Kristin Scott Thomas said she is proud to be able to pass on the story of her grandfather’s World War II bravery to her own children, having learned the truth years after his death.
The English Patient star reveals in Channel 4 series My Grandparents’ War that though she adored her grandfather Lt Cdr William Scott Thomas, she never really spoke to him about the war before his death in 1983.
Scott Thomas, 59, said: “For some reason, I could never imagine anybody remotely related to me could do such extraordinary things.
“My siblings and me have grown up with this sort of mystery of our own grandfather. Because my father died when I was so young, there wasn’t anyone to tell us. There was a missing link. Now I have something to give my children, which is really quite precious.”
The actress has three children - Hannah born in 1988, Joseph born in 1991 and George born in 2000.
In the latest episode of the documentary show the Four Weddings And A Funeral star is moved to tears as she learns how her grandfather captained destroyer ship HMS Impulsive, protecting Allies’ Arctic convoys delivering supplies to Russia during World War II.
His ship was one of the first at Dunkirk in 1940, rescuing 2,919 soldiers, and he also delivered soldiers to Normandy for D-Day in 1944.
Scott Thomas’s father Simon - who flew planes for the Royal Navy - was tragically killed in a training accent when she was just six.
Speaking about growing up in a miltary family she said: “If we heard planes, we’d run out into the garden to have a look and see whether we thought it might be Daddy. To be waiting for someone to come home - I know what that’s like. It’s horrible.
“We understood the costs of serving in the Armed Forces.
“The idea of military duty, it’s just part of life. We experienced that in its most dramatic form as children, first-hand. I can tell you, it affects everything for ever.”
My Grandparents’ War, which also features Helena Bonham Carter, Mark Rylance and Carey Mulligan, airs on Wednesdays at 9pm on Channel 4.