Walter Tull was born in Folkestone, Kent on 28th April 1888. His father was from Barbados and his mother from Kent. His parents died when he was aged 9 years old so Walter and his brother were brought up in an orphanage in Bethnal Green, East London.
As a child he played football and was signed by Clapton F.C., then Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and later Northampton Town F.C. in 1911.
At the start of the First World War, Tull joined the 17th (1st Football) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment as a Lance-Corporal. In 1915 he served in France and was later placed in hospital for shell shock. In 1916, he returned to action in September and fought in the Battle of the Somme, afterwards attending officer training in Britain then going back to serve in the 23rd Battalion of the Middlesex regiment as a second lieutenant.
Despite army rules which forbade Black people being commissioned as an officer, Walter was promoted to lieutenant after officer training school at Gailes, Scotland. Tull is widely considered the first African-Caribbean mixed heritage man to be commissioned as an infantry officer in the British Army.
Walter Tull died aged 29 in 1918 while leading an attack on the Western front during the Second Battle of the Somme in March. The Commanding Officer of the 23rd Battalion recommended him for a Military Cross for bravery.
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