Photos Colour and Colourised Photos of WW2 & earlier conflicts

The forward 16″/45 guns of battleship USS Alabama (BB-60) train to starboard during a North Atlantic battle practice. Photographed during her shakedown period, circa December 1942 - January 1943
A French Colonial 75 mm artillery gun (Canon de 75 modèle 1897) in action near Sedd el Bahr at Cape Helles, Gallipoli during the Third Battle of Krithia, 4 June 1915.


(Photo source - © IWM Q 13251)
Photographer Lt. Ernest Brooks
(Colourised by Royston Leonard)
June 5, 1944
Lt Col Robert William Dawson aboard LSI 'Maid of Orleans' briefing D & E Troops of 4 Commando, 1st Special Service Brigade, just before embarking for Normandy.


Lt Col Dawson was awarded the DSO for "gallant and distinguished services in Normandy." He was wounded twice during the action at Ouistreham on the 6th June 1944 but continued to lead the attack. The citation adds that "It was due to his leadership and direction that the attack was successfully pressed home.
In the centre of the group (with moustache) is 7365489 Private Orlando Raffaele Farnese Royal Army Medical Corps and No. 4, Commando
who died age 24 on 06 June 1944
Following close behind the 8th Brigade on Sword was Brigadier The Lord Lovat's 1st Special Service Brigade. No.4 Commando, with two French Troops of No.10 Inter-Allied Commando in hand, were the first to arrive on the beach, landing an hour after the assault troops. The Commandos had produced their plan on the assumption that the beach would be cleared of opposition by the time that they arrived, leaving them free to push inland with great speed. They were not pleased, therefore, to find that control of the beach was still in dispute. No.4 Commando and their French comrades entered the fight immediately and, as their excellent offensive training had instructed them, went about clearing the beach defences with tremendous speed and aggression.
This vanguard of the Brigade was to be detached from Lovat's command for the initial period of the invasion. While the remainder of the Brigade raced to the aid of the 6th Airborne Division, No.4 Commando went about clearing opposition from the town of Ouistreham, bordering the eastern end of Sword Beach. Here, the French Commandos became engaged in protracted and vicious street fighting, which intensified as they arrived in the Casino area, their objective. No.4 Commando proceeded through the town in a similarly hard-fought fashion, but when they reached the site of their own objective, a coastal battery, they found nothing. The battery had been withdrawn, some days previously, to a point a few miles away, and from there its guns fired upon the Commandos at the original site, causing some losses amongst them. In all, Nos. 4 and 10 Commandos suffered some one hundred casualties in Ouistreham. (
At 21.30 hours on 28 June 1944, 'Maid of Orleans' (Master Herbert L. Payne) in convoy FXP-18 was damaged by an explosion and sank after 30 minutes southeast of St. Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight. The ship had brought troops to the Normandy beachheads and was on her return trip. Five crew members were lost.
(Photo source - © IWM B 5098)
No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit - Sgt. G Laws
(Colour by Doug)
Some of the first German soldiers to surrender to the Americans paratrooper during the battle of the Normandy beaches on June 9, 1944 in the Utah Beach sector.


Photo coloure by Johny Sirlande for HPR color
Image and caption courtesy Washington Post (AP)
A German Luftwaffe Flak Artillery Unit stands by a broken down French Hotchkiss H-35 Nº5 (40099) of the 4e Cuirassiers, 1ère Brigade Légère Mécanique, 1ère Division Légère Mécanisée. French refugees, make their way from the fighting in Northern France during May/June 1940.

"The Last Hussar" August von Mackensen, German field marshal in World War I, in Leib-Husaren-Regiment uniform, circa 1914

For some reason, this didn't attach to my post above. Probably relating to it was an unsupported image type.
Still don't know the back story.

A British 60 pounder Mk I battery in action on a cliff top at Cape Helles, Gallipoli, possibly in June 1915. The unit might be the 90th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, located forward of Hill 114. The gun has the inscription "Annie" painted on the barrel.


