Tom Hanks

Private Edward Heffron: Private with Easy Company whose wartime

Edward "Babe" Heffron was a soldier whose Second World War service as a member of the US Army's famed Easy Company was recounted in the book and TV miniseries Band of Brothers. Heffron and his comrades fought some of the war's fiercest battles. A paratrooper in Company E, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Heffron took part in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and helped liberate the Kaufering concentration camp in Landsberg. He received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Daniel Day-Lewis stars in the next (post-Obama) presidential drama

Apart from the mostly-forgotten musical Nine, the last most of us saw of Daniel Day-Lewis was him screaming "I. Drink. Your. Milkshake!" into Paul Dano's face. The Oscar-winner's next role is something of a departure from oil prospector Daniel Plainview – he's the star of Steven Spielberg's forthcoming Lincoln (out 25 January), a biopic of Abraham Lincoln's battle to end slavery.

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Major Dick Winters: Soldier whose wartime exploits were chronicled in

Major Dick Winters would have been just another decorated Second World War veteran had the historian Stephen Ambrose not met him at a reunion in 1988. Ambrose recounted the exploits of Winters and his men in the 1992 bestseller Band Of Brothers, which became a successful television mini-series produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, with the British actor Damian Lewis starring as Winters. He discounted his own heroism as being typical rather than unusual, but as commander of a company, and later a battalion, of paratroopers in the American 101st Airborne Division, known as the Screaming Eagles, Winters and his men were key players in some of the most crucial and heavily mythologised battles of the war: D-Day, Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge. Each time, Winters led from the front while making crucial tactical decisions that achieved their objectives against sometimes overwhelming odds. And when fighting ended in Europe they had just captured Berchtesgarden, Hitler's mountain retreat.