Photos Colour and Colourised Photos of WW2 & earlier conflicts

Colourisation by Royston Leonard from Cardiff, Wales


A wounded US paratrooper grimaces in pain while waiting for medical evacuation at base camp in the A Shau Valley near the Laos border in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, May 19 1969


US machine gunner Specialist James R Pointer, left, of Cedartown, Georgia, and Private First Class Herald Spracklen of Effingham, Illinois, peer from the brush of an overgrown rubber plantation near the Special Forces camp at Bu Dop during a half hour firefight, Dec. 5, 1967. Their company-size patrol avoided an ambush when a patrol dog alerted the unit to the presence of enemy forces


An American soldier wears a hand lettered War Is Hell slogan on his helmet in Vietnam, 1965


soldiers making their way through the country's dense woodland


Hovering US Army helicopters pour machine-gun fire into the tree line to cover the advance of South Vietnamese ground troops as they attack a North Vietnamese army camp eighteen miles north of Tay Ninh, near the Cambodian border, March 1965

Battle of the Lys: Men of the 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, manning a street barricade in the town of Bailleul, 15th April 1918, just before the town fell to the German offensive. (IWM Q 6530)
Colourised by Royston Leonard UK

Sqn.Ldr. Les Munro of 617 Squadron RAF, the "Dambusters"


Polish soldiers of the Independent Podhale Rifle Brigade taking the oath in Malestroit, Brittany, France. April 10, 1940. ( One for @Conhoon )


Irish Guards and the crew of an M4 Sherman tank outside of a Texaco Garage in Aalst, Holland.
18 September, 1944,


An American soldier looks at a bullet-riddled portrait of the Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini (1883 – 1945) which was taken from the former Fascists political headquarters in Anzio, Italy.7 February 1944.


M4A4 Sherman tank No. 21 (possibly S/Nº. T152656 named “Bomb”) of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment ( 27th Armoured Regiment ), 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade (Independent ) covers soldiers of the Fusiliers Mont-Royal, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division in Rue des Ursulines in Falaise, Lower Normandy.
August 17, 1944.
Colourised by Royston Leonard UK

A Sapper from the Royal New Zealand Corps of Engineers probes at the earth in the search for more mines after lifting (digging out) a German Tellermine, near Tripoli, Libya, on the 22d of January, 1943.


Members of 2 Platoon, B Company, 2/2 Machine Gun Battalion, 26th Brigade (Australia) firing a Vickers .303-caliber MG on a native village across the river which was reported to be housing some 200 Japanese soldiers. Brunei Bay Area, North Borneo. 17th June 1945


US Marine Jesse Goin carries his dog towards the front, during the Battle of Kwajalein, on the Pacific Marshall Islands. 9 February 1944. Colourised by Tom Marshall at PhotograFix


The lowering of the caskets of four 22nd Marines who died of their wounds in the attack on Parry Island in the Eniwetok Atoll. 22nd February 1944.

They are being transported to the nearby Japtan Island for burial in the 22nd Marines Cemetery there.
They were all exhumed during March 1947 and were taken to a Mausoleum at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii for above ground storage in warehouses and eventually casketing operations to be permanently buried in the ‘Punchbowl’ on Oahu, Hawaii or returned to the mainland for burial in a private or national cemetery.


Men of the 328th Infantry Regiment, US 26th Infantry Division riding on an M8 ‘Greyhound’ light armored car of the 735th Tank Battalion near Neustadt, Germany. April 5 1945.


El-Adem Sector, Tobruk, Lybia, August 27, 1941. Men of D Company, 2/17th Infantry Battalion, 2nd A.I.F. using a captured Italian field gun to send 75mm shells back to their former owners. They were known as the “Bush Artillery” because they were converted infantrymen using captured guns. They came to symbolise the desperate courage, and the resolve of Tobruk’s defenders during the siege of 1941.

From l to r, 1st soldier unknown, 2nd soldier is NX60436 Pvt. H.E. Zouch, 3rd soldier unknown, 4th soldier is NX65985 Pvt. C.E. Lemaire (later recipient of the Military Medal for bravery in the field for action against the Japanese at Borneo in 1945), 5th soldier NX17811 Pvt. L.J. McCarthy.

When the set to which this photo belongs to was taken by Warrant Officer (later Lt.) Thomas Fisher, official photographer of the 9th Division Military History and Information Section, the gun in question was only 4000 yards from the German front line.

As for the photographer, sadly W.O. Fisher (later Lt. Fisher) was the only photographer of the Military History and Information Section to be killed in action during WW2. Lt. Fisher died in action against the Japanese at Papua on 16th November 1942. He has no known grave.

