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John Bisdee, VC


1 SEP 1900: The Second Boer War and Trooper (later Lieutenant Colonel) John Hutton Bisdee, 1st Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen, originally from Hutton Park, Tasmania, earns the Victoria Cross at Warm Bad, South Africa.

John Bisdee was born on 28 September 1869 at Hutton Park, Melton Mowbray, Tasmania. In 1904 he married Georgiana Thodosia Hale who was the daughter of Bishop Matthew Blagden Hale. When Bisdee was 30 years old, and a Trooper with the Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen during the Second Boer War, he was in an eight-man mounted patrol ambushed by the Boers near Warm Bad, Transvaal.

Almost all of the party were wounded, including an officer whose horse had bolted. Bisdee put the officer on his own horse and, despite having been wounded himself, ran alongside under fire until he too could mount up and get away.

Citation in part; “On 1 September 1900 near Warm Bad, Transvaal, South Africa, Trooper Bisdee was one of an advance scouting party passing through a narrow gorge, when the enemy suddenly opened fire at close range and six out of the party of eight were wounded, including two officers. The horse of one of the wounded officers bolted and Trooper Bisdee dismounted, put the officer on his own horse and took him out of range of the very heavy fire.”

Bisdee served as a light horse officer in the First World War. By 1918 he was a lieutenant colonel in the ANZAC Provost Corps.

He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1919 as well as being Mentioned in Despatches. Bisdee eventually returned to farming in Tasmania. He died on 14 January 1930 and was buried in the St James Churchyard, Jericho, Tasmania.

His Victoria Cross is on display at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart. More;


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