Lt Christopher William Edward Wishart (1889 – 1954)
Christopher William Edward Wishart was born on 23 January 1889 in Islington, London. He was the first of two children of a tailor named William Wishart and his wife, Millie Sarah Morris. His early years appear to have been unsettled as at the age of two he was boarded out to a seemingly unrelated lady from Dorset and living in Stockwell, which is part of the parish of Lambeth in South London. Likewise, his sister Dorothy, who was only four months old in 1891, was also boarding with a family who do not appear to be blood relatives.
Christopher’s father, who was from Glasgow, deserted his family about 1890 and his mother subsequently lived with a retired army major general named William Corrie, who was thirty years her senior (they declared they were married, however no evidence has been found that they were.) By 1901 the family were living in a spacious Victorian terrace at 70 Addison Gardens in Hammersmith. Christopher attended the Strand School, King’s College London and in 1911 was a student a the Pitmans School on Southampton Row where he gained the skills to become an accountant. Before the war, Christopher served about three years with the Queens Westminster Volunteers but resigned in March 1908 owing to the Volunteer Force becoming a Territorial one.
In the spring of 1914, Christopher married Margaret Ethel Tullin Brodie-Mills who was the daughter of a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Veterinary Corps. The couple moved into a new terraced house on Treen Avenue in Barnes, and a son was born the same year, and where Christopher was living when he made an application for a commission in Motor Transport in June 1915. He was successful but gazetted temporary Second Lieutenant with the 10th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment on 14 August 1915. According to a letter to the War Office written by Margaret in 1957, Christopher was stationed at Stroud, Shoreham-by-Sea and Fermoy (Ireland) in addition to spending time at Moor Park Hospital in Preston. On 22 September 1916, he was gazetted Acting Captain while employed as a physical and bayonet training supervising officer at Dover. In early summer 1917, Christopher received orders to proceed overseas and departed from Folkestone for Boulogne on 7 July.
Christopher arrived in France on 8 July and was initially assigned the role of embarkation and billeting officer in Rouen. This involved being responsible for liaising with the naval authorities regarding the disembarkation of troops and supplies, their location while within the base area, and their despatch to places like Etaples for their onward journey to the front. Ten days later he was sent to No. 38 Infantry Base Depot at Etaples where he was ‘combed out’ and posted to the 9th East Surrey Regiment, who he joined in the field on the 22nd. At the time Christopher arrived, the battalion was based at Micmac Camp, which was a hutted camp lying between Dickiebusch and Ouderdom, with two companies holding the front line and suffering regular shelling from the direction of Polygon Wood. Christopher had reverted to the rank of second lieutenant and scored his first taste of life in the trenches at the start of August, however, within two weeks he was taken sick with myalgia (muscle pain) and admitted to the 2nd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station. Following a spell at the No.10 British Red Cross Hospital in Le Treport, Christopher was sent to the officers convalescent home in Dieppe to recuperate and eventually found himself back at the Etaples Base Depot on 12 September.
The second lieutenant rejoined his unit on 17 September while they were at Strazeele and nine days later, at Roisel, he was sent to assist the Town Major on various administrative duties. Town Majors were responsible for liaison between the civilian authorities and the military, and despite continued listing on strength of the battalion in the war diary, Christopher did not return.
In April 1918 Christopher was appointed temporary lieutenant and attached to the 24th Division headquarters in June where he was employed as a railhead disbursing and reinforcement officer. He was still on active overseas service at the time of the Armistice in November 1918 and admitted to 51 Casualty Clearing Station on 2 March 1919 suffering from scabies. A month later, while based in Germany, Christopher was sent back to the UK for demobilisation. He eventually received orders to relinquish his commission on 1 September 1921 and was allowed to retain the rank of lieutenant. At the time he was living at ‘Broadlands’ – a property overlooking the park on Duppas Hill Road in Croydon.
After the war, Christopher worked as an education officer and lived in Hendon. He appears to have split from his wife, who went to live in Birmingham with their son and settled in Finchley where he became the representative for a water softener company. He lived with a lady named Gladys Carol who used the surname Wishart though there is no evidence that they were married (possibly because he was not divorced from Margaret.) Christopher died in Finchley during 1954 aged 64.
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