Henry Wishart was born at 142 East Wellington Street in Glasgow on 21 October 1891. He was youngest of six children of Peter Wishart, a letterpress printer from Glasgow, and his wife, Agnes Drysdale. Several days before Henry’s seventh birthday his father died, and by 1901 he was living with his mother and two brothers at 23 Charles Street in Camlachie. Ten years later ‘Harry’, as he was more commonly known, was boarding with his brother Hugh at 115 Main Street in Dalmarnock and labouring at the local jute works.
On 30 June 1916, Henry married Rose Gallacher in Glasgow and a just over a month later their first child – a son, also named Henry, was born. At the time the Wisharts lived at 129 Abercrombie Street, and by 1917 they had moved to 17 Springfield Road.
Henry was working as a cook when he was conscripted on 18 May 1917 and sent by the Glasgow Recruiting Office to join the Inland Waterways Transport Regiment of the Royal Engineers. Almost from the outset, Henry was to prove that he was not ideal soldier material, absenting himself without leave on 2 September and earning himself seven days confined to barracks as a result. Exactly a month later he committed the same offence and having been apprehended by the civil authorities in Glasgow, was awarded fifteen days detention for going AWOL for over two weeks. Once again, a month later he deserted from the Army for the third time and was apprehended dressed in plain clothes after eleven days by the Depot Police at Messr Clarks Steel Works in Glasgow. The authorities took a very dim view of this and Henry was convicted at a District Court Martial held in Glasgow on 27 November and given 18 months detention – but receiving 12 months concession.
He was sent to Perth Detention Barracks to serve out his sentence but was transferred to the barracks hospital in Stirling on 14 December suffering from syphilis. He was discharged on 1 March 1918 and eventually released from custody on 12 April. Henry was soon up to his old tricks again and on 8 June absented himself for almost a day, consequently receiving five days confinement to barracks for his efforts.
By autumn 1918 Henry had been sent to the Inland Water Transport Unit based in Fowey, Cornwall and received orders on 24 October to proceed the next day by train to the I.W.T. Royal Engineers at Yorkhill Riding School in Glasgow. Two days after arrival he reported to his commanding officer and earned himself seven days confinement to barracks as a result.
Henry was discharged from service on 14 March 1919, and shortly afterwards the family moved into Henry’s mother’s house at 15 Joseph’s Place in Glasgow (she died the week before he was demobilised) before setting up home at 14 Tarbet Street in 1920.
In August 1920 Henry joined the crew of the SS Tunisian – gaining employment as a Cook’s Mate. Tragically, a year later on 10 September, he was found floating in the water while the ship was moored in Montreal Outer Harbour. The cause of death was recorded as ‘supposed drowning’.
The Montreal Gazette of 12 September 1921 carried a report of Henry’s death:
The body of Henry Wisheart (sic), an assistant cook on board the steamship Tunisian, who is believed to have drowned on Wednesday night last was recovered from the harbor at 10:00 o’clock on Saturday morning. When the tugs came to the ?? to ?? ?? the stream. Wisheart had complained of not being well last Wednesday and left his bunk to go on deck. He was not seen after that, and it is believed that he fell overboard. The liner was scheduled to leave at 11 o’clock, and Investigator Pusie went down to secure the details before the steamer left the dock. He found from Nil Gilbrath, bunk companion of Wisheart, that the latter had gone up on deck on Wednesday night last, saying he felt ill. He had not seen him since. The officers of the ship gave the information as to the findings of the body when the tugs came to two the liner away. An inquest will be held this morning by Coroner McMahon.