Date of birth: 28 September 1869
Place of birth: Hutton Park, Melton Mowbray, TAS
Date of death:14 January 1930
Place of death: Melton Mowbray, TAS
Unit: 1st Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen
Date of Action: 1 September 1900
Place of Action: Warm Bad, Transvall
John Bisdee was born on 28 September 1869, at Hutton Park, Melton Mowbray, Tasmania. He attended the Hutchins School in Hobart before working on his father’s property until enlisting for service in South Africa in April 1900 with the 1st Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen.
In South Africa, Bisdee saw action in both the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, until being wounded and forced to return home. Bisdee returned to South Africa in March 1901 as a lieutenant with the 2nd Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen.
On 1 September 1900, a group of eight Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen including Bisdee, formed an advance scouting party on horseback, under the command of Lieutenant Guy Wylly.
Bisdee and other members of an advance scouting party were ambushed by Boers in a rocky defile. Six of eight men were hit including two officers, Major Brooke and Lieutenant Wylly. Brooke’s horse bolted so Bisdee put the officer on his own horse and, despite being seriously wounded, ran alongside under fire until he too could mount up and get away.
Bisdee continued serving in South Africa until the end of the Boer War. On returning to Tasmania, Bisdee resumed farming at Hutton Park, and on 11 April 1904 married Georgina Theodosia Hale.
In 1906 Bisdee returned to service where he joined the 12th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Tasmanian Mounted Infantry. By 1910, Bisdee had risen to the rank of Captain. In 1913, he became commanding officer of the 26th Light Hose.
On 26 July 1916, Bisdee joined the AIF and was assigned to the 12th Light Horse and served in Egypt against the Senussi until receiving a wound to the leg. Bisdee served with the 12th Light Horse throughout 1917 and in January 1918 was appointed Assistant Provost Marshal of the ANZAC Day Provost Corps.