Birds eye picture shows Northampton's Walter Tull remembered in sand portrait project

This magnificent sand portrait of Britain's first ever black army officer to command white troops has appeared on Ayr Beach in Scotland.

Monday, 12th November 2018, 2:05 pm
Updated Monday, 12th November 2018, 3:11 pm
A sand portrait of Walter Tull has been drawn in Scotland as he is remembered 100 years on. Credit: SWNS.

The haunting drawing of Second Lieutenant Walter Tull is spread across the Scottish sands is part of a remembrance project by film director Danny Boyle.

An organisation known '14-18 NOW' teamed up with with arts groups to remember the casualties of WW1 and remind people of the sacrifices that were made.

The Pages of the Sea project led by Slumdog Millionaire director Boyle has seen beach portraits appear across 32 beaches in the UK.

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A sand portrait of Walter Tull has been drawn in Scotland as he is remembered 100 years on. Credit: SWNS.

The large-scale portrait of of the fallen soldiers has drawn in the sand at each location and will be washed away as the tide comes in.

Although troops attempted to find his body after seeing him shot down in France, his body was never located.

Jackie Wylie, artistic director and chief executive of National Theatre of Scotland, said: “The first world war had a devastating impact on Scotland, with tens of thousands of young lives lost and many more forever altered.

“Our nation has an enduring and emotive connection to the sea and our beautiful coastline has seen many come and go throughout history.

“Pages of the Sea will create an artistic tribute, both personal and communal, through art, words, pictures and stories, acknowledging all those who left our shores during WW1.”

The son of an immigrant from Barbados, Walter Tull was born of mixed heritage at the turn of the 20th century, became an orphan at the age of eight, was the first outfield black footballer and the first black officer in the British Expeditionary Force during the first world war at a time when it was illegal for such a thing to happen.

His career started at Clapton FC, then Tottenham Hotspur where the higher profile left him open to horrendous racism culminating at Bristol City when he was withdrawn from the game, consigned to the reserves before moving instead to the quieter backwaters of Northampton Town where he was the star player before the start of the Great War.

Walter was one of the first to sign up enlisting with the Middlesex Regiment, part of a 'Footballers' Battalion.

His remarkable bravery and leadership skills meant he was promoted to Second Lieutenant the British Army's first-ever black officer to command white troops.

He was killed in action aged 29, 100 years ago.