Author and biographer Phil Vasili will be at Folkestone Museum on Saturday, 14th April to give a brief talk and sign copies of the updated edition of his book: ‘Walter Tull 1888-1918, Footballer and Officer’. Vasili has worked with the descendants of the Tull family to explore Tull's life in depth and has been championing this unsung hero for many years, long before many people had even heard about his existence. A small discount will be applied to all books purchased at the launch.
Walter Tull was born in Folkestone in 1888 and went on to become one of the first black professional football players with Spurs, Northampton Town and Rangers. He overcame prejudice to become the first black officer to lead white men in battle in WWI but was tragically killed in enemy action in Favreuil in the Pas-de-Calais 100 years ago on 25th March, 1918. His early years were spent very happily in Folkestone before the death of his parents foreshadowed his being sent to a Children’s Home in Bethnal Green at the age of 9.
To mark the hundredth anniversary of his death fighting in World War I on Sunday (25th March) David Lammy MP led a cross-party coalition of 126 Members of Parliament calling for Walter Tull, the first black British Army officer and one of the first black professional footballers, to be posthumously awarded the Military Cross: “not just in recognition of Walter’s service and sacrifice but as a reminder that men of all races, creeds and colours gave their lives in both world wars”.
Folkestone Museum plans to explore the extraordinary life of Walter Tull in an exhibition in autumn 2018, with documents and photographs from the Tull family archive, Action for Children, who hold the archives of the children’s home, the National Army Museum and other partners. For more information, see our website and Facebook pages.