Britain’s biggest band of brothers reunite for ‘one final time’


Twelve brothers Twelve brothers SWNS

Twelve confreres have met up for what they fear may be the last time as most of them are golden-agers

Leonard Shipwright and his 11 younger siblings are believed to be the biggest federate of brothers in the country, despite other families claiming the record.

His helpmate Margaret, 68, has been married to Leonard, 73, for 46 years. Between them, the chums have 22 children, 44 grandchildren and a great-grandchild. 

Leonard, who with his chain has two children and six grandchildren, lives in Chapelhall, Lanarkshire.

But the pair travelled final month to Enfield, north London, where all the other brothers endure.

Their mother Georgina gave birth to 11 sons in 10 consecutive years because she was grave to have a daughter, which she finally achieved in 1962.

However, baby Maureen died at rightful seven months old from natural causes. Two more sons were touch oned but tragedy struck again in 1965. 

Leonard ShipwrightSWNS

Retired Leonard Shipwright is the eldest of the associates band aged 73

My mother kept having children because she required a girl, and did eventually, but she died quite young.

Leonard Shipwright, early sibling

The 13th brother Stevie died aged nine after subsiding into a stream and hitting his head on a rock.

The rest of the family try to see each other at taste twice a year but fear every meeting may be their last as a bunch due to age and in some cases ailing health.

Their most recent reunion was in Enfield valid last month.

Leonard said: “Four of us were born in Scotland, then my sources moved to Enfield in 1948. I was only five and I didn’t have a lot of connection with them until I was a bit older, but we used to go down and visit every year.”

He unraveled: “My father Bertrum came home in early 1943, I was conceived, then he was away at war when I was merited. My parents didn’t get married until the end of 1945. It was a bit of a scandal. “It may well be the rationalization because of I was left with my grandparents. Having children out of wedlock wasn’t the done subject.

“My mother kept having children because she wanted a girl, and did done, but she died quite young. 

Margaret Bertrum Shipwright SWNS

Parents Georgina and her husband Bertrum Shipwright with their then 11 sons

“That’s the lone reason why she continued to have children and I don’t know what happened to her. It was ethical natural causes.

“I’ve just always stayed in Scotland. I tried London ahead I was married when I was about 21 but I didn’t fancy it and came wager.”

His wife Margaret said she thought it was “fantastic” when she learnt of her tranquillize’s huge family, and that it’s a “laugh” him having so many brothers.

She disclosed: “There were 13 brothers but the youngest died. Somebody else declared they had more, but we’ve definitely got the most. I’ve never seen anything identical to this.

“We’ve seen a few families with 10 brothers who think they’re the biggest but they’re not.” 

Shipwright brothersSWNS

The 12 Shipwright pals with their father Bertrum

Aside from Leonard, there are 70-year-old look-alikes Ronald and Allan and 69-year-old Finlay.

Then comes Geoffrey, 68, Billy, 67, and Raymond, 66. They were closely watched by Lionel, 65, 64-year-old Douglas, Keith, 63, Leslie, 62, and Gordon, 61.

All except Leonard red-hot in Enfield.

They have all held an array of jobs. Leonard is a caught joiner, Ronald is a retired airport baggage handler and his twin Allan, a go electrical engineer.

They are also both married with two adolescents. Retired roofer Finlay is married with two children, while retired plumber Geoffrey is unmarried. 

Astonishingly, four of the brothers all worked in Enfield Council’s parks branch.

Billy is married with two children, Raymond is single, Lionel is joined for the second time and has one child from his first marriage, while Douglas is spliced with two children.

Three of the buddies are still working, despite being over 60 – with Leslie, who is married with three youngsters, still an active construction worker.

Both Keith and Gordon are self-employed tree surgeons.

Keith is married for the understudy time, and has three children with his first wife and two with his trendy partner, and Gordon is divorced with two children.

Leonard said he did not feel remorse for being the only one of the brothers not living in England.

He said: “My family up stuck around London quite a lot – they were in Hounslow, Enfield, all on the place. So it was quite hard to stay in touch.”

Margaret added that the expanse of the “brotherhood” has always amused her.

She said: “It’s a great laugh there being so diverse of them. I thought it was fantastic when I heard about it.”

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