Born in Kent of a Barbadian father and an English mother, Walter Tull played 20 first team matches for Tottenham Hotspur between 1909 and 1911.He also toured South America with them. In 1911 Herbert Chapman signed him for Northampton Town. He played 111 games for Northampton up until the outbreak of the war in 1914.
During the First World War Tull served with the Footballers' Battalions of the Middlesex Regiment. When he was promoted from the ranks in 1917 Tull became the first black/ mixed race officer in the British army. He was killed in action in 1918.
Through his actions, Tull ridiculed the barriers of ignorance that tried to deny negroes/mulattos equality with their contemporaries. His life stands testament to a determination to confront those people and those obstacles that sought to diminish him and the world in which he lived. It reveals a man, though rendered breathless in his prime, whose strong heart still beats loudly.
Tull's epitaph: Phil Vasili