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Army's first black officer to be honoured with coin

The first black officer in the British Army is to be honoured with a special coin being made by the Royal Mint. Walter Tull - from Folkestone - was promoted to an officer during the First World War despite a ban on black men being given such a high rank. He died in battle in 1918. The coins are part of the commemorations for the centenary of the war.

Special coin honours British Army's first black officer

The first black officer in the British Army will be remembered on a special set of coins released by the Royal Mint as part of commemorations of the centenary of the First World War.

Kent-born Walter Tull, who was promoted to officer rank during the war despite a ban on black officers being given the high status, died in battle in 1918.

Walter Tull died in battle in WW1 in 1918 Credit: PA

The coin, featuring a portrait of the officer with a backdrop of infantry soldiers going "over the top", will be one of a set of six £5 coins to remember the sacrifice made by so many during the war.

Each year until 2018 another set of six coins will be released, covering key battles and the stories of individual heroes of the time, with the final set focusing on the armistice and legacy of the war.

The war years exposed the very best and worst of human nature and our intention is for the collection to evolve over the coming years to reflect that duality, while exploring topics as diverse as propaganda and weaponry, as well as the great bravery of ordinary people who went on to perform extraordinary acts, as represented by figures like Walter Tull.

– Dr Kevin Clancy, director of the Royal Mint Museum


  1. Kevin Harrison

Lights out - the South East remembers The Great War

At 11 o clock last night, lights the length and breadth of the country were dimmed, or put out, to remember the dead of the Great War. It was a hundred years, exactly, to the hour, that Britain declared war on Germany. In Folkestone, where earlier in the day, Prince Harry had unveiled a fourteen metre high arch on the town's clifftop to mark the anniversary, thousands gathered to pay their respects. For so many fighting men, Folkestone was their last glimpse of home as they departed to fight for King and country. At last night's ceremony, Kevin Harrison.

Hampshire MP helping to co-ordinate WW1 anniversary events

Culture Secretary Maria Miller, who is the MP for Basingstoke, has asked Hugh Robertson MP, a former Army officer, and Andrew Murrison, the Prime Minister's special representative, to form the ministerial team focusing on the programme

Mr Robertson also commanded The Household Cavalry on the 1993 Queen's Birthday Parade and the State Opening of Parliament. A Government source said: "We are keen to ensure that this is a centenary programme that the country can come together on.


Plans unveiled for World War 1 centenary

It is understood the Government is in talks with various churches, faiths and other organisations to see if the vigil could be replicated around the country.

Organisers hope churches, town halls and other community buildings will mirror proceedings at the Abbey and that thousands of candles will be blown out simultaneously across the country at 11pm.

They also want the day to be inclusive, with all generations and communities getting involved.

It is believed that a wide range of groups will be invited to the Westminster vigil including the Brownies, Scouts, Guides and representatives from all services of the British military.