Saturday, August 27, 2011

Col William Donald Wishart, O.B.E

Royal Canadian Corps of Signals

(Reel 1, Side 1) Born on Jan. 19, 1907 at Portage la Prairie, Man. Graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1931, the same year he joined the army. Comments on recruitment, officers, training, facilities at Camp Borden, Ont. Regimental sergeant-major had great influence on young officers. Went into debt purchasing uniforms, almost a standard occurrence. Details of mess life and customs. (45:00) Marriage for junior officers was not approved until promotion to captain was attained. Training equipment was old and often worn-out. Issued with No. 1 Wireless set in the mid-thirties. Served in Ottawa and in London, Ont., 1935-1939. Joined a 2nd Division signals unit upon the outbreak of war. (40:00)

(Reel 1, Side 2) Intensive training at Barryfield, Ont. Divisional signals organization. Promoted to major, appointed Lines Officer (telephone communications). Some very primitive equipment was in use, but later were issued commercial style "telephone trucks" which were a great improvement. Comments on his senior signals officer, Brig. J.E. Genet. (25:00) Thoughts on Maj.-Gen. A.G.L. McNaughton.

(Reel 2, Side 1) Employed on line communications at 1st Canadian Army headquarters. Difficulties in finding efficient signalmen; required much time to train them. Felt that the headquarters officers were very efficient. On D+20 went to Normandy where establishing communications was a high priority. Experiences in Europe -- a wide-ranging anecdotal account. (38:00)

(Reel 2, Side 2) Decided to remain in the Army; chief instructor at Vimy Barracks, Kingston. Remarks on the production of the Canadian No. 26 Wireless set. Preferred wartime soldiering to that of peacetime with the many constraints -- political and financial -- of the latter.

(Reel 3, Side 1) Family matters, technical staff college in England. Appointed Director of the Canadian Signal Research and Development Establishment in Ottawa, a post which he held for six years. Director of electronic and communications development. Commandant of the School of Signals, Vimy Barracks, 1958. Retired in 1960. Joined a firm of consulting electrical engineers. Retired again in 1972. (90:00)

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