A strange thing happened this week whilst researching for my upcoming WW1 book, I came across a good news story! In a war that saw much of an entire generation of young men lost forever, the story of the Calpin brothers is even more amazing as not just one or two joined up but 10 and miraculously they all returned home at the war’s end.
1914 saw the famous poster of Lord Kitchener plastered over the entire country urging young men to join-up and the men of the Calpin family in York like so many others were obliged to fight for God, King and Country.
The fact that ten of them joined up seems to make them the biggest Band of Brothers yet known and their dedication earned them a public thanks and a congratulations from King George V and Prime Minster Asquith. They set an example for their city and country and they were used as part of the massive recruitment drive.Aged between 18 and 37, the brothers fought in both the Royal Navy and the Army in WW1. Their parents, a lowly builders labourer and a housewife received a letter from Buckingham Palace and told that:
‘His Majesty had heard the news ‘with the deepest gratification’. He offered the new recruits ‘best wishes for success, health and happiness in their noble career’.