John Wishart was born on 8 November 1889 in Old Machar, Aberdeenshire. He was the seventh of nine children of David Wishart, a linen cloth lapper from Dunfermline, and his wife, Janet Gibson. John father died of tuberculosis when he was eight, and he was schooled at Rosemount School and then Robert Gordon’s Technical College. In his pre-war life John worked as a dental mechanic for a Dr. Elphinstone, however in March 1909 he also joined the 4th Gordon Highlanders which was a Territorial Force Battalion formed the previous year and headquartered in Aberdeen.
As a ‘Terrier’ John mobilised for duty shortly after war broke out and went into training with his unit, eventually finding himself stationed near Bedford in early 1915. Before the war he had attained the rank of sergeant, however by the time the 4th Gordons embarked for France on 20 February 1915, John had been promoted to company sergeant-major. Also on the Archimedes in the same battalion was Alexander Machray Wishart, who was not a relation of John’s, but perhaps the young Aberdonians crossed paths in the months before leaving for France. After arrival in Le Havre, the Gordons made their way to the Ypres Salient where John would get his first experience of life in the trenches when his unit entered the line at La Clytte during early March.
John’s first (and last) experience of battle was on 16 June during the Battle of Bellewaarde which was an action designed to stop the Germans reinforcing their lines some 50km south at Givenchy, and gain possession of the Bellewaarde Ridge. During the attack, John was pierced through the lung by shrapnel and evacuated back to England where he subsequently died of his wounds in a Woolwich hospital on 15 August.
John is buried in Greenwich Cemetery, London and also named in the Roll of Honour for Aberdeen.