Supported by Big Ideas and the Remembering Together project which is funded by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) with an additional National Lottery grant from the Big Lottery Fund. To find out more visit their website www.big-ideas.org 

With this year marking the centennial celebration of the end of the 1st World War, it is only apt that we look at the lives of those who served in the war and those who made a difference to our lives today. One of those such people, and the focus of the workshops held by the Networking for World Awareness of Multicultural Integration (NWAMI) is Walter Tull.

Who Was he?

Walter Tull was the third British Black Footballer to reach professional level of playing. After making a career for himself and becoming well known for his skills as a footballer he went on to join the army shortly after the outbreak of the First World War. After serving for three years and reaching the rank of Lance Corporal, he was commissioned in 1917 to the position of 2nd Lieutenant. This had been not allowed before now for any British Soldier of non-pure European heritage to become a commissioned officer.

The basis studying the life of Walter Tull is to look at the barriers and the prejudice that he may have faced as a man of colour in the early 1900’s during both his football career and his career in the Army. From the age of eight, Walter and his brother Edward lived in Bonner Road Children’s home after both their parents passed away. It was 1908 he began to show promise as a footballer, and by 1911 he had made his name within Northampton Town F.C. Then in 1914 the war broke out, and he joined the army with other members from his football team. In 1917 he was commissioned as 2nt Lieutenant, and sadly he was killed during the second battle of the Somme in 1918.

He has brought light to issues that faced those who come from diverse backgrounds who served our country in the war, and the issues faced by those attempting to build careers in fields such as football. There is evidence to show that during his career as a footballer he faced adversity and abuse from some of his fans, despite him being an impressive footballer. It raises the question of 'Have we become more tolerant?', 'Has this improved?'.

During his time serving in the British Army, and through his hard work and a demonstration of his skills he become commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in 1917. This was a huge achievement as at the time, The Manual of Military Law stated that only men of 'pure European descent' could be commissioned as officers. 

We held several workshops with groups from around the country to look at the life of Walter Tull, what he managed to achieve, and what difficulties he may have faced in order to raise awareness. This enabled an open discussion surrounding what barriers we face in our own lives today, and how we can go about supporting one another to promote equality and tolerance. #NoBarriers #Tull100