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TULL100: DELVILLE WOOD AND FOOTBALLERS BATTALION MEMORIAL

In part two of a week long tribute to Walter Tull, Kelvin Thomas and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink visit the Footballers Battalion Memorial

20 March 2018

Sunday March 25th is the 100th anniversary of the death of former Northampton Town player Walter Tull, who was killed on the battlefield in France.

Recently, Chairman Kelvin Thomas and manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink joined war historian Jon Cooksey, BBC Radio Northampton's Graham McKechnie and the BBC TV Football Focus team in heading out to Northern France to visit the field where Tull was killed and various other sites as the club paid tribute to Tull and his colleagues.

Coming up on Saturday March 24th, Northampton Borough Council are holding a Centenary Memorial Service at the Guildhall with a 1pm start. On Sunday March 25th, a Walter Tull Commemorative Service will be held at All Saints Church in Northampton at 5pm, lasting for just under an hour. All Northampton Town supporters are invited to attend Sunday's service wearing club colours.

The focus of the club’s own commemorations will be the Charlton Athletic game on Good Friday. At 2pm at the Walter Tull Memorial, chaplain Haydon Spenceley will conduct a short service while the big screen will play a pre-match tribute to Walter at around 2.50pm. There will also be a special edition of the match programme on Good Friday. We will also mark the occasion with a period of silence in memory of Walter just before kick off.

Before then, all this week, here on ntfc.co.uk and across our social media channels, we will be producing some very special content as we pay tribute to Walter, his legacy and his memory......

Our second stop in our trip to the region where Tull was killed was the Delville Wood cemetery where nearly 6,000 British and allied troops are buried. Just down the road from there, we visited the Footballers Battalion Memorial and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink laid a wreath at the memorial on behalf of the club.

When the First World War broke out, football initially continued, but this drew a lot of a controversy. While other sports stopped, football didn't and as a way of
responding to this criticism, the Footballers Battalion was formed, a Battallion of 1,000 footballers, who would volunteer to go and fight in the war.

Walter Tull was the 55th man to sign up for the Footballers Battalion, and this memorial stands in tribute to him and the other brave footballers who gave their lives in battle.


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