Campaign to honour war hero Walter
3:50pm Monday 18th February 2013 in News
A CAMPAIGN to decorate a First World War hero has reached parliament as his remarkable story is brought to the stage at the Octagon.
Bolton North East MP David Crausby has asked the government to recognise First World War hero Walter Tull with the Military Cross.
The inspirational story of Tull, who was one of the first black officers in the British Army and the first black outfield player in the First Division of the Football League, will be told later this month at the Octagon in a world premiere.Tull was recommended for a Military Cross in 1917, after action in the Italian Alps, but, following his death at the Somme in 1918, his body was never recovered and he was buried along with 30,000 other British and Commonwealth fatalities in an unmarked grave.
Now Mr Crausby has tabled an early day motion in parliament calling for the “long-overdue” Military Cross to be awarded posthumously.
He said: “Walter Tull was a hero who overcame the huge barriers of class and racial prejudice in both football and the military.
“His life story is incredible and I’m proud that Bolton will host the first performances of Tull.
“I’m sure that anyone who hears his story will agree that Walter Tull deserves to be recognised for his service to our country.”
Tull was born into poverty to a Barbadian father and English mother in 1888, and he was raised in a Bethnal Green orphanage.
Military regulations at the time forbade “any negro or person of colour” becoming an infantry officer.
But his heroism in battle was rewarded in May 1917, and Tull overcame racial prejudice and military rules to be commissioned as a second lieutenant.
Mr Crausby’s motion states that to decorate the soldier would “show the children of today how long and honourably black people have served in the UK’s armed forces, with more than five million black and Asian troops having served on our behalf in two world wars.”
Tull premieres at the Octagon on Thursday.