BHM – Walter
Throughout Black History Month, we’re celebrating our amazing former and current black colleagues as well as notable black Britons, both past and present, who have appeared on our Special Stamps.
Our four special edition postboxes, honouring black Britons, are currently on show in each UK nation. The Glasgow postbox, which is located on Byres Road, chosen for its central location within the city, features an image of Walter Tull, who was the first black player signed by the city’s Rangers football team, before being killed in action during the First World War.
Tull featured in a set of stamps we released in 2018, to mark the end of the Great War. The six Special Stamps were the final set in a five-part commemorative programme marking the centenary of each year of the First World War.
Tull was born in Folkestone in 1888 and orphaned after the death of his English mother and his Barbadian father. He became known as a professional footballer after signing on to become the first black player for Rangers. After war broke out, he served in the Footballers’ Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment and fought on the Somme.
Commissioned in May 1917, Second Lieutenant Tull became the first mixed-race Army officer to command troops in a regular unit. After fighting in Italy, he returned to the Western Front. On 25 March 1918, he was killed in action. Having no known grave, Tull is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
When we released our First World War commemorative stamps, Tull’s great nieces and nephews, said: ‘We are honoured that this Royal Mail stamp is commemorating our great uncle Walter Tull, who died tragically 100 years ago during the First World War.
‘While it is a time, for us as a family, to remember respectfully the death of our great uncle in such a terrible war, like so many others, we are also proud of his accomplishments.
‘Walter’s life and achievements have been acknowledged and celebrated in a variety of ways for over 20 years. Many of these activities and projects concern challenging and overcoming inequality and discrimination.
‘We hope that Walter’s example will continue to encourage and promote projects that support inclusion and equality.’