, in which the fighting during the day and the intense cold of the nights had denied to them any real rest, their vitality was at its lowest ebb.
The following day Albert was killed in action. He was the second of the three brothers lost to the war, and his body was either never recovered or lost later on. He was one-month past his twentieth birthday and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
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