1. ITV Report

The 'Lucky Lords': The remarkable story of eight brothers who survived The Great War

ITV News Presenter Mark Austin reports:

A man whose father was one of eight brothers that went to Europe during the First World War has described the remarkable "Lord luck" that saw all of them return alive.

The Lord family's story is very different from the many tales of loss and desperation that followed Britain's decision to declare war on Germany 100 years ago.

The Lord brothers: William (left), Arthur (top left), Gilbert (top centre), Ted (top right), Jan's father Frank (right), Jim (bottom left), Sidney (centre), Len (bottom right).

Jan Lord, 92, told ITV News' Mark Austin that seven of the eight that travelled out saw active service, with his own father, Frank, being just yards away from German trenches on a number of occasions.

At times the fortune that carried his family through is staggering. Once, Frank stood next to a comrade in the trenches as he was shot and blinded.

"Dad could so easily have received that shot," Jan says.

Another time, Sidney - the eldest of the brothers, who served in the Royal Navy Air Service - was "sent up in a balloon to see where the enemy was".

Jan says his uncle's "one desire" on being sent up in the air was "to be pulled back down again".

He used to shout: 'For goodness sake, get me down! Get me down!'

But they never managed to shoot his balloon, which is a bit odd.

– Jan Lord

The youngest of the Lord boys, Ted, signed up for service aged just 14 - borrowing an older brother's birth certificate to trick military recruiters.

He became incorporated in the regimental band after making it to the front.

Ted Lord was just 14 when he signed up to join his brothers.

The incredible family received a special letter from the King for their efforts in his name, but nevertheless Jan says they rarely spoke about what they went through.

"They might have felt that they were so damn lucky that they would just keep quiet about it," he says.

However, some insight into the horrors his father encountered are available in his father's war diary, which he retains to this day.

Frank Lord's diary tells of being 40 yards from the German trenches.

More on this story