Walter Tull, the first black officer in the British Army (Picture: PA).
UK

UK's first black Army officer inducted into National Football Museum Hall of Fame

Walter Tull was one of the UK's first black professional footballers and the first black outfield player to appear in the Football League.

Walter Tull, the first black officer in the British Army (Picture: PA).

Walter Tull, thought to be the British Army's first black officer, has been posthumously inducted into the UK's National Football Museum Hall of Fame.

One of the UK's first black professional footballers and the first black outfield player to appear in the football league, Mr Tull was also the Army's first black officer to command white troops.

Mr Tull's great nephew, Edward Finlayson, collected the award at a ceremony in Manchester.

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Born in 1888 to an English mother and Barbadian father, Mr Tull lost his parents at nine-years-old before being brought up at an orphanage in east London.

Starting his career at Clapham FC, he was signed by Tottenham Hotspur in 1909 – becoming the second person of African-Caribbean mixed heritage to play in the top division of the Football League.

Attending the induction ceremony was Ledley King, former Tottenham Hotspur player and now club ambassador, who said Mr Tull "made an outstanding contribution to football and the country, and everyone should know his story".

Watch: 'Pervasive racism' behind failure to honour Black and Asian troops.

"As one of the first black professional footballers, he paved the way for so many to follow his path in future generations, including myself," he said.

Following the outbreak of war in 1914, Mr Tull joined the 17th (1st Football) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment as a Lance Corporal.

After suffering with 'shell shock', Tull returned to the war in 1916, fighting in the Battle of the Somme.

He then returned to the UK to train as an officer, before heading back to the frontline in the 23rd Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment as a Second Lieutenant.

Army regulations at the time did not allow a 'person of colour' to become an officer.

However, Mr Tull was promoted to Lieutenant in 1917 and is widely considered the first man of African-Caribbean mixed heritage to be commissioned as an infantry officer in the British Army.

He died at the age of 29 while leading an attack on the Western Front during the second Battle of the Somme on 25 March 1918.