881469 Pvt. George Wishart (1889 – 1972)
George Wishart was born on 10 February 1889 at Barebrecks in the parish of Orphir, Orkney. He was the eighth of nine children of James Flett Wishart, a tenant farmer, and his wife, Jessie Wishart, who was his first cousin. On 22 March 1906, at the age of 17, George left for Nova Scotia from Liverpool onboard the steamship RMS Virginian with his brothers John and William. Upon arrival in Halifax eight days later George gave his destination as Portland, Oregon where he subsequently found work as a machinist in an ironworks. On 24 September 1915, George crossed over into Canada and made his way to Granby Bay, British Columbia where he took up employment in the small mining town of Anyox. Seven months later on 11 April 1916, he boarded the steamer City of Seattle and sailed from Prince Rupert to Ketchikan, Alaska where he headed north to Juneau, possibly to work at the recently opened Juneau Gold Mine. At some stage, during the next year, George returned to the continental States and took up residence in Kellogg, Idaho where he worked at the B. H. & S. Smeltery.
George registered for the draft on 5 June 1917 and was called up for service on 22 March 1918. His skills as a machinist would have been of great use to the Army and perhaps having seen advertisements in local newspapers asking for ‘special recruits’ for the 37th US Army Engineers (Mechanical and Electrical), he joined them at Fort Myers, Virginia and was taken on strength of Company D. Three months later, and just before heading overseas, George petitioned for military naturalization as a US Citizen and renounced his allegiance to King George V on 21 June.
The 37th left Hoboken, New Jersey for Liverpool on board the Mauretania nine days later and after disembarkation on 7 July, crossed England by train before re-embarking for France. On arrival at Brest on 13 July, George would have been sent to American Camp Williams in Is-Sur-Tille. He was likely present at the Battle of St Mihiel between 12 – 16 September when his company temporarily acted as water-supply troops in the Rattentout sector, south of Verdun. During the Meuse-Argonne Campaigns between 9 October and 11 November, the 37th were responsible for installing pumps and furnished operators with George’s unit becoming part of the Army of Occupation at Coblenz in Germany from 16 November until the end of December.
A detachment of the 37th (including George) eventually left France from St. Nazaire on the transport ship USS Princess Matoika on 8 March 1919 which eventually docked in Newport News on the 20th. Upon arrival, George made his way to camp Meade for demobilisation and gave his sister Margaret’s address in Salem, Oregon as his place of residence.
Within a month of leaving the military, George applied for a passport so that he could return to Scotland and see his parents, who he had been told were in poor health. The application was successful and George subsequently arrived in Liverpool on the White Star ship Lapland on 28 April. Back in Orkney George also learned the news about his brother William, who had lost his life in 1917 while serving with the Seaforth Highlanders, and with his father in a poor state, he decided to stay in Scotland and run the family farm.
On 6 December 1921, George married Jessie Cloustan Findlay with seven children born of the marriage between 1922 and 1935. He died in Orphir on 30 May 1972.
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