Photos Colour and Colourised Photos of WW2 & earlier conflicts

German soldiers with French West African POWs (France, 1940)
Oskar Marcus Bider (born July 12, 1891 in Langenbruck , † July 7, 1919 in Dübendorf ) was a aviation pioneer .


Swiss aviation pioneer
Oskar Bider has set milestones in the history of Swiss aviation. When the young cavalryman Oskar Bider heard of the tragic end of the Peruvian Geo Chavez, who was rescued from the rubble of his flying apparatus after successfully crossing the 2000 m high Simplon Pass in Domodossola and then died, Bider decided to become an aviator. However, he kept this bold plan to himself.
He spent a year on a farm in Argentina, from where he wrote to a friend back home: "If I cannot become a pilot, Argentina must become my second home".
He came back and became a pilot, and the most important of his time.
When the First World War broke out in the summer of 1914 , Oskar Bider and the small group of trained Swiss pilots were called up with their aircraft near Bern and formed the newly created air force . He was named chief pilot. In 1917, Bider promoted Max Cartier to lieutenant in the flying group.
The picture shows Oskar Bider in stood in front of his NIEUPORT 23 C-1
The Nieuport 17 was first built in 1916 and was one of the most flown fighters of the First World War. In June 1917, the Swiss Air Force was able to acquire five of these powerful combat aircraft to strengthen their fleet. The 23 C-1 aircraft built by SA Etablissement Nieuport Issy-les-Moulinaux (Seine) were numbered 601-605.
This image was colourised for Isidor von Arx - NIEUPORT MEMORIAL FLYERS
"Our goal is to replicate and fly three Nieuport 23 C-1 fighter planes from 1917 true to the original"
Colour by RJM
10 May 1940
Pilots of No. 85 Squadron RAF pause for a photograph between sorties at Lille-Seclin, at 9am on the first day of the German invasion of France.


They had been intercepting German formations since 4.15am and were to continue to do so until 9pm that evening, claiming a total of seventeen enemy aircraft destroyed for the loss of four Hawker Hurricanes.
Back row l-r: *F/Lt James R M Boothby, F/O Thomas G Pace (KIA 3/12/41), S/Ldr John W “Doggie” Oliver, P/O John H Ashton, *P/O John W Lecky (Died in RTA 18/5/40), F/O Stanley P Stephenson, Sgt. Geoffrey “Sammy” Allard (KIFA 13/3/41), Sgt Leonard A Crozier (KIFA 14/10/44), Warrant Officer Newton. Front l-r: F/O Kenneth H Blair, Sgt John M Little (KIA 19/5/40)
*1940-05-18 40308 P/O LECKY, John W Pilot 85 sqn FR Killed in a motor accident returning to his unit after a spell of leave; F/Lt J.R.M. Boothby injured in same accident.
(Photo source - © IWM C 1514)
Hensser H (Mr)
Royal Air Force official photographer
Colour by Doug
In the night of May 10, 1940, German troops invaded the Netherlands.


Hundreds of German transport aircraft fly with airborne units towards the Randstad for a surprise attack. A number of planes are shot down on their flight.
A German Junker Ju 52/3 lands on the beach south of Kijkduin on the first day of combat. Dutch soldiers proudly pose next to this crashed transport plane
(Collection Netherlands Institute for Military History)
In the morning haze, German fallschirmjäger attack over open ground under cover of a 5-cm leGrW 36 mortar during the invasion of the Netherlands.
A scene from a German propaganda movie from 1942 called “Sprung in den Feind” (Jumping the enemy). Reenacted by actual soldiers, the movie portraits the attack on the Moerdijk bridges by the German Fallschirmjäger in May 1940.


Airborne operations played a crucial role in the invasion of the Netherlands.
Under the field command of General-leutnant Student, about 3,500 paratroopers from Student’s 7. Flieger-Division were to parachute in two groups into the heart of Vesting Holland (near The Hague and Rotterdam), seize bridges and airfields, and if possible, capture the Dutch leadership including the Royal family. They were to be closely followed by 12,000 men from the 22. (Luftlande) Infanterie-Division who were to be air transported as reinforcements as soon as the airfields were secured.
The whole operation would have at its disposal 450 Ju 52 transport planes, 250 fighters, and about 170 bombers, including a Stuka group.
The Northern Group was tasked with the capture of three vital airfields but the Dutch had anticipated such a move and had reinforced the airfield defenses with AA, machine guns, and a mobile force of armoured cars. By the evening of the first day (May 10) the Dutch had managed to re-capture all three airfields and seriously disrupt German reinforcement efforts. Dispersed by Dutch AA, the Ju 52s of the Northern Group landed in complete confusion. Many were shot down attempting to put down on unsecured airfields; others tried, with mixed results, to land on the beach, fields, and even on the road to Rotterdam.
As a result, only 3,800 men had landed, a third of the planned figure. Of these, 2,000 had become casualties of which more than 1,500 had been captured. The remainder were dispersed in more than a dozen places around The Hague.
In the Southern Group, the paratroopers landed as planned but the Dutch defenders reacted quickly and the battle for control of the bridges leading to the heart of Rotterdam soon began. It would last two days during which the Dutch bombed the bridges from land, air, and the river with torpedo boat TM-51 and gunboat Z-5 pounding the fallschirmjäger at point-blank range.
By the end of the campaign, German losses amounted to (Northern sector out of 3,800 men) 1,100 KIA/WIA and 1,600 POW of which only 400 were liberated with the remainder having been sent to Britain. On the Southern sector, of a total of around 7,100 men: 1,200 casualties of which 250 were dead.
The Luftwaffe lost 330 aircraft of the 1,000 engaged with the highest price being paid by the slow Ju 52s with 220 out of 430 being lost. More than 50% of their strength.
Original: Image Bank WW2 - NIOD
May 10, 1940
Soldiers of the 22nd Luftlande-Division board a Ju-52 prior to the German invasion of the Netherlands (Operation Fall Gelb), Münster.


