S/8051 Pte. Thomas Wishart (1880 – 1956)
Thomas Wishart was born at 7 am on 27 July 1880 in the Hill of Beath, a small mining community built and owned by the Fife Coal Company. He was the eleventh of thirteen children of Peter Wishart, a coal miner from Dalgetty, and his wife, Anne Fraser. By 1901 Thomas had joined his father down the mine and was working as a coal hewer.
On 25 August 1905, Thomas married Janet Pearson in Dunfermline with three children born of the marriage between 1905 and 1918. Thomas and family were living at Brick Row in Kingseat when he enlisted in Dunfermline on 14 December 1914. He was posted the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Gordon Highlanders, a depot-training unit based in Aberdeen.
Thomas served two years with 3rd before being transferred to Class ‘W’ of the Army Reserve which meant that his services were deemed more useful to the country in a civil rather than military capacity. In this instance, this was most likely due to his profession as a miner; however, he was liable to be recalled at any point to the colours, which is precisely what happened on 6 April 1918 when he was required to re-join his unit in Aberdeen.
His time back in the army was to be short-lived as a medical board dated 18 July noted that he was suffering from acute rheumatism and suggested that he be discharged under Class ‘P’ of the Army Reserve, and allowed to return to mining on 14 August.
His listing on the Silver War Badge medal roll notes that Thomas spent four months overseas, however his surviving service papers make no mention of this, and he was not entitled to any of the standard war medals, suggesting this may have been a clerical mistake.
After the war, Thomas worked for the rest of his life in the mines and died aged 75 at 20 Grieve Street in Dunfermline on 18 January 1956.
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