IWM caption : A 60-pounder battery in action on a cliff top. Right to left: Ron Hilyard (sitting down), Fred Garland (sitting down), Horrie Veivers (standing), Bill Lamprill (standing with shell), Alf Easther (standing next to gun), Tom Gaston (sitting with shell), Frank Lynch (on knee behind gun), Charles Geard (standing), Angus Suthers (standing), Joe Beckworth (standing) and Herb Silcock (?)
(Photo source - © IWM Q 13340)
Colourised by Royston Leonard
Bayonets at the ready as the U.S. troops prepare to take their designated strips of the Normandy beach, codenamed “Omaha” and “Utah“.


Colour by Facundo (FGF Colourised)
Royal Marine Commandos attached to the 3rd Infantry Division moving inland from Sword Beach with a bridgelayer in the background.


Colour by Royston Leonard
The man up front pulling the raft is 1st. Lieutenant Walter Sidlowski of the 348th Combat Battalion, 5th Engineers Special Brigade, supporting the 1st Infantry Division on Omaha Beach, he was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor for rescuing scores of men from a floundering landing craft and others who were in the grip of a churning sea.


The rescues were captured in a sequence of photos taken by famed photographer Walter Rosenblum.
“There was a landing craft breached, either due to fire or to being grounded, and quite a few men on it were not getting off and the craft was going down. We swam out and took a few…back to shore. Somebody else got a long rope which we swam out with, tied onto the landing craft, and had them hold onto…and walk themselves in…. At that time I had no idea there was a photographer in the vicinity.”
“I saw this magnificent man swim out and bring some people off the sinking ship and bring them back in to shore and to me he was the picture of heroic beauty.”
Troops from the 101st Airborne with full packs and a bazooka, in a C-47 just before take-off from RAF Upottery Airfield to Normandy, France for "Operation Chicago. 5th June 1944.


Additional ID: (F-Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division underway to Normandy aboard their C-47 #12. At 01.20 hours they jumped over DZ "C" (Hiesville). L to R: William G. Olanie, Frank D. Griffin, Robert J. "Bob" Noody, Lester T. Hegland. This photo took on a life of its own after publishment. In the picture Bob remembers he must have weighed at least 250 lbs, encumbered with his M-1 rifle, a bazooka, three rockets, land mines, and other assorted "necessities".)
The division, as part of the VII Corps assault, jumped in the dark morning before H-Hour to seize positions west of Utah Beach. As the assault force approached the French coast, it encountered fog and antiaircraft fire, which forced some of the planes to break formation. Paratroopers from both the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions missed their landing zones and were scattered over wide areas.
From 00.15 in the darkness of June 6, 1944, when Capt. Frank L. Lillyman, Skaneateles, N.Y., leader of the Pathfinder group, became the first American soldier to touch French soil, and for 33 successive days the 101st Airborne carried the attack to the enemy.
(Colourised by Paul Reynolds)
Men of the 90th Div of Infantry waiting in the hold of their boat.
These soldiers of 359th Inf. of the 90th US ID who landed at Utah Beach from June 6 to 8, 1944.


Photo taken by Harold A. Barclay during crossing on LCI (L) -326,
© Color By Johnny Sirlande for Historic photo restored in color
Units of the 2nd Infantry Division of the American Army during battles in the area of the commune of Saint-Georges-d'Elle against units of the German 3rd parachute division of the Luftwaffe; July 1944