The majority of the 525 Luftwaffe planes that were damaged or destroyed during the May War, over and in Holland, were Ju-52. Estimates say that between 275 and 350 of these planes were destroyed or heavily damaged and another batch damaged within repair range.
The majority had not been shot down by AAA or opposing air-planes, but suffered from emergency landings, bombing raids on conquered AFB's, artillery-shelling, strafing or demolition by Dutch infantry. Also, especially on AFB Valkenburg, about 35 Ju-52 had just suffered bad damages to the undercarriages, sometimes followed by additional damage from skidding after the gear had given in. That had been caused by the swampy top-soil at Valkenburg, causing the heavy Ju-52's to sink away.
The massive loss of transport planes was the only loss that was truly felt by the Germans. They had had about 800 Ju-52 planes when the war actually broke out in 1939 and by June 1940 only a quarter was still more or less operation. By the time - exactly one year later - that the operation in Crete was on and the good old Ju was in full focus again, the losses suffered in the two years before had barely been compensated. Crete yet again demanded a high toll of these slow but essential airplanes. Again a good year later the Ju-52 had a vital role in the air-bridge to Stalingrad. The previous losses in the war were by then the most hard felt. The transport fleet had not been expanded - mainly due to all the loses during the campaigns in Norway, Holland, Belgium and Crete - but the German controlled part of the world was larger than ever.
The second - possibly heaviest - loss the German Luftwaffe suffered was the number of permanently lost flying personnel. Many extensively trained pilots of the first Luftwaffe hour had been killed or imprisoned during the War over Holland and would not return. The Luftwaffe paid a terrible price for the huge aircraft losses that often took entire crews down in flames. But at least as painful was the Dutch transportation of about 1,350 POW's to the UK. Most of these men had been air-landing troops and Luftwaffe flying personnel. And since the air flying schools had been fully mobilised in the transport fleet in particular, many veteran instructors had been lost to the German cause. It was at least a matter that outraged Goering so much that he had ordered a full investigation on the Dutch transport of the 14th, with the explicit instruction on his inquiry team to hold the responsible Dutch officers accountable. He would be disappointed in the end-result and after all, in no instance a better outcome would have solved the matter for him anyway.
Relatively it had been the Luftwaffe paying quite a paramount price for the conquest of Holland. They had lost a lot more planes than anticipated against a country with a Micky Mouse airforce and a weak army, they had lost precious personnel and moreover suffered a considerable loss amongst the well trained airborne and air-landing troops. Much of that loss was indirectly caused by their own overestimation of the shock and awe element of the massive air-landing. The Germans had clearly neglected the high risk profile of their operation.
Photosource: NachHolland © GerardGroeneveld, Author "NachHolland"
10 May, 1940. The first day of the Second World War in the Netherlands.


Due to the sudden German invasion of the Netherlands the Dutch were in disbelieve. In Amsterdam the Central Station was no longer accessible to the public from very early on. Anyone who still had to be at Central Station had to be able to identify himself.
Spitfire Mk VIIIs and personnel of No. 136 Squadron RAF lined up on a recently laid PSP airstrip on Brown's West Island, Cocos Islands, in the Indian Ocean.


The nearest aircraft is 'HM-B', MT567, belonging to Flt. Sgt. R. W. Cross, who is most likely seen standing the nose of the aircraft. No. 136 Squadron RAF was originally a short-lived RAF unit that saw no action in WWI, but upon reformation became the highest scoring unit in South East Asia Command during WWII. Shortly after the war the squadron was disbanded.
A Home Guard section on patrol along the shores of Loch Stack in the Highlands of Scotland, 14 February 1941


Photo: IWM
Refreshments while on patrol in a No. 2 Squadron Hudson. In flight from RNZAF Station Nelson. Ca. November 1942, New Zealand


No 2 (GR) Squadron became Operational from the 1st of January 1941, flying Vickers Vincents, and later Lockheed Hudsons and Airspeed Oxfords from this station

Today the former RNZAF Station remains open as Nelson Airport, and is the base of Air Nelson (Air New Zealand) and Origin Pacific airlines. Much of the RNZAF buildings and hangars are still in use today by commercial aviation ventures.

Credit: RNZAF Official Release
RNZAF truck towing a Kittyhawk. Presumed to be Espiritu Santo. Truck MT1933, is a Canadian military pattern Chevrolet No.12 cab.

Fighter pilot, Fyodor Shikunov near his plane P-39 " Airacobra"


On March 15, 1945, captain Shikunov was shot down and killed in an air battle in the area оf the city of Frida.

Mother's Day 2021
A mother hugs her son before he is shipped off to fight in World War 2 at Rotorua Railway Station in New Zealand.
It is unknown if they ever hugged again.

Original caption - "All the sorrow in the world finds expression in the mother's last embrace."
Taken by John Dobree Pascoe in Rotorua on 11th of January 1944.

Over 11,000 Kiwi mothers would never see their son return from fighting in WWII.

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers, guardians and foster parents out there.

Alexander Turnbull Library photo

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