Coins honour 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.

The commemorative coin featuring Walter Tull, the first black officer in Britain's armed forces
The commemorative coin featuring Walter Tull, the first black officer in Britain's armed forces

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.

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.

Other coins in the first set, released as part of a five-year programme of remembrance, include those depicting the first troops leaving for France, those working on the Home Front, a celebration of the Royal Navy, the role of propaganda during the war and the impact of war on technological developments.

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.

Shane Bissett, the Royal Mint's director of commemorative coin, medals and bullion, said the coins will capture "the emotive journey from outbreak to armistice".

Dr Kevin Clancy, director of the Royal Mint Museum, said: " 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."

Each set comes with information explaining the theme, design and artist behind the coins.