Band of brothers... historian uncovers story of ten siblings who went to war

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THE sacrifices of 10 Yorkshire brothers who all served in the First World War are being remembered today.

Local historian Simon Dinsdale has spent years researching Hull men who went to war and was staggered to discover the Tock family of Lockwood Street, Hull during 
his local history degree 

In September 1914, there were six Tock brothers serving in the Forces and by 1916 all 10 brothers were serving.

Two of them, Harold and Raymond, were killed, in 1915 and 1917, while serving in France. Another of the brothers lost part of an arm while in the Navy.

“Even by the standards of the day, the Tocks were an impressive family,” says Mr Dinsdale.

“William Tock, the father, was a 55-year-old gas stoker and the father of 13 children by the time of the First World War.”

In the summer of 1916, Mr Tock proudly told his local paper that they were “the largest family of fighters anywhere in the city or perhaps the country”.

Mr Dinsdale, of Bishop Burton, near Beverley, published a book on the service of Hull men in the war and was recently contacted by a descendent of Stanley Tock, of the 6th East Yorkshire Regiment who fought at Gallipoli and survived the war. Mr Tock’s son, David, is now 78 and lives near York.

His father enlisted in August 1914, the first month of the war, and in 1915 was wounded at Gallipoli. He was later promoted to lance corporal and was married in 1916. He died in Hull in 1961.

Mr Dinsdale has also carried out research on his great uncle, Private Thomas Grassam, who was 38 when he was killed in 
the German spring offensive of 1918.

“He was a printer with no military experience. His family didn’t know what had happened to him when he was killed.

“Even years later they didn’t know the circumstances of his death His body was not found. He had been wounded the year before he was killed.”

Tonight Mr Dinsdale intends to light a candle in memory 
of the men of Hull and his great uncle.

“It’s important for this generation and future generations to remember the enormous sacrifices of the Great War generation.”