The Peaky Blinders. A series by the BBC, about the most fearsome gang in Birmingham. However, the three brothers of the Peaky Blinders (John, Arthur & Thomas), experienced a gruesome war before stepping into business. The First World War. All three fought for their country, and witnessed gruesome scenes in France. This is their story. The story of three men in war. This is part I: John Shelby. John just got married, and is 18 years old in 1914. But no honeymoon for John. John gets shipped off to France with his brothers. And this is what happened.