Alexander Robertson Wishart was born on 6 November 1896 at 23 Ogilvie Road in Dundee. His father, Hendry Wishart, was a lorry driver and his mother Jemima, a jute weaver. He was the second of six children born to the couple, and when old enough also found work in one of the local jute mills.
By 1915 Alexander had become an iron turner and enlisted with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (Clyde Division) on 6 March. He was posted to Chatham in early May, where he attended signal school. Over the next few years, Alexander served as a signaller on board several ships including the Stephen Furness, Thalia and Brilliant and was discharged from service in July 1919.
In 1932 he married Agnes Kerr and worked as a brass founder until his death from a heart attack in Glasgow during 1965.