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Calls for permanent memorial for 10 brothers who fought in WWI

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The descendants of 10 siblings dubbed the forgotten brothers who fought in the First World War have asked for a permanent memorial amid fears their place in history will fade into obscurity.

The incredible story of how nine of the 10 Calpin brothers who fought in the First World War survived, has emerged on the eve of the centenary of the Armistice.

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.

The incredible story of how 10 brothers were sent to the First World War and nine returned has emerged on the eve of the centenary of the Armistice (Picture: SWNS)

With just one brother lost, the family mirrored the fatality rate among British soldiers at the time which was just over one in ten (11%).

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The familys extraordinary contribution to the war effort earned public thanks and congratulation from King George V, the prime minister of the day.

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However the men, many of whom were later buried in unmarked graves, have no permanent memorial and their descendants are now calling for them to be honoured in their hometown.

The brothers, and their ages at the outbreak of war, 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.

Michael Caplin's grandad, Ernest Caplin, was one of ten brothers who fought for their country, Michael holding a family poster which is over 100 years old. See SWNS story SWLEbrothers; The astonishing story of 10 brothers who went to fight in WW1 -- and NINE survived. 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 unique example earned public thanks and congratulation from King George V, the prime minister of the day, and the lord mayor of their home city of York. All their names were trumpeted in a recruiting drive at the time and even broadcast in local cinemas. Yet, the full extent of their selfless patriotism has still, a century on, yet to be permanently marked. Michael Caplin's grandad, Ernest Caplin, was one of ten brothers who fought for their country. Nine of the brother came home but James Caplin died in 1916. Michael is now hoping for the band of brothers to be commemorated in his home town of York in North Yorkshire.

Michael Caplin, grandson of able seaman and ninth brother Ernest Calpin, who served on HMS Dreadnought is calling for a permanent memorial to honour the brothers sacrifice (Picture: SWNS)

The familys only fatality was the eldest, John, 39, 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 that any of the mens service is commemorated.

Descendant Michael Calpin, 68, grandson of able seaman and ninth brother Ernest Calpin, who served on HMS Dreadnought said: Its the same old story. In 2014 their story was publicised but its just forgotten again like it was 100 years ago.

John was gassed in France in 1916 and was brought back to York but died a few weeks later. All the other brothers survived the war.

*COLLECT* John Caplin, 39, national reserve - August 1914. See SWNS story SWLEbrothers; The astonishing story of 10 brothers who went to fight in WW1 -- and NINE survived. 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 unique example earned public thanks and congratulation from King George V, the prime minister of the day, and the lord mayor of their home city of York. All their names were trumpeted in a recruiting drive at the time and even broadcast in local cinemas. Yet, the full extent of their selfless patriotism has still, a century on, yet to be permanently marked. Michael Caplin's grandad, Ernest Caplin, was one of ten brothers who fought for their country. Nine of the brother came home but James Caplin died in 1916. Michael is now hoping for the band of brothers to be commemorated in his home town of York in North Yorkshire.

John Caplin, who was gassed in the trenches in France, was the familys only fatality (Picture: SWNS)

He is the only one to have any physical presence that proves any of the brothers existed really because he was given a war commissioned grave which meant the army paid for his headstone.

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The rest were all buried in paupers graves which are unmarked because they were a poor family living in the slums of York.

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I think thats why they have never been recognised because only one of them died during wartime.

Today, as Britain prepares to honour all those who served in the First World War, few have ever heard of them, dubbed the forgotten brothers by relatives.

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

A newspaper article, from September 1914, detailing King George V letter that Mr and Mrs Calpin received thanking their sons for their service.See SWNS story SWLEbrothers; The astonishing story of 10 brothers who went to fight in WW1 -- and NINE survived. 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 unique example earned public thanks and congratulation from King George V, the prime minister of the day, and the lord mayor of their home city of York. All their names were trumpeted in a recruiting drive at the time and even broadcast in local cinemas. Yet, the full extent of their selfless patriotism has still, a century on, yet to be permanently marked. Michael Caplin's grandad, Ernest Caplin, was one of ten brothers who fought for their country. Nine of the brother came home but James Caplin died in 1916. Michael is now hoping for the band of brothers to be commemorated in his home town of York in North Yorkshire.

A newspaper article, from September 1914, detailing King George V letter that Mr and Mrs Calpin received thanking their sons for their service (Picture: SWNS)

*COLLECT* Mr and Mrs Caplin (Back) with daughter Anna - August 1914. See SWNS story SWLEbrothers; The astonishing story of 10 brothers who went to fight in WW1 -- and NINE survived. 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 unique example earned public thanks and congratulation from King George V, the prime minister of the day, and the lord mayor of their home city of York. All their names were trumpeted in a recruiting drive at the time and even broadcast in local cinemas. Yet, the full extent of their selfless patriotism has still, a century on, yet to be permanently marked. Michael Caplin's grandad, Ernest Caplin, was one of ten brothers who fought for their country. Nine of the brother came home but James Caplin died in 1916. Michael is now hoping for the band of brothers to be commemorated in his home town of York in North Yorkshire.

Mr and Mrs Caplin (Back) with daughter Anna originally came to England from County Mayo, Ireland (Picture: SWNS.com)

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.

Driven out by the 19th-century potato famine, the Calpins originally came to England from County Mayo, Ireland.

Parents Paddy and Sal Calpin, an Irish immigrant and his wife from the Walmgate slums in York, watched as their sons signed up to fight in the approaching war.

When the Lord Mayor of York Henry Rhodes Brown heard of the familys remarkable sacrifice he wrote to Paddy and Sal, offering his hearty congratulations.

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