John Melville Wishart was born on 1 September 1907 at 10 Hill Place in Kirkcaldy. He was the second of eight children of Robert Wishart, a local linoleum printer, and his wife, Isabella Watt Melville. When old enough, John joined his father in the linoleum factory and worked as a slab boy. During the Great War John’s father served with the 2nd Royal Scots in France and suffered a gunshot wound to his left hand, possibly at the attack on Bellewaarde in September 1915.
On 7 June 1929, John married Christina Blake in Kirkcaldy and had three children with her between 1930 and 1932. In the Second World War, he served as a despatch rider and then a military policeman. He was a coal miner by profession and lived in Kirkcaldy until he died in 1989.