Discrimination in the British Armed Forces-1914

Walter Tull was the first black outfield footballer in Britain. Born in Folkestone in 1888 he was of mixed parentage. His father was from Barbados and his mother was English. Sadly, both his parents died at an early age, so Walter and his Brother were brought up in an orphanage in East London. Walter’s brother Edward was adopted and went to live in Scotland with the Warnocks, where he late worked as a dentist in Aberdeen and Glasgow. Walter stayed behind in London.

While at the orphanage he enjoyed playing football and was an exceptional talent. He was playing for Clapton when in 1909 he was spotted by Tottenham Hotspur. Walter and his Spurs Team mates. Walter was a trained printer but gave up his profession for a more exciting career in football. Spurs paid him a £10 signing on fee, ( the maximum at that time and his wages were £4 per week. After some time it became clear that Walter was not quick enough to be a striker and so he transferred to Northampton Town in 1911.

He played for Northampton until the outbreak of the First World War. Lieutenant Tull and his Brother Edward He enlisted in 17th and 23rd battalion of the Middlesex Regiment (2nd Football). The division was made up of Footballers. Despite military rules at the time forbidding any Black soldiers to become officers, Walter Tull was commissioned in May 1917. Second Lieutenant Tull was killed in action in the 2nd Battle of the Somme,France. His body was never identified.

Related Websites: Walter Tull More Tull info

2 thoughts on “Discrimination in the British Armed Forces-1914

  • 17th March 2009 at 2:10 pm

    There is currently a number of campaigns underway to ensure that Walter Tull is remembered and takes his rightful place amongst the great achievers in British history.

    The various campaigns are:

    1. To rename the school he attended in Folkstone as The Walter Tull School.
    2. To erect a statue of Walter Tull at the newly planned Spurs Stadium
    3. To replay the match between Spurs & Bristol City in memory of the racial abuse Walter suffered 100 years ago.
    4. To include the story of Walter Tull in the National Curriculum
    5. To erect a permanent memorial to Walter Tull in Folkstone
    6. and of course… to posthumously award Walter the Victoria Cross that he was recommended to receive, but did not.

    If you would like to support us, please contact:
    On facebook: Join the group @: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=33844959524
    Sign the online petition for the posthumous award of the military cross @: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/spurs4tull/signatures.html
    Sign for a statue at the new Spurs Stadium @ http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/waltertullmemorialTHFC

    Thank you for your support.

  • 3rd February 2011 at 12:22 am

    He should be part of the topic in a movie on Black-African-Diaspora people who fought in ww1&www2.Informative article.


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