Monday, 16 April 2007

Walter Tull.

The Telegraph today describes Walter Tull as a "forgotten" British Army hero, who died leading his men over the top on the Somme in 1918. He's not forgotten in Northampton, where he is remembered in the names of a number of public buildings and by Cobblers fans in annual match and the Walter Tull Memorial Garden near the club's sixfields ground. A movie is being made about his life.

I agree a statue of him would be a good thing. never mind the white cliffs though - what about the vacant plinth on Trafalgar square to commemorate a man who overcame a number of odds - including racism when it actually existed in this country, to become a town's favourite adopted son, decorated officer and much loved leader of men - three men died trying to recover him from no-mans land when he was lying wounded.

He's one of the first black British footballers having signed to Northampton town in 1910, where he played 110 times before the outbreak of war. He joined the Footballer's pals Battalion 5th Middlesex Regiment as a private in 1914, reaching Sergeant in 1916 and Gaining a commission in 1917, the first black person to do so - despite an official bar. He gained a Mention in Dispatches in Italy before he met his end in front of a German machine gun near the Somme in 1918. His body was never found; his name can be found on the Arras memorial.

He's a better role model than any footballer currently playing (and in funkier shorts too)



2 comments:

one_man_republic said...

Trafalgar would be very fitting.

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