Walter Tull

Two illustrated portraits of Walter Tull - one in his football strip and the other in his Officers uniform.

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Walter Tull was a British footballer and soldier who was born in 1888 and died in 1918. He was also the first black officer to lead white British soldiers in battle.

Walter Tull was one of many brave soldiers who fought and was killed in World War One. Walter's father was black and he came to Britain from the West Indies.

Walter's grandfather had been a slave - someone who is not free and is made to work for an owner. Walter's mother was white and she was from Kent, in the south of England.

A head and shoulders portrait of Walter Tull Walter Tull
Troubled upbringing

Walter had to overcome setbacks in his life. His parents died when he was still a child and he was brought up in a children's home.

He still had a family, but he had to make his own way in the world. He had to give up a football career to become a soldier.

Walter became one of the first black footballers in Britain. He was only the second professional black player in the Football League. He played football for Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town.

From footballer to officer

When the war began in 1914, Walter had to give up football to be a soldier. He joined the British Army. Walter was a good soldier, and was soon promoted.

He was made an officer, though officially black soldiers were barred from becoming officers in the British Army at this time. Walter fought in Italy and France. He was killed during a battle in 1918.

Walter was an example to others while he was alive, and he remains a role model for us today.

Teachers' notes

Teachers' notes and classroom ideas looking at the life and death of Walter Tull.

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