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“Growing up in England, I’d never heard of Walter and what he’d been through” – Danny Rose on Walter Tull

Tottenham MP David Lammy has called for Walter tull to be awarded the Military Cross 100 years after his death.

Current Tottenham Hotspur players Danny Rose and Dele Alli have called for Walter Tull to be awarded the Military Cross.

Earlier this morning, David Lammy. MP for Tottenham sent a letter to the Prime Minister calling on the government to award the former Spurs and Northampton player the Military Cross. The letter is supported over 120 MPs, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Tull served during World War I and was the first black officer in the British army. His commission as officer came against army regulations stating no person of colour could hold the position. As an officer, he became the first black man to lead white troops into battle.

During his time in the army, he commanded troops at the Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Ypres, where he was noted for his bravery and courage. He was killed on 25 March 1918, during the Spring offensive in France.

Before the war, Tull was one of the first black footballers to play in England. He spent time at Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town during his playing career. While playing for both clubs, he faced widespread racial abuse.

Approaching the 100th anniversary of his death, Lammy believes that it is time to “right the wrong that has unjustly denied Tull the Military Cross he was recommended for.”

“Walter Tull is a true British hero and his achievements in the face of the bitter prejudice he faced throughout his life should be recognised and celebrated,” said Lammy. “Through his courageous actions Walter Tull defied the racism that plagued our society and ridiculed the prejudice that denied people of colour equality and deemed them inferior to their white counterparts.”

Endorsing the campaign, Danny Rose told the BBC Radio Four Today Programme:

“When you’re a school, you learn about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King,” Rose said. “It’s a shame that, growing up in England, I’d never heard of Walter and what he’d been through.”

Learning about Tull’s story has inspired Alli to learn more: “It’s a pretty emotional, moving story. I’m a bit embarrassed I hadn’t heard of him before today. I’m going to do my research and find out as much as I can.”

James Pike
James Pike is a reporter specialising in motor sports. An American hailing from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Pike grew up near the epicentre of NASCAR, America's most popular form of motor sport. He has spent the last year as a radio analyst on the Performance Motorsports Network and the last three years as a writer for Race Chaser Online. In addition, Pike is a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur, Philadelphia Phillies, and Wake Forest Demon Deacons. He is a graduate of the Motorsports Management program at Belmont Abbey College and currently resides in Twickenham.
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