Capt. Robert Scott Wishart (1889 – 1929)
Robert Scott Wishart was born shortly after midnight on 6 June 1889 at 84 Alexandra Street in Kirkcaldy, Fife. He was the third son of Matthew Wishart, a builder from Abernethy, and his wife, Jessie Grieve Garrick.
Robert attended Kirkcaldy High School, where he proved himself in athletics. Between 1902 and 1907 he served with the Officer Training Corps (Junior Division) and eventually gained the rank of sergeant. After High School, he studied at Edinburgh University where he achieved an MA (Hons) and B.Sc. (Distinctions) in Maths (1912).
Rather unusually for census returns, Robert was enumerated in 1911 as camping with his fellow students at the cemetery gate in Alva, Clackmannanshire. While at university Robert continued his involvement with the Officer Training Corps (Senior) and served as a gunner in the artillery unit between February 1910 and November 1912, when he resigned to concentrate on his studies.
On 20 August 1914, Robert successfully made an application for a commission in the Territorial Forces and given the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. At the time he was recorded as being a student of chemistry and resident at ‘Dunearn’, 19 Townsend Crescent, Kirkcaldy. Robert’s ‘good moral character’ was certified by a clergyman named R. B. Wiseman, and he was posted to the Fifeshire Battery, 2nd Highland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery on 3 October.
In February 1915 Robert was promoted to lieutenant and then later in the year, captain. On 15 September, he married Margaret Gordon Aitchison – a schoolteacher from Pietermaritzburg (South Africa), at the United Free Church in Warrender Park, Edinburgh and four daughters were born of the union between 1916 and 1927. On 4 December 1915, the Fifeshire Advertiser carried a story about Robert:
Captain Wishart, has been on coast defence duty since the outbreak of war. In September last he married Miss Margaret G. Aitchison, M.A., Edinburgh. He was gazetted Captain in October. His eldest brother, Lieutenant Dr. David Wishart, is now with the British Army that landed at Salonica. The second, Lieutenant W. G. Wishart, formerly lecturer on engineering in the University of Birmingham, is now in India. The youngest brother, Dr. James M. Wishart, is in France.
On 6 September 1916, Robert was sent to France where his unit had been redesignated ‘B’ Battery, 256th Brigade R.F.A. (TF) and formed part of the 51st Division. Except for his promotions, details of Robert’s overseas service history are currently unknown. After he arrived, the 256th was present at the Battle of the Ancre in 1916 and the Arras Offensive, the Battles of Pilkem Ridge, Menin Road Ridge and Cambrai in 1917. In the spring of 1918, the brigade fought in the withdrawal to Baupaume before engaging the enemy at numerous battles until the Armistice in November.
Robert was eventually discharged from the military on 10 April 1919 and resigned his commission on 9 September 1921. After the war he worked as a research chemist and was published in the Journal of the Chemical Society.
On 13 November 1929, when his family were living at Braeside in Fawley, Southampton, Robert went for an operation in Edinburgh. He had been diagnosed as having colon cancer; however, the procedure did not go to plan, and he died in theatre. He was buried in Morningside Cemetery three days later.
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