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This is a specially produced glossy bookplate bearing the original signature of Battle of Britain Fighter Pilot John Bisdee.

A member of the RAFVR from July 1937, he was called up on 1st September 1939. After completing his training he was commissioned on 1st December, joining 609 Squadron on the 26th.

Bisdee was still serving with 609 Squadron at the start of the Battle of Britain. On 18th July he shared in damaging a He111, on 11th August he claimed a Me110 destroyed, on the 25th another damaged, on 7th September a Me110 destroyed and another damaged, on the 26th a He111 probably destroyed, on the 27th he shared a Me110, on the 30th probably destroyed a Me109 and on 7th October shot down another Me110.

In sweeps over France, Bisdee shared a Me109 on 21st May 1941, shot down Me109s on 17th and 22nd June, probably destroyed another on the 24th and shot down another on 9th July.

Bisdee was awarded the DFC (gazetted 11th July 1941) and posted to 61 OTU on 31st July as a Flight Commander. In July 1941, Bisdee was rested as an instructor at 61 Operational Training unit. He had a small speaking part in the film ‘The First of the Few’ (1942).

He was next given command of 601 Squadron on 10th March 1942. On 20th April he led twelve 601 Spitfires off the US aircraft carrier Wasp, off Algiers, to fly to Malta. The next day, flying from Malta, Bisdee destroyed a Ju88 but was then jumped by Me109s and shot down. Baling out, he discovered that his parachute harness had been damaged and he was being held by one leg strap. Once in the sea he extricated himself and managed to inflate his dinghy. A six mile paddle took him back to Malta where he then unknowingly walked through a mined beach. On 10th May 1942 Bisdee shot down a Cant 1007 and next day he probably destroyed a Me109.

601 Squadron left Malta on 23rd June 1942 for the Western Desert. Bisdee damaged a Me210 on 5th July near Aboukir. He was posted away on 21st August.

Battle of Britain 609 Sqn Fighter Pilot John Bisdee Signed Bookplate

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