All the guns in France couldn’t wake me’ by Phil Vasili is the new biography of Walter Tull, professional football player and first British Army Officer, who died in the last Battle of the Somme a hero.
Walter Tull, 1888-1918. Officer, Footballer. ‘All the guns in France couldn’t wake me’.
Walter Tull, the grandson of slaves, started life in a Methodist orphanage but went on to enjoy a highly successful football career playing for Northampton Town and Tottenham Hotspur.
He was also the first black officer in the British Army as well as the first black officer to lead white troops into battle in the First World War. For his bravery, he was recommended the Military Cross and died a hero in the last Battle of the Somme in 1918 aged 29.
Walter is remembered on two memorials in Dover – the Town Memorial outside Maison Dieu House, and the Parish Memorial at River. He’s also named on a scroll in River church.
Walter’s mother was born in Dover, and his sisters and step-parents lived in the town for many years after his death. Walter’s family requested his name should be on the Dover memorials, and they attended the unveiling ceremonies, laying wreaths to their lost loved stepson and brother.
In 2008, the 90th anniversary year of the Armistice and the 120th anniversary of Walter Tull’s birth and the 90th of his death, a year-long initiative to raise awareness and celebrate the life of Walter Tull was led by the City of Westminster Archives, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
From schoolchildren to pensioners, people across the country (including Dover) participated in art workshops, drama, and animation workshops and discussion groups.
‘All the guns in France couldn’t wake me’ Walter Tull by Phil Vasili