344420 Gnr. Thomas Wishart (1891 – 1942)
Born at 73 Netherton Broad Street in Dunfermline on 4 April 1891, Thomas Wishart was the youngest of six children of David Wishart, a mason from Leven, and his wife, Margaret Cowper. His first job after leaving school was working in a local butcher’s shop, and before the war, his father bought several properties on Dunfermline’s Rose Crescent, with the family moving into number 17.
Thomas was conscripted into the Army on 28 February 1916 at Dunfermline and mobilised for service two months later on 29 April. He was assigned to No. 6 Coy of the Forth Royal Garrison Artillery, a territorial unit based in Kirkcaldy.
On 12 May 1917, Thomas was transferred to No. 5 Coy and between 5 and 27 September he was a patient at the 2nd Scottish General Hospital in Edinburgh suffering from gonorrhoea. The disease must have been particularly virulent as he was subsequently sent to be treated at the Brighton Grove Military Hospital (an establishment which appears to have had a reputation for tackling quite bad cases of the venereal disease) in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. During his time in the infirmary, Thomas would have received the news that his older brother James Wilkie Wishart had been killed at Ypres.
Thomas was discharged from Brighton Grove on 7 December and posted to No.1 Battery, No 3 Reserve Brigade (Siege) RGA in Prees Heath, Shropshire. On 25 January 1918, he received seven days Field Punishment No. 2 for overstaying his leave for 45 hours between 22 and 24 January. Less than a month later on 12 February, Thomas was sent to France, where he joined the 337th Siege Battery which was part of the 91st (Howitzer) Brigade and equipped with four 6” howitzer guns. Regrettably, the battery war diaries for this period have not survived however we know that Thomas returned to the UK on 14 January 1919, when he was demobilised from active service.
After the war, on 18 August 1920, Thomas married a local girl from Dunfermline who lived several doors from his family named Elizabeth Donaldson. Between 1921 and 1931 four children were born of the union and Thomas had returned to his pre-war career as a butcher. He died prematurely at 53 Rose Street of tuberculosis on 2 September 1942. He was 51 years-old.
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