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Walter Tull

Walter Tull, born 25 April 1888, was one of Britain’s first Black infantry officers. He was recommended for a Military Cross and died in the Somme in 1918 at the age of 30.

Although born in Kent, from the age of 9 Tull was raised in the Children’s Home and Orphanage in Bonner Road, Bethnal Green. His name can be seen in the census of 1901 where he’s aged 12.

Tull was also a professional footballer, playing for Clapton, Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town. Although he was not the first black footballer to play professionally, he was the earliest, and he has to cope with racial with racial abuse during matches. Despite this Tull was once described as ‘a model  for all white men who play football … the best forward on the field’. 

1901 census for Bethnal Green, showing Tull’s name.

1901 census for Bethnal Green, showing Tull’s name.