The gun is an Italian 75mm Cannone da 75/27 modello 06 (Italian version of the German Kanone M1096), one of the oldest artillery pieces to take part in WW2: introduced in 1906, it pre-dates WWI. This gun was an updated model with steel rims with rubber tires instead of the original wooden wheels (although ‘originals’ could also be found in the battlefield).
Colourised by Allan White from Australia


German soldiers gather around a French Gnome et Rhône AX2 800 motorcycle and side car in Belgorod, Russia. Summer 1943.
Colourised by Doug

Rouvres airfield, France, winter of 1939/40. On a cold, misty day, Sergeant T. B. G. ‘Titch’ Pyne, a British pilot serving with 73 Squadron, smiles as he watches two armourers rearming the .303 Browning MGs of his Hawker Hurricane Mk I.
Sgt ‘Titch’ Pyne flew his first mission on the 26th of March 1940 as part of Green Section, Flight B. Soon after crossing the German border (despite express orders not to), Sgt Pyne, his mate Flg Off J. G. ‘Tub’ Perry, and their section leader, a Kiwi by the name of James ‘Cobber’ Cain, spotted nine Bf 109Es of III./JG53 ‘Pik As’. Although outnumbered 3 to 1, ‘Cobber’ Cain took advantage of his higher altitude to jump the German aircrafts and soon enough one of the two Bf109 he shot during that action fell away trailing smoke and flames. Pyne and Perry had also chosen their targets and followed their leader into the fray, but being inexperienced, both quickly expended their ammo and were forced to return home. Perry was later credited with a Bf109E destroyed while Pyne’s claim was rated as only a probable. Although being shot down himself, the two confirmed kills that day made of James ‘Cobber’ Cain the first allied ace of the war. J. G. ‘Tub’ Perry was shot down and killed three days later.

As for Sgt Pyne, he was shot down the first time on April 23rd 1940 when his squadron was surprised by Bf109s of III./JG53 west of Merzig. Wounded in a shoulder and with his Hurricane (N2391) badly damaged by the BF109 of Fw Gawlick, Sgt Pyne made a force-landing near Sierck-les-Bains at 10.30 a.m. Minutes before, at 10.14 a.m., one of his squadron mates had been shot down by a soon to be famous Hptmn Mölders of III./JG53 in what was Mölders’ 9th WW2 victory.

After recovering from his injuries, Sgt Pyne went back to flying combat missions until the 14th of May 1940, when his Hurricane (N2856) was shot down by Bf110s of III./ZG26 and crashed in the Bois de Voncq, north of Vouziers at 12.25 p.m. It is believed that Sgt Pyne managed to bail out but was killed (unspecified causes). He now rests at Choloy War Cemetery.

A US 3rd Armoured Division M5A1 "Stuart" Light tank crosses through "La Vauterie," a hamlet of St Fromond a village situated on the left side of the Vire river in Normandy. This village was liberated on the 7th of July 1944 by the 117th U.S. Inf. Rgt. under the command of Colonel Henry E. Kelly of the 30th U.S.I.D


26 July 1944 A US tank crew posing for the camera from a foxhole beneath their M-10 tank destroyer, north of Marigny, Normandy. The men belong to the 703rd Tank Destroyer Battalion attached to Combat Command B of the 3rd Armored Division.


American armoured vehicle crewmen rest during the liberation of France


An American self-propelled howitzer M7 "Priest" (105 mm HMC M7) in position overlooking vineyards in Ribeauville, Alsace, France. 9th December 1944.


Panther knocked out by P-47s of the 366th Fighter Sqd in Normandy, Jul 1944,


Two German snipers surrender to GIs of the 3rd Army in Koblenz. The youngster on the right was wounded by US return fire

Cpl Earl McAllister, of Hamilton, Ontario, Member of North Shore Regiment, 8th Brigade, 3rd Cdn Inf. Division, poses on a captured knocked-out German 88mm battery gun. He is holding a Luger P08 pistol possibly liberated from one of the captives. Has to his credit the capture of 160 Germans at St Lambert-sur-Dives.France 1944. Colourised by Jecinci

Canadian soldiers A. Lockhart and William Campbell in destroyed Falaise


Major John W. Forth, Chaplain of The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (right), Canadian 3rd Infantry Division, helping the unit’s Regimental Aid Party treat a wounded comrade during the Battle of Caen, France, 15 July 1944.


A British soldier, said to be a RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) medical orderly makes his way forward under cover of the Red Cross flag to recover a casualty during fighting at Cassino, Italy; 24 March 1944


British 4 Commando, 1st Special Service Brigade after landing on 'Queen Red' beach, Sword area and ready to advance into Ouistreham. 6 June 1944.


