Photos Colour and Colourised Photos of WW2 & earlier conflicts

Pfc. Thomas W. Kilgore, of Macon Georgia, 121st Infantry (Georgia National Guard) near Hürtgen on December 7, 1944.


This photo of Macon’s Thomas Kilgore was used in numerous publications in 1944 because it symbolized the loneliness and fatigue of war. Kilgore returned to Georgia and worked as an electrician in the maintenance department for the Bibb County Board of Education. He never married and lived in the same house where he grew up in the Peach Orchard neighborhood of south Macon. Thomas passed away on February 25, 1982 at the age of 68.
A German soldier poses next to a French Hotchkiss H39 from 1ère Section, 25ème Battalion de Char de Combat, 1ère Division Cuirassée, in Avesnes-sur-Helpe, France. May, 1940.


81 years ago today, on the night of May 16 the panzers of the 2nd Battalion of Pz.Rgt.25, spearheading Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division, reached the small town of Avesnes-sur-Helpe where they clashed with French units including what remained of the Hotchkiss H-39 tanks from the 25ème Battalion de Char de Combat.
During the night the Germans pressed the attack losing several panzers in the process. As the hours passed the fighting grew heavier. Finally, around 4 p.m. on May 17 Rommel sent several PzKpfw IVs from the west against the remaining French light tanks, thus crushing the last pockets of resistance. Only a handful of French tanks managed to escape south. The main road west, towards Landrecies, was now littered with destroyed tanks, vehicles, artillery pieces, dead soldiers, and horses. The dead, men and beast, were quickly removed and the tanks pushed aside. The race to the Channel had to continue.
During the following days, as the main battle moved west, German infantry and rear echelon units passed through Avesnes with many a soldier taking the opportunity for a quick photo next to the now dusty French tanks.
The spot today in comments, the tank was next to the hedgerow, a few meters from the house.
Original’s source unknown
Fusilier Francis Arthur Jefferson of 'C' Company, 2nd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers in front of a German Sturmgeschutz 40 Ausf. G (StuG III Ausf. G) assault gun of Sturmgeschütz Brigade 242, which he knocked out with a P.I.A.T Anti Tank weapon. May 1944.


He was just 22 years old when he found himself fighting at Cassino Italy with the 2nd Bn The Lancashire Fusiliers.
On 16 May 1944, during an attack on the Gustav Line, Monte Cassino, Italy, the leading company of Fusilier Jefferson's battalion had to dig in without protection.
The enemy counter-attacked opening fire at short range, and Fusilier Jefferson, on his own initiative, seized a P.I.A.T. gun and, running forward under a hail of bullets, fired on the leading tank. It burst into flames and all the crew were killed.
The Fusilier then reloaded and went towards the second tank which withdrew before he could get within range. By this time allied tanks had arrived and the enemy counter-attack was smashed.
Promoted Lance Corporal on 17 May 1944.
Received a shrapnel wound to his shoulder on 21 June 1944. Evacuated to England by air, arriving on 26 August 1944 and was admitted to the military hospital at Catterick, Yorkshire.
Francis (always known as Frank to his mates) went on to be promoted L/Cpl, and was awarded the highest Military Honour of The Victoria Cross.
His award was announced in the London Gazette on the 13th July 1944.
Frank was born in Ulverston on the 18th August 1921, and he died in Bolton on the 4th September 1982.
(Information by courtesy of
(Photo source - © IWM NA 15430)
Sgt. Menzies No. 2 - Army Film & Photographic Unit
(Colourised by Royston Leonard)
The first Germans(SS-Standarte Regiment "Der Führer") arrive in Amsterdam on May 15th 1940. Here They have parked their Sd.Kfz.231 (8-Rad) in front of the famous 'Royal Palace on the Dam Square' (Paleis op de Dam)


Sd. Kfz. 231
This was the standard reconnaissance variant built from 1937 to 1941. From July 1941, any need for a 231 was fulfilled by producing a 232 without the additional radio equipment. The official name was Schwerer Panzerspähwagen Sd. Kfz. 231 (8-rad).
Opposite the palace, the National Monument on Dam Square is now situated. A memorial commemorating the Second World War in the Netherlands . The monument take central place during the annual National Remembrance Day on May 4.
Officer pilots of No. 139 Squadron RAF relax outside their crew tent at Epernay Aerodrome, Plivot, Marne in France.
ca. April 1940


At the beginning of the the war, 139 Squadron was equipped with Blenheims and flew the first RAF sortie to cross the German frontier; and it won one of the first two decorations of the war.
After duty in France (during which it suffered very heavy casualties) the squadron returned to England, re-formed, and subsequently made many attacks on fringe targets in NW Europe - including the invasion ports - and many anti-shipping sweeps.
Operations and losses 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940
Not all operations listed; those with losses are.
12/05/1940: Maastricht-Tongres, NL and B. 7 planes lost, 11 KIA, 4 MIA, 2 POW
14/05/1940: Sedan, F. 4 Planes lost, 4 KIA, 3 MIA
16/05/1940: Montherme, F. 1 Plane lost, 3 KIA
(Photo Source - © IWM C 1349)
Devon S A (Mr)
Royal Air Force official photographer
Forward scouts of the 9th Hodson's Horse (Bengal Lancers), Indian Army, pause to consult a map, near Vraignes-en-Vermandois, Somme, France, April 1917.


