Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall
Assistant College Leader
Tull College is named after Walter Tull, a professional football player and soldier during World War One. Walter Tull is recognised as one of the first black professional footballers in England and the first black officer to lead white British soldiers into battle. His success was built on characteristics from our own Tudor Habits and he is a fantastic role model for students in our college!
Walter Tull came from a mixed-race family, his mother was from England and his father was from Barbados. Both of his parents had died by the time he was nine years old and Walter was moved from the Kent countryside to live in a London orphanage. Whilst Walter was at the orphanage, he discovered a love of football and became one of the first black professional players in England. Tull played for Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, but because black players were rare he suffered terrible racist abuse.
When WWI began, Tull enlisted in the army as part of the ‘Footballers’ Battalion’ with other professional players from a range of clubs. He was involved in lots of battles and suffered from Shell Shock which meant he was sent back to England to recover. When he was in England, Tull began to train as an Officer, but at the time, only a white soldier could be trained as an officer. Tull’s superiors thought so highly of him that they allowed him to be an exception and he became the first black man to lead white troops in battle on the front line for the British Army. Tull was killed in action, aged 29, during March 1918 as he led his soldiers across No Man’s Land towards the German trenches.
Walter Tull is remembered as someone who was incredibly resilient throughout his life. He was always aspirational, respectful, inquisitive and let his hardworking attitude help him overcome huge barriers. He was responsible for challenging inequality and discrimination in football and the armed forces.