Emmerson Wishart was born on 5 December 1887 in the mining village of High Spen, County Durham. He was the eldest child of George Wishart, a local coal miner, and his wife, Ellen Bradley. In 1891 when Emmerson was three, he was living at 47 Ramsey’s Cottages in Spen and at 22 Severn Street, Chopwell ten years later.
In 1907 Emmerson married Margaret Ann Williams in Lanchester and by 1911 was living with his wife and daughter Mary at Highfield Cottages in Rowlands Gill. At the time he was working as a coal miner hewer. In addition to Mary, Emmerson and Margaret Ann had three more children (two sons and another daughter) between 1913 and 1916.
Unfortunately, Emmerson’s service papers have not survived; however, It seems likely that he joined the 15th Durham Light Infantry in September 1914 and proceeded overseas in early 1916, after which he saw action at the Somme. It appears he was wounded on the first day of the battle when the 15th attacked the German front line north of Fricourt and awarded the Military Medal for his efforts. Later in the war, he was transferred to the Labour Corps.
Emmerson returned to the mines after the war and lived at 24 Highfield Road, in Highfield for five years before moving to 58 Watson Street in High Spen, where he died almost forty years later on 24 August 1963. He was survived by his wife and was the elder brother of William and Joseph who also saw active service in France.
Photograph of Emmerson & Family courtesy of John Wishart