91503 Gnr. David Wishart (1885 – 1954)
David Wishart was born on 22 October 1885 in Drummochie, Fife, which at the time was an independent coastal village situated immediately west of Lower Largo. He had a twin sister named Janet Mackie and was the son of James Wishart, a local fisherman, and his wife, Janet Dowie. On 30 March 1886, when David and Janet were five months old, tragedy hit the community when their father, uncle, grandfather and another man named John Johnston were all lost at sea when their fishing boat The Brothers disappeared in a storm about fifty miles east of the Isle of May. The story was carried by all the regional newspapers and ‘much distress’ was said to have prevailed in Largo in consequence of the disaster, and that it cast a ‘deep gloom’ over the towns and villages of East Fife.
Following the death of her husband, Janet and the children moved in with her father, a retired carter, but by 1901 was living at Steen Cottage in Largo. She had found work as an agricultural field worker while young David brought home a wage as an apprentice butcher and his sister a domestic servant. On 24 November 1909, in Lundin Links, David married Mary Ann Simpson who was the daughter of a local stonemason and eventually made a home with her and their two daughters, who were born in 1912 and 1914, at 582 Galloway Buildings on Wellesley Road in Methil.
After the outbreak of war in August 1914 David attested under the Derby Scheme (Group 37) on 3 December 1915 and was sent to the Army Reserve until such time that his services were required. Six months later on 1 June 1916, he was mobilised for service and joined the Royal Garrison Artillery and sent to the No.3 Depot (Heavy and Seige) in Plymouth from where he was assigned to No.35 Coastal Fire Command at Lough Swilly in Donegal, Ireland shortly afterwards. At the start of the war, Lough Swilly had become home to the British Grand Fleet however by the time David arrived it had relocated back to Scapa Flow in the Orkneys but remained a fortified naval base that anchored ships throughout the war. While based in Ireland David took cooking lessons and passed his Class of Instruction Cooking Certificate in December 1916. On 23 August 1917, David was transferred to the RGA Anti-Aircraft Depot at Bostall Heath, Abbey Wood, where he would have received further training using anti-aircraft guns.
On 3 December 1917 David received orders to proceed to France with the 128th Anti-Aircraft Section RGA and was posted to ‘U’ Battery in the field on 9 December. A month later, on 4 January 1918, he was transferred to ‘P’ Battery, who had two 13 pounder guns and were based on the Somme and formed part of the British Fourth Army, who spearheaded the British Hundred Days offensive that began with the Battle of Amiens and ended with the Armistice in November 1918. Towards the end of the war in October 1918, he was granted proficiency pay (Class 1) and after the Armistice was retained as part of the Army of Occupation in Germany. David returned to the UK on 18 January 1919, on two-weeks leave and afforded the same again in July. His war came to a close while he was based in Bonn, and was eventually dispersed from Cologne and sent back to the UK for demobilisation in September.
After the war, David continued working as a butcher, latterly as a vanman for Mr Alexander on Market Street in St Andrews, until retirement, and died of a heart attack at his home, 204 Lamond Drive on 1 March 1954. Mary Ann passed away eleven years later. His obituary notes that he was well-known in the community and his granddaughter remembers that he was quite deaf, which was probably the result of his time with the artillery.
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