In life, he was the maverick surgeon best known for saving the lives of the 649 Second World War “guinea pigs”, pioneering plastic surgery in his own inimitable fashion and making history along the way.

Now, seven decades after he transformed the lives of his RAF “boys”, the extraordinary Sir Archibald McIndoe is to finally be honoured on the big screen, with Richard E Grant lined up to play him for a new generation.

Sir Archibald’s unique contribution to the war effort, and medical history, is to be dramatised for cinema in a project due to begin filming in February.

His daughter, who recalls her smoking, drinking, rule-breaking late father as enjoying life to the full, said he would have been pleased to know he would be immortalised on film.

The family said they had been informed about various attempts to make films over the years, which have not come to fruition.

This version, however, has a script, director and lead actors lined up, and is this week being offered for sale around the world at the Cannes Film Festival.