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Walter Tull

Walter Tull
Personal information
Full nameWalter John Tull
Date of birth28 April 1888
Place of birthFolkestone, Kent, England
Date of death25 March 1918(age 29)
Place of deathPas-de-Calais, France

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Walter Daniel John Tull (28 April 1888 25 March 1918) was an English professional footballer who played as an inside forward for Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town. He was the second person of Afro-Caribbean/mixed heritage to play in the top division of the Football League, the first Afro-Caribbean/mixed heritage outfield player in the top division of English football, and the first to be commissioned as an infantry officer in the British Army. His professional football career began after he was spotted whilst playing for his local amateur club, Clapton

Tull was brought up in a National Children's Home orphanage in Bethnal Green, London, along with his brother, following the death of their parents. He joined Tottenham in 1909, and transferred to Northampton Town in 1911, where he made 111 first-team appearances.

During the First World War, Tull served in the Footballers' Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, and fought in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 30 May 1917 despite the 1914 Manual of Military Law specifically excluding "Negroes"/"Mulattos" from exercising command as officers. Tull fought in Italy in 1917 18, and was Mentioned in Despatches for "gallantry and coolness" while leading his company of 26 men on a raiding party into enemy territory. He returned to France in 1918, and was killed in action on 25 March during the Spring Offensive; his body was never recovered.

Campaigners have called for a statue to be erected in his honour, and Northampton South MP Brian Binley has campaigned for Tull to be posthumously awarded the Military Cross.

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