Ch.8439 Sgt. Arthur John Wishart (1877 – 1965)
Born in Hendon, Middlesex on 2 July 1877, Arthur John Wishart was the fourth of seven children of John Wishart, a harness maker from Kennoway, and his wife, Elizabeth Bewley. By 1881, when Arthur was 3, the family had moved to Paddington in London where at the age of 14, he would get a job as a porter.
On 25 March 1895, while living at Saltram Crescent in Kilburn, Arthur visited the local recruiting office and joined the Middlesex Regiment. Previously he had been serving with the 1st Cadet Battalion, Royal West Surrey Regiment and was assigned to the 3rd Middlesex, though curiously, on his attestation forms, Arthur stated that he was born in Aberdeen.
Arthur’s time with the Middlesex was brief, and he was discharged underage shortly afterwards, however, undeterred, less than three months later he re-enlisted with the Royal Marine Light Infantry. As he was still not eighteen, the Marines allowed him to serve twenty-days underage before he was entitled to any pay. Arthur spent his entire pre-war military career based at various Naval bases in Chatham. On 14 March 1903, he married a tailoress from Sandgate named Louisa Grace Rudman with a son named Leonard born of the marriage the following year.
After the outbreak of war in August 1914 the Marines were sent to secure the Channel ports so the Admiralty could use them as a base to attack German land supply routes. Arthur landed in Ostend with the Chatham Battalion on 27 August and held the town for several days before withdrawing back to the UK four days later. Further south the French armies and the BEF were engaged in the Retreat from Mons, and so the War Office decided that supplies would have to be brought through the French ports instead. Arthur returned to the war on 20 September when the Marines arrived at Dunkirk and charged with assisting in the defence of Antwerp. The Brigade left Dunkirk for the port on 3 October, and Arthur saw active service in Belgium until the 9th.
Arthur appears to have spent the remainder of the war based in the UK and was demobilised at the end of November 1918. He eventually found work as a butcher in Hendon, and then later in life, a bus driver. In 1939 he lived with Louisa in Sidcup Hill, Kent and moved to Uckfield, Sussex, where he died aged 87 on 16 March 1965.
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