Ernest Robert Wishart was born in Dedham, Essex on 2 January 1900 and the illegitimate son of Robert James Wishart, an agricultural labourer from Windsor, and a lady named Edith. When Ernest was still an infant his father enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery so he went to live with his grandparents James and Mary Ann Wishart on West Street. By 1911 he was living in Dedham on Cooper’s Lane with his widowed grandmother and four uncles who were aged between 11 and 22.
At some point over the next seven years, Ernest returned to West Street and enlisted in Chelmsford shortly after his eighteenth birthday on 26 April 1918. He joined the 1/8th Cyclist Battalion, Essex Regiment and was called up for home service duty the following day. In a medical examination carried out at the time Ernest was recorded as being 5′ 6 1/2″ in height, weighing 125 lbs with fair hair, fresh complexion and blue eyes. He had good physical development although his teeth appear to have been less than satisfactory and described as ‘defective’.
The battalion was based in County Clare, Ireland when Ernest joined and it seems likely he was with them until the end of the war, by which time they were stationed in County Kildare. In January 1919 Ernest found himself in Sligo and was eventually sent home for demobilisation from Galway on 28 November 1919 and discharged on 31 March 1920. The following year, on 2 June, Ernest re-enlisted into the Royal Air Force although it is not known how long his service ran for.
By 1939 Ernest was working as a lorry loader for a cattle food products company and during the war, in 1943, he married Edith Winifred Lay-Flurrie, who was the widow of Charles Gooch, in Colchester.
Ernest died on 6 July 1980 in Ipswich Hospital, Suffolk.