Hodson's Horse served in France from November 1914 until the Indian Cavalry left the Western Front in February 1918. They fought at Givenchy in 1914, on the Somme in 1916 and at Cambrai in 1917. On leaving France they went to Palestine
During their period of duty in France the Sowars (Cavalrymen) of both the 1st and 2nd Indian Cavalry Divisions sometimes served in the trenches as infantry.
(Photo source - © IWM Q 2061)
Colourised by Doug
'Camouflage Trees'
The back of a canvas and steel tree observation post, near Souchez, Pas-de-Calais, France. 15 May 1918.


Trying to hide yourself in No Man’s Land during the war was a risky business. The badly damaged landscape gave no real cover from the watching eyes on either side. Therefore, the ability to spy on the opposite trenches whilst remaining hidden was highly valuable.
To achieve this, both sides began to develop Observation Post Trees (O. P. Trees) made of iron, canvass and sheet metal. Designed to replicate the shell splintered trees that existed in No Man’s Land, these observation posts were originally constructed behind the lines. Then, once they were nearing completion, during the darkest nights engineers would cut down or remove existing trees and replace them with the false one.
From these fake trees observers and snipers were now able to watch the enemy whilst effectively hiding in plain sight. The British Army used around 45 Observation Post Trees during the conflict with the first being placed near Ypres. (
(Photo source © IWM Q 10308)
McLellan, David (Second Lieutenant) (Photographer)
Colorised by Leo Courvoisier
A member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) checks equipment aboard an RAF Air Sea Rescue launch in November 1942.


In her hand is a brass fire extinguisher, while in front is a 'Walker's Excelsior IV Patient Log', a nautical instrument used to measure speed and distance travelled, and a plumb line.
May 18, 1942
Finnish seamen of minelayer Ruotsinsalmi lay contact mines in the Gulf of Finland.


Ruotsinsalmi was a minelayer of the Finnish Navy and the namesake of her class. Ruotsinsalmi was commissioned in 1940 and remained in service until 1975. The vessel was named after the battle of Ruotsinsalmi, which was fought between Sweden and Russia in 1790.
Ruotsinsalmi and Riilahti began mining the Gulf of Finland on 26 June 1941, immediately after the outbreak of the Continuation War. The first minefield, Kipinola, Ruotsinsalmi laid together with Riilahti south-east of Hanko which was intended to block Soviet seaways to Hanko. Same group laid already on 27 June the next minefield, Kuolemajärvi, north-west of Paldiski again to block route to Hanko. Another one, Valkjärvi, was laid on 29–30 June.
Ruotsinsalmi together with Riilahti participated in ferrying the Finnish gunboats past Hanko in August 1941. After two failed attempts by gunboats to rendezvous with minelayers on the nights of 25-26 and 27–28 August the minelayers penetrated the Soviet minefield and met with the gunboats west of Hanko and then escorted them through to Helsinki on 29 August 1941.
Ruotsinsalmi again with Riilahti were sent on 21 November to as minesweeping escorts for convoy of German ships consisting of two tugs and a depot ship headed to west through the Soviet minebarrier south of Hanko. However in the dark the convoy deviated from the swept route and as the sweeping gear became entangled with mines it had stop. Before the convoy managed to resume its journey, tug Föhn slipped outside the swept area and sank after hitting a mine but the rest of the convoy reached its destination. The voyage back through the minebarrier with a convoy of freighters started at midnight of 3 December after the escort group had been strengthened with German minesweepers M 4 and M 7 and it took place without any incidents.
Ruotsinsalmi was Finland's most active minelayer during the Second World War, laying a total of 3,967 sea mines and 541 sweeping obstacles. She was forced to lay mines against the Germans after the end of the hostilities with the Soviet Union in an attempt to hinder German submarine activity.
She participated in the sinking of two Soviet submarines, Shch-317 on 15 July 1942 (along with VMV 16) and Shch-408 on 25 May 1943 (along with VMV 6).
Ruotsinsalmi had proven to be a sound design and well suited for its task. However, it continued to serve a number of different missions after the war. The ship ended its career as a diving support vessel (1973–1975). She was mothballed in Upinniemi, and there were plans to make her into a museum, but she was scrapped at the beginning of the 1990s, after the owners had failed to gather enough funds.
Photo provided by SA-Kuva
(Colorized by Jared Enos)
On May 18, 1944, Emil Czech stands with the cornet in front of the convent conquered by Poles and plays the bugle call of St. Mary at Monte Cassino.


