This project is now closed

Tull100 — Football Remembers

One hundred years after his death, the achievements of Walter Tull, the first man of black heritage to become an officer in the regular British Army and lead his men in battle, was commemorated through an engagement project celebrating inclusive community action today.

Walter Tull’s life was extraordinary, and there have been many calls over the years to acknowledge his unique story. Born in Kent to a Barbadian father and local British mother, Tull spent his formative years in an east London children’s home. He went on to become one of Britain’s first black professional footballers and a First World War hero rising through the ranks to become an officer despite the explicit restrictions to promotion at the time. He was killed in action at the second battle of the Somme in March 1918.

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 Read more news about Tull100 here.

About Walter Tull

Walter Tull was born in Folkestone in 1888 to a local woman and a Barbadian carpenter. He was just nine years old when he was orphaned and placed in a Bethnal Green children’s home. A great success story, Tull thrived in the world of football playing for Clapton FC and then in 1909 signing to Tottenham Hotspur. He was making history.

By 1911 Tull had moved on to play for Northampton and when war broke out he enlisted in the Football Battalion in the autumn of 1914. He made history again in May 1917 when he was commissioned as an officer in the regular British Army, in direct contravention of the Manual of Military Law which stated officers must be of ‘pure European descent’. He was the first person of black heritage to become an officer in the regular British Army.

On 25 March 1918, Walter Tull was killed in action. His body was not recovered from the battlefield. He is commemorated on the Arras memorial.

Photograph courtesy of Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive and Museum Service).

 

 

You can read much more about Walter Tull by requesting our free resource pack, which details his life and experiences and includes suggestions for group activities based on his story, as well as letters written by him and those close to him, artworks inspired by him and lots of photographs.  

No Barriers medal challenge 

In recognition of Tull’s unprecedented achievement in becoming an officer despite the explicit barrier to his promotion at the time, the Tull100 project awarded medals to those who made their communities more inclusive. The project had ‘No Barriers’ as its central message, and worked to counter discrimination by promoting equality and inclusion, regardless of race, gender, sexuality or age. You can read about our No Barriers Medal winners here.

Watch our video launching the No Barriers medal challenge with England football players Dele Alli, Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose, as well as members of the FA Youth Council:

How you can get involved in Tull100

Even though the project has ended you can still access our high quality free resources by clicking the button below.

Join the Tull100 campaign

Share your stories with us on social media using #Tull100 #FootballRemembers #NoBarriers.

 @Big_Ideas_Co          Big Ideas       _bigideas

   Tull100 Facebook group

Email us at tull100@big-ideas.org.

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Tull100 – Football Remembers is led by Big Ideas and funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), with additional funding from a National Lottery grant from the Big Lottery Fund to work in the Home Nations. Tull100 – Football Remembers is part of Remember Together, which brings diverse communities together to commemorate shared – and often sidelined – heritage, bringing significant marginalised heritage into the mainstream.