This film will tell the amazing, untold story of a true-life hero, Walter Tull, professional footballer and World War One hero. A player at Clapton, Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town he went on to become one of this country’s heroes during the First World War, working his way up through the ranks from volunteer to officer.
After leading a raiding party across enemy lines in Italy he was recommended for a Military Cross because of his outstanding bravery and leadership in not losing a single man from his Company while coming under heavy fire. He fought in both battles of the Somme heroically but was killed in March 1918 as the war staggered to a close. His men, braving shell fire, tried to rescue his body from the battlefield. These incredible achievements, on their own, make him a boy’s own British hero.
What makes it doubly so is that Walter was black. Born of mixed parentage in Folkestone in 1888, and orphaned aged 9, he confronted and overcame loss and racial prejudice becoming a major star in Edwardian football and one of its first British-born black players, a sensation on the pitch with his self-belief, athleticism and cool determination. At Kitchener’s request he joined the Football Battalion, the first Northampton Town player to enlist. Promoted, he quickly achieved the rank of lance sergeant and, eventually, a commission, the rulebook being thrown aside. Incredibly, in his elevation to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant he became the first black infantry officer in the British army. His bravery under fire, gallantry and leadership skills meant that he should have been awarded his Military Cross. Petitions for this posthumous award are still being made. His memorial, situated at Northampton Town’s ground, states.
Through his actions Tull ridiculed the barriers of ignorance that tried to deny people of colour equality with their contemporaries. ..It reveals a man, though rendered breathless in his prime, whose strong heart still beats loudly
Tull made the impossible possible. He is a unique role model that embodies our modern, multi-cultural society.