KEIRA Knightley’s new film ‘The Aftermath’, has Radnorshire roots with the Brook family.

The film, which was premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival, is based on the novel of the same name published in 2013 and written by Rhidian Brook, grandson of Colonel Walter Brook who was tasked with helping to re-build government in a Germany devastated after the Second World War.

Walter grew up on a farm near Presteigne and was living with his family at Monmouth when they were uprooted andsent to Germany.

Walter had served in Egypt and Arabia during the First World War and had been friends with T.E. Lawrence of Arabia.

The family included son Kim, aged eight at the time, and now aged 80 living at Brecon.

In the book and the film Walter is called Lewis and Keira Knightly plays Rachel, who is based on Kim’s late mother, Anthea.

County Times:

Instructed to distance themselves from the Germans, they took the welcoming and generous Welsh spirit with them and opted to share a home with a German family rather than requisition one of their own.

Kim spent four-and-a-half years in Germany before returning to the UK to go to boarding school at the age of 13, while the whole family left Germany in 1951.

With Walter made Governor of the Pinneberg district near Hamburg, sharing with businessman Willhelm Ladiges and his family, who included daughter Heike.

Kim learnt German and played with Heike as children and they remained pen pals when Kim returned home. They did not see each other again until 15 years later by which time both were married and had children of their own, but they still remain in contact.

Kim’s eldest son Rhidian, now 54, met Keira Knightley and co-stars Alexander Skarsgård and Jason Clarke during filming on location in Germany and said they were intrigued to hear the real story as the film adaptation is very different with fictional affairs and assassination attempts worked in.

Rhidian said he had reinvented the story for his book as he wanted to celebrate those forgotten by the history books, the unsung peacemakers and the people who put things back together after war.