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Tull could see that the Germans had broken through,
So in retreat he led his frightened men,
Who realised their chances now were few,
Of getting back to their own lines again.
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As shells and bullets screamed their mean intent,
Walter’s life seemed to flash before his eyes,
A grand drama began in Folkestone Kent,
Takes one more final curtain here and dies.
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As lines of bullets zipped above his head,
He hoped and prayed that they would pass him by,
But from amongst that deadly shower of lead,
A shot struck him and passed out near his eye.
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He saw his arms around his brother wound,
On a cold, wintry scene from long ago,
As father’s coffin slid beneath the ground,
To Bethnal Green they knew they had to go.
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And then himself a boy at Bonner Road,
Dressed in the colours of their football team,
His reddened eyes, the signs of tears they showed,
As Glasgow bound his brother left the scene.
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Once more he held Clapton’s Amateur cup,
Their six goal win had been his final game,
For the grand sum of ten pounds he’d signed up,
For mighty Spurs in search of football fame.
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South America in nineteen hundred and nine, (1909)
Helped him gain the respect of all at Spurs,
Prepared him to cross over the white line,
To face up to every challenge that occurs.
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‘THE FIRST BLACK PLAYER SINCE ARTHUR WHARTON,’
‘TULL’S PASSING SKILLS PLAY SUCH A CRUCIAL ROLE.’
Some headlines praised but some would report on,
His Spurs games using names like ‘Darkie’ Tull.
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When it all went wrong down at Bristol City,
Where the crowd screamed out their names of racial hate,
He’d needed Spurs support, not their pity,
But what they did was hard to contemplate.
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Instead of helping him when he was down,
They’d made him leave and join a smaller club,
A lower league side called Northampton Town,
From Spurs this seemed like such an awful snub.
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It’d felt like that first day at Bonner Road,
But boss Chapman had loved him like a son,
And through his skill upon the pitch he showed,
That those thugs who’d abused him had not won.
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Rangers had just offered a bright future,
When he’d opted to ‘PLAY THE GREATER GAME.’
War put football in a different picture,
Playing on would have only offered shame.
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He’d been a Sergeant, one of the lads, when
Returned to France he’d found that they’d all gone,
He’d felt just like an orphan once again,
But still did his duty and soldiered on.
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Now here he was in France about to die,
Returned back to the Somme to meet his fate,
A pale gold ball above him in the sky,
Perhaps they played the game at heaven’s gate.
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Just at the moment Tull, our hero, died,
The sun’s bright rays broke through the gloom to shine,
As Private Billingham knelt down and cried,
Walter crossed that white line one final time.