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Added 3.5.2011. Minor edits 2.3.2014.

1782, Private John WISHART - 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born in London.


Enlisted at London on the 26th of January 1855.

Trade: Labourer.

No other enlistment details are shown.


Joined the regiment in the Crimea on the 26th of May 1855.

Discharge & pension

Discharged, "time expired", from Canterbury on the 21st of January 1867.

Conduct: "very good".

In possession of two Good Conduct badges.

Medals & commemorations

Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasp for Sebastopol and the Turkish medal.

Life after service

1881 Census

No. 8 Towler's Buildings, Dundas Street, in the parish of All Saints, Peaseholme, York.

The 1881 Census shows him a Mattress Maker, aged 42, with his wife Ann, 35, born in York, and two children, a boy and girl, aged 8 and 6.

Extract from "The Crimean and Indian Mutiny Veterans Question" (1893), published by a Mr. Hadley (a mineral-water manufacturer) who lived at No. 42 Silver Road Hill, Leeds. He was the founder of a movement that had as its aim the payment of 1/- per day to each old soldier:

"Another veteran who has failed to obtain recognition for his Crimean service is Mr. John Wishart, who belonged to the 13th Light Dragoons (now the 13th Hussars) one of the regiments which contributed a couple of squadrons of gallant soldiers to the heroic cavalry contingent which silenced the Russian artillery and struck consternation throughout the entire Army.

Mr. Wishart, when under 20 years of age, joined the 13th Light Dragoons in January of 1855, just three months after the thrilling ride down the valley of death, by which time the Moscovites had been overthrown at Inkerman and the struggle for Sebastopol was just about to be decided. Whilst merely a recruit, he was sent to the theatre of war and served there with the regiment for ten months.

At the cessation of hostilities this was ordered on peace service which for thirty-five years remained unbroken. At the end of his twelve years service Mr. Wishart claimed his discharge, which was granted with the following endorsement by Lieut. Colonel Edward Burgoyne Cureton: Character and conduct, 'very good.

He is in possession of two Good Conduct badges. His parchment certificate showed that Mr. Wishart had been decorated with the Crimean medal with clasp for Sebastopol and the Turkish medal. Mr. Wishart passed from the Army in January of 1867, into the Metropolitan Police a month later and serving in that capacity for just over 12 months.

In this connection, upon the authority of Mr. Lebalmondiere, then Assistant Commissioner of Police, his conduct was "good". Therefore, whether in the Army, in the Constabulary, or in civilian life, Mr. Wishart's life has been exemplary.

Captain T.J. Johnson of the 13th Hussars who has had a dozen years of experience with Mr. Wishart spoke highly of him as a soldier and a man. Lieutenant William Harte of the same regiment spoke in similar unqualified terms and Col. Soame G. Jenyns, also formerly belonging to the Regiment, and late of Arncombe House, had the highest opinion of him.

On leaving the Metropolitan Police, Mr. Wishart decided to reside in York and for the last twenty years has been in the employ of Messrs. R. V. Varvill and Sons, who entertain a high opinion of him.

At the last Session of Parliament the Secretary of State for War promised to grant pensions to one hundred of the most deserving cases amongst the veterans until the whole of the men who had served in the Crimea and Indian Mutiny had been dealt with.

It was subsequently found that the Chelsea Hospital Commissioners had been entrusted with the administration of this Fund and had decided that the allowance could only be given to men of good conduct with fourteen years service.

A local M.P. elicited the answer that out of 600 applications only 39 men had received assistance, one having forty entries against his name in the defaulter's book. The answer was given in reply to a Parliamentary question.

The Commissioners then decided to reduce the limit to ten years service and amongst the applicants early in April was John Wishart, with twelve years recorded. His application was properly attested and signed by a magistrate and clergyman, the names of two referees also being forwarded. Two months after this approach he received the following reply:

'Royal Hospital Chelsea,

2nd of June 1892.

John Wishart, late of the 13th Hussars, is not destitute, and is informed that the Commissioners of Chelsea Hospital are only authorised to consider the grant of pensions to a limited number of un-pensioned survivors of the Crimean and Indian Mutiny campaigns, of good character, who hold medals and were discharged at their own request, or through reduction, and are now reduced to destitution through old age, or other circumstances. He therefore has no claim. His discharge certificate is returned.

E. A. Stuart, Lieut. Governor and Secretary.'

Thus it will be seen that Mr. Wishart complies with every condition but one; namely, that he is not destitute. He has given the best years of his life to the service of his Queen and Country. He shared the dangers of the battlefield and throughout a long civil career has never sought such financial assistance as a beneficent legislature provides for the destitute, but has brought up his family in a becoming and respectable manner.

Because he has maintained his independence and kept off the rates he is not a fit subject for a share of the large sums now available and at the disposal of the Chelsea Commissioners.

We understand, however, that the claim of Mr. Wishart is to be brought to the attention of the Secretary of State and we are hopeful for a reversal of the decision of the Commissioners."

Both of the original articles appeared in theYorkshire Gazette.

(See also the record of1231 Morris (or Maurice) White, 13th Light Dragoons.)

Death & burial

Death registered

John Wishart, aged 61, June Quarter 1898, York. [RM]

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