Sam Mendes’s epic new First World War film 1917 is based on the stories of his grandfather Alfred Mendes, who fought on the Western Front between 1916-18.

Born in Trinidad, Alfie Mendes signed up at the age of 19, trained as a signaller, fought at Passchendaele and was awarded the Military Medal for helping to rescue comrades left stranded in no man’s land.

Start your free trial to read the full story

Subscribe to Air Mail to access every article
and search our entire Arts Intel Report.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here.