Remembrance

Relatives Call For Memorial To 'Forgotten' Band Of 10 Brothers

The Calpins are thought to be the biggest group of British siblings to have fought in the First World War.

The 10 Calpin brothers fought in the First World War with just one sibling lost (Picture: SWNS).

The grandson of one of a group of 10 brothers who were famed for their service in the First World War is calling for a memorial in their hometown.

The Calpins are thought to be the biggest band of brothers to have fought in the conflict, which left more than 700,000 British soldiers dead between 1914 and 1918.

Their extraordinary contribution to the war effort earned public thanks and a message of congratulations from King George V.

The Calpins were also trumpeted in recruiting drives at the time and featured in broadcasts in local cinemas in their home city of York.

 

Royal thanks for the Caplin brothers WW1 service
The Calpins contribution to the war effort earned public thanks from King George V (Picture: SWNS).

The brothers were reservist John (37), soldier Patrick (36), infantryman James (33), infantryman William (32), infantryman Martin (29), infantryman Thomas (27), infantryman Arthur (24), gunner Henry (22), sailor Ernest (21) and sailor David (18).

The family's only fatality was the eldest, John, who was gassed in the trenches in France and died in 1916 after being transferred back to a UK hospital.

His grave, in a remote area of a cemetery in York, is the only place where any of the men's service is commemorated.

John Calpin was the only brother of 10 who served in the First World War to die
John Calpin was the only brother of 10 who served in the First World War to die (Picture: SWNS).

The grandson of Ernest Calpin, 68-year-old Michael, is calling for a permanent memorial to be erected, amid fears that their place in history will fade into obscurity.

“Their achievement has gone unrecognised, it would just be nice to have a civic-type plaque in honour of the sacrifice they made.

“When they came back from the war they were just completely forgotten.

"For 10 brothers to actually sign up is a unique thing which will never happen again.”

Ernest Calpin's Grandson Michael pays tribute at his headstone in York 081118 Credit SWNS
Grandson Michael wants York to honour the 10 Caplin brothers who fought during the First World War (Picture: SWNS).

It is thought the rest of the men, after returning to poverty after the war, were buried in unmarked graves because the family could not afford the expense of headstones.

As Britain prepares to honour those who served in the First World War, the relatives of the Caplins are hoping their hometown of York will do more to highlight the astonishing story of the “forgotten brothers”.