Action for Children old boy Walter Tull honoured with £5 coin

Posted by Abigail Gill / Thursday 04 September 2014 / Heritage

Orphan Walter Tull is to be commemorated in a £5 coin for his role as the first black combat officer in the British Army during the First World War.

Walter and his brother grew up in a National Children’s Home orphanage in Bethnal Green, London, after losing both parents. National Children’s Home is called Action for Children today.

He started playing football nearby with Clapton FC, winning the London Senior Cup and FA Amateur Cup. Walter then turned professional and played for Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town, becoming the first black outfield player in professional football.

In December 1914 Walter enlisted in the British Army and rose to the rank of Lieutenant.

Sherine Krause, executive director of fundraising, communications and policy at Action for Children, said: “We are thrilled that Walter Tull is being recognised for his bravery in the First World War.

“Thousands of children were cared for by the National Children’s Home and we honour them all, but Walter Tull’s story is particularly notable for his ground breaking sporting and military accomplishments.

“Britain has changed greatly in the hundred years since Walter enlisted in the Army, and the National Children’s Home has evolved into Action for Children, but we still strive every day to help thousands of children achieve their potential.”

Walter Tull was killed in action on 25 March 1918 in northern France near Calais.

Image: Walter Tull (front row, second from left) with fellow members of the orphanage football team in Bethnal Green.

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