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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY - AFRO-AUSTRALIAN " TROOPER HORACE THOMAS DALTON " HE FOUGHT IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR FOR THE FREEDOM OF ALL AUSTRALIAN - GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK HEROES "

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TROOPER HORACE THOMAS DALTON                                                                                                                             Military service finally honoured
Rebecca Lynch 
Members of the local Light Horse troop fire the belated salute for Trooper Horace Thomas Dalton, WWI 11th Light Horse Regiment.
Members of the local Light Horse troop fire the belated salute for Trooper Horace Thomas Dalton, WWI 11th Light Horse Regiment.
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ABORIGINAL Trooper Horace Dalton fought in the First World War for the freedom of all Australians, even though he didn't enjoy the same rights as white Australians.

When he enlisted in the army at 19, Horace Dalton lied to satisfy the requirement that service people be of "substantially European" origin.

He fought in the 11th Light Horse Regiment in Egypt from 1918 to 1919.

When the war veteran died in 1956, he was not given a military funeral and was instead buried in an unmarked grave in the Ipswich Cemetery.

On Saturday, Trooper Dalton was given a military service, 56 years after his burial.

The Ipswich military (and wider) community gathered to show their respect for him.

Trooper Dalton's son Ken said he was proud of his father's military service, and grateful it was finally recognised.

"I feel honoured that the RSL, the council and everyone else has come to show their respect for my father," he said.

"I was only 16 when he died and nobody knew what was going on; we just had a small funeral. This has made me very proud."

Ken Dalton said his father felt a duty to defend Australia.

"Dad fought for the rights of Australians, even though he didn't have them himself," he said.

"He signed up, even though his country treated him shamefully.

"I've had relatives in wars over the past 50 years, and now our children and grandchildren are seeing the benefits - they're getting those rights."

He said his father had to go through a strict process to be admitted into the defence force.

"When he enlisted, he had to sign an affidavit saying he had the right heritage to be an Australian soldier - I thought it was a bit of cheek, seeing as he was one of the true owners of the land," he said.

Ipswich RSL sub-branch representative Matt Rennie said the delay in recognising Trooper Dalton was very sad.

"When Horace returned from the war, he wasn't allowed to attend reunions," Mr Rennie said.

"When he passed away, there was no beating of the drum, no military funeral. Horace, we may be late for this, but I hope it's enough."

Mr Rennie said he suggested Trooper Dalton should be properly honoured, after finding his grave seven years ago.

Cr Andrew Antoniolli said the service was held to "right the wrongs of the past".

Trooper Dalton's grave now has a plaque detailing his service.