772177 Pte George Wishart (1881 – 1938)
George Wishart was born on 17 March 1881 in the Blackfriars district of Glasgow. He was the seventh of eight children of John Wishart, a cabinetmaker from Paisley, and his wife, Isabella Stirling. At the time of George’s birth, the family lived at 23c St Andrew Square, however, by 1891 they had moved to Falkirk. When old enough, George found work in a local coal mine and 1907 found him living in his father’s hometown at 19 King Street. George married a domestic servant named Catherine Grieve in Maryhill on 11 January with a son born in Paisley later in the year.
On 24 May 1913 George boarded the steamship SS Grampian in Glasgow and sailed for Montreal where, upon arrival, he made his way to join his brother-in-law in Paris, Ontario. Catherine would arrive with their (now) three children later in the year and joined her husband in Paris where they lived at 39 Capron Street. George worked as a general labourer and following the outbreak of war, enlisted on 18 October 1915. On his attestation forms, he informed the recruiting officer that he had previously served 1 1/2 years with the 4th Highland Light Infantry in Scotland. He joined the Paris squadron of the 25th Brant Dragoons, however, as the regiment was not required for home guard duties volunteers were subsequently dispatched to various infantry battalions of the CEF. On November 28 George found himself taken on strength of the 125th Battalion, which was based in Brantford.
The battalion left Halifax on 6 August 1916 onboard the SS Scandinavian and disembarked in Liverpool on the 18th and made their way to Witley Camp in Surrey. On 9 February 1917, George was transferred into the Canadian Railway Troops and taken on strength of ‘D’ Company, 4th Battalion at Purfleet the following day. On 24 February he left for France and arrived in Boulogne. While overseas George would have been employed in the construction and maintenance of light railways up to the front lines. The Canadian Railway Troops quickly gained a reputation for their work which, was often carried out under very difficult and dangerous circumstances and by the end of the war the original number of 500 men who arrived on the Western Front in 1915 had grown to over 16,000. During his time with the Corps George rose to the rank of corporal and briefly left his unit at the start of 1918 to receive dental treatment. At the end of March that year he was given two-weeks leave to the UK and upon his return was reprimanded for going AWOL and temporarily demoted to the rank of sapper.
George returned to the UK on 19 January 1919 and based at the Canadian railway Troops depot at Knotty Ash before returning to Canada on board the HMT Royal George on 15 March. He arrived in Halifax ten days later and was discharged from the 2nd District Depot in Toronto on the 27th.
After the war, George remained in Toronto and eventually found work as an elevator operator. He died there on 9 February 1938 at St Joseph’s Hospital.
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