Frank BALSER #3469

Frank Balser

Indigenous Australian, Frank BALSER, 5th Light Horse Regiment.

Trooper Frank BALSER, was born on Lakefield Station, via Laura on Cape York, Qld. He successfully applied for exemption from the Protection of Aborigines Act in 1913 and when he enlisted in Brisbane 3 October 1917 he was employed as a coach driver.

Balser embarked for Egypt 28 February 1918 with the 30th Reinforcements for the 5th Light Horse Regiment and shortly after arrival was admitted to No 2 Australian Stationery Hospital, Mena with Measles. He rejoined his unit several months later and served in the Middle East until returning to Australia on HMAT Madras, 17 June 1919. Upon his return he worked as a labourer at McKinley’s Teneriffe, Brisbane and married Mary Jane Beckett, 7 September 1921. Frank Balser also served during WW2.

During his time with the Light Horse, Frank was reportedly taken prisoner by the Indian cavalry and presumed to be an Arab spy dressed in the stolen uniform of the Light Horse. The allied forces were unaware that some of the Light Horsemen were of Aboriginal descent and black.

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Marg Powell & Des Crump | QANZAC100, State Library of Queensland