Walter Tull

#1
Have done a search and whilst there are 11 references to this chap in the forums and his attainment to Professional footballer prior to WW1 there is nothing about this petition.

Seems the chap was denied a MC for service in WW1 possibly because of his skin colour.

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petiti...mously-award-walter-tull-the-military-cross-2

This petition calls upon David Cameron to posthumously award Walter Tull the Military Cross for which he was recommend.
Walter Tull was the first Black officer in the British Army. He was also Britain’s first Black professional footballer too. During the First World War, due discriminatory rules Black people were barred from becoming officers. However, Tull’s superiors demanded that he be promoted due to his ability and the way he distinguished himself in key battles. He was promoted no less than three times.
Before joining the army Tull played top flight football for Tottenham Hotspur, becoming the UK first Black outfield pro. Although Tull was often subject to racist abuse his dignity shamed his abusers. One report highlighted, ‘Tull is so clean in mind and method as to be a model for all white men.’
But it was on the battle field, and the respect that his peers and superiors had for him which makes him stand out.
2nd Lieutenant Walter Daniel John Tull led his men on dangerous missions behind enemy lines and returned without loss or injury. For these acts of bravery, he was cited for his "gallantry and coolness" under fire by Major General Sir Sydney Lawford, his commanding officer and he was recommended for the Military Cross.
That recommendation never reached the right military authorities. Despite being wounded Walter Tull returned to the front to lead his men into battle on numerous occasions.
Returning to the Somme in 1918 Walter Tull was killed in battle as he was helping his men retreat to safety. He died on the battle field.
I have signed and thought ARRSERS might like to know so they can consider doing so too.

More on the chap here....

Walter Tull - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


 
#2
Its been done here and on several military history forums.

Not sure I agree with this latest "campaign" to rewrite history on the basis of race, colour, discrimination, etc. By 1917, the date of the potential MC award, the British Army officer corps was vastly expanded and very meritocratic - men of all classes, backgrounds and educations were officers, and many were being highly decorated. Also there was something of an attempt to rationalise the medals awards systems (ie level out the perceived differences between "good" MCs and "sent up with the rations" MCs.

Tull was undoubtedly brave, but he was just one brave man among many, all carrying out brave acts as a matter of course. He was probably just one of many who didn't get the award simply because some sort of quota was in place - nothing to do with his skin colour. After all, the same controversies over awards continue right up to today, regardless of skin colour. I can think of one chap who didn't get a medal because a more senior chap picked up one "for the unit" instead, and I'm sure just about everyone else could describe a similar award case.
 
#3
There are legal reasons as well why this would be problematic. As it stands, the MC was not authorised to be awarded posthumously until 1979 and the legislation does not allow it to be awarded retrospectivly. There is quite a logical basis for this as there simply HAS to be a cut-off at some point in time. What this chap did was heroic and truly inspiring however then again, this happened to be the case for countless others equally deserving of the same award, perhaps even higher. It is a fact that it is not just the action that determines the award but other external factors right down to both civillian and military politics and indeed even a quota system. Harsh. but understandable.

Saying that, I had never heard of this fellow until this thread and will certainly research a very distinquishd history. Inspiring chap.
 
#4
Whilst sympathetic to the idea, I'm not going to support any petititon.

Many were written up for awards but as rationing of them became more common it meant many deserving men ended up with nothing. Just the same in WW2. I've read some incredible nominations for awards and by today's standards I doubt any would have been turned down. Changing the past in this manner should not happen.
 
#5
So the petition is so:

An award that was not awarded posthumously at the time should now be awarded on the grounds that he was black?

Obviously if sucessful there will follow a deluge of other nonsensical petitions about why someone was turned down for a gallantry award.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#6
Sorry, but it's not getting my support either. There is no precedent for awarding a posthumous MC in the First World War, and to do so for Lt Tull would open an enormous, diviseive and pointless can of worms.

I expect this debate to continue as the centenary approaches.
 
#7
So the petition is so:

An award that was not awarded posthumously at the time should now be awarded on the grounds that he was black?

Obviously if sucessful there will follow a deluge of other nonsensical petitions about why someone was turned down for a gallantry award.
Fair comment and there may not be the precedent or machinery for making the award today but the gentleman was recommended for an MC by a Major General so that must count for something and separates what could be seen a a bit of wheat from the chaff of opportunist claims to follow.

If the man was denied because he was black which sounds plausible given the prejudices of that time then surely we should do something about it?
 
#8
There are legal reasons as well why this would be problematic. As it stands, the MC was not authorised to be awarded posthumously until 1979 and the legislation does not allow it to be awarded retrospectivly. There is quite a logical basis for this as there simply HAS to be a cut-off at some point in time. What this chap did was heroic and truly inspiring however then again, this happened to be the case for countless others equally deserving of the same award, perhaps even higher. It is a fact that it is not just the action that determines the award but other external factors right down to both civillian and military politics and indeed even a quota system. Harsh. but understandable.

Saying that, I had never heard of this fellow until this thread and will certainly research a very distinquishd history. Inspiring chap.

If you're going to quote legislation (or a common law precedent) please provide the appropriate citation(s). Otherwise it's just barrack room lawyering.
 
#9
Fair comment and there may not be the precedent or machinery for making the award today but the gentleman was recommended for an MC by a Major General so that must count for something and separates what could be seen a a bit of wheat from the chaff of opportunist claims to follow.

If the man was denied because he was black which sounds plausible given the prejudices of that time then surely we should do something about it?

How on earth is anything supposed to be judged plausible or not nearly 100 years after the event, and with all witnesses long since dead? Even Tull's descendants never even knew him - they probably even have no idea exactly what colour he was! This is classic revisionist-tokenism bandwagon stuff - everyone shouting "race" and rushing to make a big fuss about something they actually have no first-hand knowledge about.

By all accounts, Tull was a popular veteran officer and also a media celebrity of his time. His recommendation came from an MG. Racial discrimination does not sound plausible in those circumstances, especially given the vast number of awards given to colonial troops and to ethnic minority men serving in British units. To me the indications are that this was simply a case of "unlucky this time around; you'll get one in the next batch" - as happened to thousands of his white comrades.
 
#10
Fair comment and there may not be the precedent or machinery for making the award today but the gentleman was recommended for an MC by a Major General so that must count for something and separates what could be seen a a bit of wheat from the chaff of opportunist claims to follow.

If the man was denied because he was black which sounds plausible given the prejudices of that time then surely we should do something about it?
The problem comes with setting a precedent for future claimants.

I share the same reserves as other posters, in that; this could snowball into every recommendation for an award that was not presented being entitled to a review on the grounds of perceived prejudices. Reviewing any historical "fact" when applying hindsight and modern values will always be distorted.

I find the whole cold war medal/purchased bling issue distastetful and I find myself drawing parallels to this case. Sorry there wasn't a medal at the time but suck it up and grow a pair.

I also question the motives of an obscure political organisation Welcome to OBV | OBV and IMHO it is for publicity and political gain.

Unless there is evidence that the award was not presented on the grounds of discrimination then there is not a requirement for a review/award. Plausible discrimination maybe, but are we to review every non award on the grounds of plausability?
 
#14
He died almost 100 years ago. I doubt there's anybody alive who ever met the bloke. Who benefits from this?

If we're going to embark on righting the wrongs of the past, it's going to be a very long and unrewarding road.
 
#15
His company, battalion and brigade commanders decided he didn't warrant an MC, why do we (you) think differently now?
 
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