3010030 Pte. George Omond Wishart (1890 – 1976)
George Omond Wishart was born at 9 Caledonian Road in Edinburgh on 28 October 1890. He was the youngest of five children of James Wishart, an Orcadian cabinet maker, and his wife, Elizabeth Anderson. By 1901 the family had moved to 2 Orwell Place, and after leaving school, George trained as a law clerk. On 8 June 1912, he sailed from Glasgow on board the steamship Saturnia and arrived in Quebec ten days later. Upon disembarkation, George stated that he had plans to journey on to Edmonton, Alberta, where he hoped to find work as a bank clerk, however, by 1915 he was working as a chartered accountant in Calgary. Later that year he moved to Detroit where he lived until April 1917 when, as a British Subject living overseas, perhaps George felt that it was his duty to fight for King and Country and returned to Quebec to enlist.
On 17 May 1917, while staying with his older brother Robert in Montreal, George visited the recruiting office and signed up with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. At the time he had been an active member of the militia, serving with the 5th Royal Highlanders of Canada which fed recruits into the 13th, 42nd & 73rd infantry battalions. On 16 October, after completing an initial period of basic training, George left from Montreal for England on board the SS Scandinavian and arrived in Liverpool on 1 November. The following day he was taken on strength of the 20th Reserve Battalion at Bramshott and appointed the rank of acting sergeant (with pay) although a month later he reverted to acting corporal (with pay.)
George remained in England until 19 April 1918 when he was posted overseas to join the 42nd Battalion. Following several days at the Canadian Base Depot, he was sent to the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp and eventually left to join his unit in the field on 17 May. The Battalion War Diary of 26 May record that, while at St. Hilaire, 41 ordinary ranks were exchanged for a similar number from Reinforcement Camp. It seems probable that George was among this draft and after more training and a brief spell in the trenches during July, he would have seen his first real action at the Battle of Amiens. In the attack, which began on 8 August, the 42nd Battalion was tasked with capturing Hill 102 which was a German strongpoint and a main tactical feature on the Brigade front. The attack was a success, and George would have found himself engaging the enemy several more times during the so-called Hundred Days Offensive including at Monchy-le-Preux, Jigsaw Wood, Canal du Nord and finally through the Forêt de Raismes – which culminated in the capture of Mons on the night of 10/11 November.
The Battalion remained in Mons for a month after the Armistice, (triumphantly marching through the town on 11 November), and spent Christmas near Brussels at Genval. At the start of February 1919, they returned to the UK where George was given eight-days leave. On 1 March the 42nd entrained at Liphook Station for Liverpool where they boarded the RMS Adriatic and sailed for Montreal. George was demobilised on 12 March – the day after arriving back in Canada, and a large parade through the city.
George crossed the border into the United States on 31 March and returned to his home in Michigan. A move to Vermont followed a brief trip back to the UK in 1920 and on 31 May 1921 in St. Johnsbury he married a fellow Scot named Catherine Ross Urquhart. At the time George had been farming with his brother James at Hilcroft Farm, which they had purchased before the wedding. George and Catherine left Vermont in 1929 and returned to Edinburgh where George lived for the rest of his life and died during August 1976.
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