Tottenham Hotspur support join medal fight for Walter Tull

Forgotten hero: Walter Tull

Forgotten hero: Walter Tull

First published in News
Last updated
by , Reporter

Tottenham Hotspur has supported a campaign calling on the Prime Minister to posthumously recognise a former player who became Britain’s first black Army officer.

Last week, Former Spurs and Arsenal star Sol Campbell and ex-Spurs striker Garth Crooks wrote to David Cameron to ask for Walter Tull to be recognised for service to his country during the First World War.

Mr Tull, who was the first black professional outfield football player in Britain, was recommended for a Military Cross for heroism on the Western Front in 1918, but reportedly turned down due to his skin colour.

Campaigners have called for Mr Tull to be awarded the honour to mark the centenary of the Great War.

A Spurs spokesman said: “The club has raised awareness of this campaign in the past in order to give our supporters the chance to get involved.

“We have also assisted in supporting a number of events concerning Walter Tull and his portrait hangs proudly at White Hart Lane among a host of other players from the club’s past.”

The calls have been given the support by the two former players and Simon Astaire — Mr Campbell’s biographer — as well as Simon Woolley, head of campaigning organisation Operation Black Vote.

Posthumous medals are rarely awarded by the Ministry of Defence but sports minister Helen Grant, who is also responsible for First World War centenary celebrations, said: “I’d like to explore what more we can do to recognise Walter Tull’s incredible story and sacrifice.”

Mr Tull’s six-year playing career took in spells at Clapton and Northampton, as well as a tour of Argentina and Uruguay during his Spurs career.

The grandson of a slave, he grew up in an orphanage in Bethnal Green.

Mr Tull fought at the Somme in 1916 and died in battle in France two years later but his body was never found.

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