The fates of the brave Hopkins family were so very different...

William and other soldiers at training barracks
William and other soldiers at training barracks

Scarborough brothers Henry and William Hopkins both enlisted with their dad Alfred – known as the ‘father of the Scarborough Pals’.

But the fates of the three men were very different.

Henry Hopkins

Henry Hopkins

Alfred was 61 when he joined up – lying about his age to do so.

Driver Henry was attached to B Battery of the 101st Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery.

He was born in India in 1892, while his father was stationed there. He married Elizabeth Thompson in 1913 and at the outbreak of war the couple were living in St Helen’s Square, Scarborough.

No stranger to British Army life, Harry, as he was known, began his military career by enlisting into the Scarborough-based 5th Territorial Force Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment.

He and his father enlisted on March 17 1915 into the newly-formed C Battery of the 161st Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery – popularly known as the Scarborough Pals.

Father and son trained together in various parts of England before they left for France in December 1915.

Born in 1894, Harry’s brother William also served as a driver with the Scarborough Pals. All three men were in Amiens and later at the Somme in France.

In June 1916 Harry was injured and shipped back to Blighty – on recovery he 
returned to active duty in 
August 1916.

He was sent, this time, to Salonika and took part in operations at Doiran. He was killed by Bulgarian shellfire at the battle of Machukovo in September 1916.

He was buried at what is now called the Karasouli Military Cemetery, 25 miles from the Greek city of Thessalonika.

Commemorated on Scarborough War Memorial at Oliver’s Mount, Harry’s name is also on the roll of honour at St Mary’s Parish Church. It is one of 156 names of the men of the parish who lost their lives during World War One.

Harry’s younger brother William survived the war and returned to the town and family. He was the Band Master of Scarborough’s Army 
Cadet Band that led the Victory Parade in the town at the end of World War Two.

He carried a photograph of his wife Kate and son Eddie with him throughout the war – with the words ‘Till We Meet Again’ written across it.

His grandson Bernard, who lives in Scarborough, has his medals and the commemorative ‘strikers’ given to soldiers from the town by the then Scarborough Corporation. He also has Harry’s ‘death penny’ given to the families of those who lost loved ones during the conflict.