David Wishart MM (1919 – 2011)
David Wishart was born in Larkhall, Lanarkshire on 18 December 1919. He was the youngest of eight children of John Wishart, a coalminers, and his wife, Peterina Johnston. Prior to WWII David worked in the local iron foundry, and enlisted with the Gordon Highlanders in 1940, but was transferred to the 56th Reconnaissance Regiment, and saw active service in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.
In early October 1943 David’s unit found themselves up against a German counter attack around Termoli, which is on the Adriatic coast of Italy. The regiment was defending a ridge southwest of the town and were positioned in an area of woodland. The Germans attacked both flanks with tanks and infantry, subjecting the British position, and the approaches to it, with heavy machine gun, mortar and shell fire. Casualties quickly mounted and David, who was a Jeep driver, volunteered to evacuate the wounded men in his vehicle, and take them to an advanced dressing station. During the battle he managed to make several journeys through heavy fire and when asked in later years how many he actually made, he replied I don’t remember, but it was when I was young and stupid. On one trip David apparently stopped his Jeep, stood up on it to see over a high hedge, and spotted a German Panzer on the other side, so he quickly sat down and hastened away.
By early evening the Germans had secured positions on the fringe of the wood, and on both flanks – with direct field of fire over all approaches. Several British casualties remained in the woods, and were in danger of falling into enemy hands if they weren’t removed. David made two more heroic journeys and saved the men, some of who may have died from lack of medical attention had they been left behind. For his actions on 5 October 1943 David was awarded the Military Medal, however his war did not end there, and he subsequently took part in the Battle of Monte Cassino.
When he returned to the UK David became a railway guard, and died in Crowborough, Sussex in 2011. He was was married to Beatrice Drury and they had two sons.