A CENTURY after a York’s Lord Mayor Henry Rhodes Brown thanked the patriotic family which sent ten sons to fight in the First World War, his successor has honoured one of their descendants.
The Calpin brothers of Walmgate, from 39-year-old John to 18-year-old David, all served in either the Army of the Navy during the conflict, and their story saw the men’s parents Paddy and Sal honoured for their family’s service.
King George V is said to have publicly thanked the family, and the then Lord Mayor Henry Rhodes Brown invited them to the Mansion House and civic reception.
In his letter Henry Rhodes Brown wrote: “It will be hard for anyone in the Empire to equal your record of ten sons all serving their country.
“Our sincere thanks for their noble service, and I trust in their return to their native country.”
Now, 100 years later, the current Lord Mayor, Councillor Ian Gillies has welcomed the descendants of the ninth brother Ernest to the Mansion House.
Grandson Michael Calpin and his wife Val met the Lord Mayor yesterday.
Cllr Gillies said: “This is a poignant time for people across the city and the country as we commemorate those who sacrificed so much.
“It is important that we remember the bravery of the public, which the Calpin brothers are an example of, and I enjoyed welcoming Michael Calpin to the Mansion House.”
It is thought that seven of the ten brothers survived the war while Michael’s grandfather Ernest, who served on HMS Dreadnought, went on to fight in the Second World War.
The eldest brother John was gassed in the trenches and came back home to York, before he died in 1916, and the youngest David, just 18 when war was declared, survived the sinking of the HMS Ariadne in 1917 and made it back to York to work in Rowntrees, but died not long after the war ended.
After The Press reported on the Calpins’ remarkable story long lost relatives who know the family story got in touch with Mick and Val. Relatives from Spain and even Australia spotted the story online, and later this year Mick is set to be reunited with cousins he has not seen for years.