Andrew Galloway Wishart was born about 7 am on 30 July 1876 at Navy Lane in Lerwick, Shetland. Two hours later his twin brother Charles joined him, and they became the youngest of eight children of David Wishart, a seaman serving in the Merchant Service, and his wife, Helen Charlotte Laing.
Tragedy struck the family in 1890 when Andrew’s father fell overboard while steaming along the St. Lawrence River in Canada on board the Brazilian of Glasgow. He was a well-known Greenland seaman, and his death came as a shock to the whole community.
Four years later, on 22 December 1894, Andrew’s twin brother was also lost at sea during a ferocious storm that blew up while he was sailing off the coast of Western Scotland. The previous year Charles was awarded a medal for distinguished gallantry when he saved a four-year-old lad who had fallen into the sea at Lerwick. He had been a strong swimmer, and it was hoped that his ship, the schooner Annie, had found sanctuary in one of the lochs in the Hebrides; however, neither the vessel or her crew were heard of again.
Andrew’s first job was a baker, and by 1907 he was living in Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, where, on 27 November, he married a local girl named Helen Finlayson. In August the following year, he left Scotland for Canada and set up a home for himself and his family in Vancouver. Helen was heavily pregnant at the time and followed on with their infant daughter Agnes in 1909. Two more children were born of the marriage before the war, with Andrew eventually enlisting in the military on 1 September 1915. Unfortunately, no further details of his life during the war years are currently known, however afterwards at the time of the 1921 census; he was working as a shipper for a dry goods store.
As if two drownings in Andrew’s family were not enough, his son Alexander, who was born in 1912, disappeared in 1928 when he went on a bathing trip to Bowen Island with his sisters and a friend. He could not swim, and after dragging the vicinity in which Alexander had been, the police found his shoes and a towel on a float about three hours later. Alexander’s body was eventually recovered and buried in Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery.
Andrew’s own life came to a horrific end twenty-seven years later on Christmas Day 1955 when he died in a fire at his home in Port Kells. Helen was rescued from the blaze but died the next day from the shock of seeing her husband burnt alive.