Band of 10 brothers who joined war effort

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THE grandson of a war hero has recalled the amazing story of how 10 of his ancestors signed up to fight in the First World War.

Michael Calpin, 63, treasures a letter that his family received a century ago from the Lord Mayor of York, who wrote to his family, thanking them for their patriotic service to the country.

Following the outbreak of war, Paddy and Sal Calpin – Irish immigrants who lived in the Walmgate area – watched as all 10 of their sons signed up to fight in the hostilities.

From 39-year-old John to 18-year-old David, they all joined the Army or the Navy, prompting the letter from the Lord Mayor who also invited them and their only daughter, Anna, to visit him at the Mansion House.

Mr Calpin, who lives near Thirsk, said: “I am very proud to have this. It’s not something that will ever happen again, is it? Hopefully there will never be another world war, and there certainly won’t be 10 brothers fighting together.”

The then Lord Mayor of York, Henry Rhodes, said in the letter: “It will be hard for anyone in the Empire to equal your record of 10 sons all serving their country.

“Our sincere thanks for their noble service, and I trust in their return to their native country.”

Mr Calpin knew his own grandfather, Ernest, who served on HMS Dreadnought and went on to fight in the Second World War. His father, Owen, believed seven of the men served and returned home safely.

However, the eldest, John, was gassed in the trenches in France and died in 1916.

The youngest, David, is understood to have suffered exposure when his ship was sunk by a German U-boat in 1917. He returned to work at Rowntrees but died not long after the war ended.