Peace Direct would like to say a big thank you to the Professional Footballers’ Association for their donation of £250 in memory of World War One soldier Walter Tull. Tull was a professional footballer and had been signed by Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town before joining the 17th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment at the outbreak of the war. Tull was sent to France, where he demonstrated his dedication and bravery.
In fact, Tull became the first black Commissioned Officer in the British Army. Despite military regulations denying any ‘person of colour’ the rank of commissioned officer, Tull was made Second Lieutenant in May 1917. Tull stood in the firing line not just of bullets, but of prejudice. Through his bravery and determination, he broke through those divisions and achieved an unprecedented accomplishment.
This is what the peacebuilders we support are achieving in their countries every day. For example, our new partner Heartbeat unites young Israeli and Palestinian musicians across the divides of conflict, our old friends at the Centre for Peacebuilding and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka reach out to diverse faith traditions through inter-faith dialogue groups, and the winners of our Tomorrow’s Peacebuilders prize, Centar za Izgradnju Mira in post-war Bosnia, work with thousands of young people to build understanding and tolerance through peace camps and non-violence education in schools. All of these people are local heroes, bringing about lasting change that will affect future generations for years to come.
Tull was killed in the Second Battle of the Somme. His body was never found. He remains one of the thousands of soldiers from World War One without a grave. A hero remembered only because of the passing down of his story.
As the world remembers the hundredth anniversary of that war, we are working to stop conflict wherever we can. With your help, we can ensure those that work so hard today do not go without the recognition they deserve.