©Frank scherschel life magazine
Coloured by Johnny Sirlande
As of July 10, 1944, the Americans are only about three kilometers from their objective: Saint-Lô. The 2nd Infantry Division, commanded by Major General Walter M. Robertson, is progressing towards a high point which is located one kilometer south-west of the commune of Saint-Georges-d’Elle. The area is defended by the paratroopers of the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 5 and the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 9 (3. Fallschirmjäger-Division). To the east of the 2nd Infantry Division, the 23rd Infantry Regiment commanded by Colonel Hurley E. Fuller faces the town of Saint-Georges-d’Elle defended by the 1st Battalion of the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 5.
On July 11, 1944, Lieutenant-Colonel Jay B. Loveless replaced Fuller. The attack on the 2nd Infantry Division must be preceded by a massive air raid: 192 P-47 fighter bombers in 4 groups of 48 aircraft are responsible for destroying all enemy positions and for reconnaissance missions in the area Saint-Georges-d’Elle and Hill 192. But the visibility is insufficient and the raid is canceled: a single ground attack mission is maintained for the benefit of the division. At 6 o’clock, the ground attack was launched: the 1st Battalion of the 23rd Infantry Regiment (IR) progressed on the right flank, the 3rd battalion was in the center and the 2nd battalion was on the left flank. The 1st battalion is immediately slowed down by a terrain where the advance is difficult as well as by the adversary: the 1st section of company A warns against a ravine that the vehicles can not cross. 4 tanks belonging to Squadron C of the 741st Tank Battalion are now in a supporting position and the section immediately engages with the German paratroopers who use their artillery: all the soldiers of the section are killed or wounded with the exception of 13 of them. The ravine is then baptized by the Americans the “Purple Heart Draw” (which is the name of the American wounded medal). The other two sections of the company bypass this natural obstacle by the west. This maneuver lasts all day against German paratroopers who are favored by the terrain conducive to defense. The survivors of the 1st section, then commanded by Sergeant William C. Stanley, advance and regain the ascendancy over their opponent and reach the departmental 195 at the end of the leap.
The 3rd battalion rises to the assault at noon and manages to seize Saint-Georges-d’Elle after violent fighting. The Germans are pushed to the south and the Americans settle in defensive for the night, company L assuring the immediate surroundings to the south-east of the village. The fighting to repel the Germans south of the departmental road 972 connecting Saint-Lô to Bayeux extend for a week.
Photo taken on June 6 (or 7), 1944, at Baudienville, a small hamlet 2.5 km NE from Sainte-Mère-Église, showing a smiling Monsieur Jacques Philippe standing at the door of his establishment with his little daughter and the customers he was waiting for for the last 4 years.
It is said that the soldiers were from the 4th US Infantry Division which had disembarked at Utah Beach early that morning, but author Winston G. Ramsey, having studied the negatives with the shoulder patches blacked out, states in his work “D-Day Then and Now Vol.2” that one of the shoulder patches is still partially visible and that these men were actually from the 90th US Infantry Division. Most possibly elements of the 1st or 3rd Btn/359th IR that were kept in reserve near the village on D+1. These two battalions were attached to the 4th ID as reinforcements from the 1st to the 11th of June 1944.


The ‘official’ caption somewhat erroneously states that the photo was taken in Sainte-Mère-Eglise.
A couple of years ago I was told that Monsieur Jacques Philippe's daughter is still alive and still resides in the area. Today the café is restored and works as a museum. See comments for a modern photo.
Original: US Army
Colour by: In Colore Veritas
Col. Robert "Bull" Wolverton, commander of the 3rd Bn., 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division is preparing to jump on Saint-Come-du-Mont, Normandy.


Part of the same regiment to which belonged the legendary "Band of Brothers," Wolverton's men fought in the epic Operation Overlord, Operation Market Garden and Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne.
Despite being killed before landing on French soil (Order of battle for the American airborne landings in Normandy), Wolverton's legacy endured, particularly on the strength of a prayer spoken to the 750 men in his battalion hours before the D-Day parachute drop behind enemy lines.
Wolverton's words were cited by President Ronald Reagan in a 1984 speech from Normandy on the 40th anniversary of the invasion [3] and recounted in numerous books and in Newsweek and Associated Press stories on a battalion reunion held in Kansas City on the first D-Day anniversary after the war .
Colour: Johnny Sirlande
Exeter Airfield, England ( 5th June 1944 )
Lt. Col. R Wolverton ( 3rd BN CO KIA 6/6/44 Normandy) & 1Lt. A. Bobuck (POW till June 8, 1944).
Col. Wolverton checking the kit of 1Lt. A. Bobuck before climbing aboard their stick. Exeter airfield, 5th June 1944.


,Chalk #1 #42-92717 piloted by Lt. Col. Frank X. Krebs Carrier Squadron, prior to departing for the D-Day drop on Normandy.
A cruel twist of fate meant Lt/ Col Wolverton's feet never touched French soil. The commanding officer of 3rd Bn 506th PIR, was killed suspended by his parachute from an apple tree in an orchard just north of the hamlet of St Côme du Mont.
On D-Day 1/Lt Alex Bobuck was the first one to jump off Lt. Col. Wolverton's plane but was captured when he landed on a German Command Post roof, he was liberated on June 8 by the advancing forces on St.Come-du-Mont.
He went on to fight at Arnhem and Bastogne.
He died December 1 1961 aged 44
Coloured by Johnny Sirlande for historic photo restored in color

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