George Wishart was born on 3 October 1890 at Symbister in the parish of Whalsay, Shetland. He was the third of nine children of Robert Wishart, a local joiner, and his wife, Joan Bruce. After leaving school young George learnt his trade as a cooper – a profession he would carry into his military career.
On 15 May 1915, George joined the Royal Naval Reserve and assigned to Pembroke II – the shore barracks at Chatham in Kent. On 1 July he joined the crew of HMS Sir John Moore, a Royal Navy Lord Clive-class monitor built that year to engage German shore artillery and positions in occupied Belgium. As part of the Dover Monitor Squadron, the ship was involved in bombarding German positions along the coast during which, on one occasion in July 1916, George was wounded and gassed near Belgium. Back in Chatham, he was invalided out of the Navy on 27 September and returned to the Shetland Islands.
After the war, on 7 October 1922, George married a teacher named Ann Mitchell in Aberdeen. By then he was working as a civil engineer in Swansea where two daughters were born between 1924 and 1927. The family eventually moved back to Scotland and lived in Lerwick, where George died, aged 70, on 21 August 1961.