Trib­utes to Tull

Lieu­tenant to be hon­oured on beach

Ayrshire Post - - Around Ayr - Abi Smil­lie

The first black of­fi­cer in the Bri­tish Army will be com­mem­o­rated on Ayr beach as part of di­rec­tor Danny Boyle’s Armistice com­mis­sion Pages of the Sea.

Lieu­tenant Wal­ter Tull, was Bri­tain’s sec­ond black pro­fes­sional foot­baller who had signed up with Rangers, and trained as an of­fi­cer cadet in Gailes, Ayrshire.

Wal­ter- along with mil­lions of other sol­diers- will be hon­oured on Sun­day, Novem­ber 11 in a na­tion­wide ges­ture of remembrance.

A large- scale por­trait of Wal­ter Tull de­signed by sand artists Sand In Your Eye, will be drawn into the sand on the beach and washed away as the tide comes in.

And the pub­lic will be asked to join in by cre­at­ing sil­hou­ettes of peo­ple in the sand, re­mem­ber­ing the mil­lions of lives lost or changed forever by the con­flict.

The project is the lat­est col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Na­tional Theatre of Scot­land and 14- 18 NOW, the UK’s arts pro­gramme for the World War 1 cen­te­nary, and will use 30 beaches all around the UK as their can­vasses for the mass art- work.

Each of the beaches tak­ing part in the project will com­mem­o­rate a dif­fer­ent WW1 ca­su­alty.

Wal­ter Tull was born to Alice Elizabeth Palmer, from Kent, and Daniel Tull from Bar­ba­dos, the son of a slave, on April 28, 1888.

Af­ter the death of his par­ents he and his brother Ed­ward were placed in a children’s home in Beth­nal Green.

Ed­ward was later adopted and it is be­lieved that he went on to be Bri­tain’s first black den­tist af­ter tak­ing over his fa­ther’s prac­tice on St Vin­cent Street in Glas­gow.

Wal­ter, how­ever, be­gan play­ing foot­ball with Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur in 1909, and af­ter tour­ing South Amer­ica with them he was of­fered a con­tract, mak­ing him the sec­ond black pro­fes­sional foot­baller in Bri­tain.

When play­ing for Tot­ten­ham and later Northamp­ton Town he faced a lot of racial abuse and prej­u­dice, yet he went on to have a suc­cess­ful foot­ball ca­reer.

In 1914, Northamp­ton Town be­gan ne­go­ti­a­tions to trans­fer Tull to Glas­gow Rangers.

How­ever, the First World War broke out be­fore Tull could play a game for Rangers.

He en­listed as a pri­vate in the Foot­ballers’ Bat­tal­ion of the Bri­tish Army, where he was quickly pro­moted to be a sergeant.

He took part in and sur­vived the Bat­tle of the Somme, af­ter which he was sent to Eng­land to re­cover from ill­ness.

He then went to train as an of­fi­cer cadet in Gailes, Ayrshire.

Al­though black of­fi­cers were not al­lowed in the Bri­tish Army at this time, he was com­mis­sioned in May 1917, thus be­com­ing the first black com­bat of­fi­cer in the Bri­tish Army.

He died in bat­tle in France in 1918, dur­ing the last ma­jor German of­fen­sive. His body was never found. Wal­ter will be re­mem­bered this Sun­day as the pub­lic pay their re­spects to mil­lions of fallen ser­vice­men.

• Ac­tiv­i­ties on Ayr beach will hap­pen be­tween 8.30am and 11am.

Lest We For­get Danny Boyle’s Pages of the Sea art project

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.