Black History Month – Walter Tull

For many years now, a campaign to honour World War 1 soldier, Walter Tull, with the Military Cross for bravery.
A former professional footballer, some of the biggest names, in and out of the game, have been lending their considerable support, fighting a rear guard action to make sure that the first Black officer in the British Army should be honoured.

Ex-pros like Sol Campbell and Garth Crooks have led the way demand that Tull be recognised as a war hero and to grant him the posthumously recommended Military Cross that should have already been awarded.
Walter, who was born in Folkstone, in Kent, in 1888, became the first Black professional football in English football when he played for Tottenham Hotspurs, between 1908 and 1910, before moving on to Northampton Town, where he played up till the outbreak of World War 1.
He abandoned his football career to join the 17th (1st Football) Battalion of Middlesex Regiment.
During his military training he was promoted three times, serving in France, before being sent home, in 1915, for post traumatic stress disorder.
He returned to Le Ciseaux in 1916 to fight in the Battle of the Somme, where he was commended and recommended, by his senior officers, to become an officer himself.
He became a lieutenant in 1917 and was the first Black officer to lead a group of white soldiers into battle.
Commended for his coolness under fire when sent to the Italian Front, Walter was recommended for a Military Cross but never received it.
Walter’s former club, Tottenham Hotspur has supported the campaign calling on the Prime Minister to posthumously recognise their former player who became Britain’s first Black Army officer.
A Spurs spokesman said: “The club has raised awareness of this campaign in the past in order to give our supporters the chance to get involved.
We have also assisted in supporting a number of events concerning Walter Tull and his portrait hangs proudly at White Hart Lane among a host of other players from the club’s past.”
World War One hero Tull is to be featured on a special set of coins by the Royal Mint.

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