This photo became a symbol of the efforts of the Polish Armed Forces in the West.
The protagonist of the photography distinguished himself on the battlefield near Tobruk in North Africa and in southern Italy many times, but he made history when he replaced the rifle with a musical instrument for a moment.
Mr. Emil died on March 26, 1978.
The Netherlands, Groesbeek, September 17, 1944


Shortly after landing, U.S. Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division pull their jeeps through Groesbeek on their way to Nijmegen. They are greeted enthusiastically by the local population.
The Americans landed around noon that day at the Wylerbaan in Groesbeek, as part of Operation Market Garden. Its aim was to conquer the bridges over the rivers and canals at Eindhoven, Grave, Nijmegen and Arnhem and thus enable the Allied Ground Army to advance from the Belgian border to the German Ruhr area.
These 82nd Airborne Troopers have the assignment to conquer the Waal bridge near Nijmegen. That works out but a few days later than they had planned for. They are too late to relieve their British colleagues at the Arnhem Rhine Bridge. The Battle of Arnhem is already lost.
Colourised PIECE of JAKE
Source: Bill Jenks / Stichting Ons Historisch Erfgoed Groesbeek
A WWI Saxon soldier


Karl Agotz was a 37 year's old shopkeeper in Leipzig when in the fall of 1914, he was called up by his king, Frederick Augustus III, to fight for his country. At the time he was married with two young children.
We often wonder if the person in the photo survived the war. In this case I’m pleased to say that Karl did survive the war and returned to Leipzig and his family.
Unfortunately we do not know his unit.
Some remarks on Karl’s uniform and gear:
Leipzig is in Saxony (Sachsen), so as expected, the tunic is a M07/10 feldrock with Saxon cuffs. The helmet is a Pickelhaube with Saxon ‘wappen’ (coat of arms). The rifle is a standard Gew98 with the long blade M1898 bayonet attached. Boots seem to be brown leather with black polish added later. Soldiers did these because from 1915 onward the orders were to wear black leather but supplies never met the quota so they improvised. As the black polish wore off the brown reappeared.
I measured his height and he was around 5’6’’ (1,68 m).
Original property of A. Shang
Colour by: In Colore Veritas
The crew of Fairey Battle, K9273 'HA-R', of No. 218 Squadron RAF, walk from their aircraft at Aubérive-sur-Suippes airfield in France on returning from a sortie. Sept '39 - May '40
Presumably abandoned during the withdrawal in May 1940.


(Photo source - © IWM C 1081)
Devon S A (Mr)
Royal Air Force official photographer
Colourised by Doug
Veteran of the Napoleonics wars, Monsieur Verlinde, 2e régiment de chevau-légers lanciers de la Garde Impériale (2nd Regiment of Light Cavalry Lancers of the Imperial Guard) C.1858


The 2nd Regiment of Light Cavalry Lancers of the Imperial Guard was a light cavalry regiment in Napoleon's Imperial Guard. They were formed in 1810, after the Kingdom of Holland was annexed by France, but their original purpose was to serve as hussars of the Dutch Royal Guard. The units, who were of an elite order, were known for their loyalty and military might, as well as their professionalism in and out of battle.
New Zealand soldiers in the transport lines having a meal break in a wood near Louvencourt, France. 21 April 1918.


The total number of New Zealand troops and nurses to serve overseas in 1914–18 was 100,444, from a population of just over a million. 16,697 New Zealanders were killed and 41,317 were wounded during the war – a 58% casualty rate. Approximately a further thousand men died within five years of the war's end, as a result of injuries sustained, and 507 died while training in New Zealand between 1914 and 1918. (wiki)
Photographer: Henry Armytage Sanders.
An Infantry radio operator of the Polish 1st Armored Division during training.


The Polish 1st Armoured Division (Polish 1 Dywizja Pancerna) was an armoured division of the Polish Armed Forces in the West during World War II. Created in February 1942 at Duns in Scotland, it was commanded by Major General Stanisław Maczek and at its peak numbered approximately 18,000 soldiers. The division served in the final phases of the Battle of Normandy in August 1944 during Operation Totalize and the Battle of Chambois and then continued to fight throughout the campaign in Northern Europe, mainly as part of the First Canadian Army.

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