Russian doctors and nurses of the 237th Infantry Division


F/O William T Lane - Spitfire Mk.IX - RCAF 403 Squadron, Kenley - May '43 ( KIA 15/5/43 aged 21)


Flight Lieutenant Brian Kingcome (left), commanding officer of No. 92 Squadron Royal Air Force and his wingman, Flying Officer Geoffrey Wellum, next to Supermarine Spitfire (possibly Wellum's QJ-K) at RAF Biggin Hill, Kent, June/July 1941.


A woman standing in a courtyard and two children standing beside her in the Lodz (Litzmannstadt) ghetto, Lodz, Poland, 1941


F/O Violet "Vi" Milstead climbs into one of the first Spitfire LF Mk XI fighters at Castle Bromwich in March 1943 to ferry the aircraft to one of the squadrons of the Biggin Hill Wing. The 23-year-old Canadian was one of 166 ATA women, logging 600 hrs while flying 47 types of aircraft, themselves divided in 74 different marks. Sometimes, she had to perch on a parachute sack or her black leather overnight bag just to see the controls.



A group of pilots of No 1 Squadron RCAF, gather round one of their Hawker Hurricane Mark Is at Prestwick, Scotland. 30 October 1940. The Squadron Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader E A McNab, stands fifth from the right, wearing a forage cap


Canadian RAM tank used for training at Camp Borden


242 Canadian Squadron RAF during the Battle of Britain, Duxford, September 1940 - P/O Denis "Crow" Crowley-Milling, F/O Hugh Tamblyn (KIA 3 April 1941), F/L Stan Turner, Sgt Joseph Ernest Savill, P/O Norman Neil Campbell (KIA 17 October 1940), P/O Willie McKnight (KIA 12 January 1941), S/L Douglas Bader, F/L George Eric Ball (KIFA 1 February 1946), P/O Michael Giles Homer (KIA 27 September 1940), F/O Marvin Kitchener "Ben" Brown (KIA 21 February 1941) Bader's Hawker Hurricane Mk1 LE-D


Canadian soldiers in Normandy, France.


Canadian 94mm anti-aircraft gun stuck in the mud, France, date unknown



The ground crews of No 417 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force

German soldiers of Panzer Lehr Division study a map of the region surrounding village of Tilly-sur-Seulles during the Battle of Normandy



German POWs

General Sir Bernard Montgomery passes German POWs while being driven along a road in a jeep, shortly after arriving in Normandy


Soldier of 12th SS Panzer Division, Normandy
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D-Day+2 American soldier Elmer.W. Habbs, 82nd US Airborne Division


Medics of the 5th Infantry Division near Diekirch

German POWs, shortly after D-Day, in the vicinity of Normandy

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Airborne Troops with full packs and a bazooka, just before take-off from RAF Upottery Airfield to Normandy, France for "Operation Chicago"

Operation Barbarossa

Royal Marine Commandos attached to 3rd Division move inland from Sword Beach on the Normandy coast on June 6, 1944


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American soldiers heading to Tare Green Sector, Utah Beach, Normandy.

"Ingrid" of 2 Kompanie then serving with Panzer-Lehr-Division, July 19 1944. It was attacked by US Thunderbolts on July 11 1944 in Normandy.



Robert Capa

8th Medical Battalion, US 8th Infantry Division in La Haye du Puits, Normandy, France 7-9th July 1944

Sherman tanks of 33rd Armoured Brigade, supporting 3rd Infantry Division, moving forward near Lebisey
The astonishing scale of the invasion can be seen in this image taken of the American forces arriving on Utah Beach.

U.S. troops from the USS Joseph T. Dickman wait to disembark from their landing craft as they approach Utah Beach on June 6 1944.

A craft from the USS Samuel Chase lands troops of the US Army First Division on Omaha Beach.

Glider pilots take the opportunity for a quick cigarette as they are crowded onto a landing craft.

Royal Marines descend from landing craft with their heavy backpacks, weapons and equipment on Juno beach.

American troops arrive on a Normandy beach in a lengthy procession from their landing crafts.

The original black and white photographs were painstakingly colourised by electrician Royston Leonard, with each snap taking between four and five hours to complete.
British troops show their true grit as they help injured comrades onto Sword Beach.

US Army Fourth Infantry Division troops take a breather after making their way onto Utah Red Beach

Reinforcements arrive by sea to bolster U.S. troop numbers on the Normandy front.

The USS LST-21, manned by the U.S. coastguard unloads British Army tanks and trucks onto a Rhino barge in the opening hours of their invasion of Gold Beach.

Troops load U.S. LSTs with artillery equipment, vehicles and troops in Brixham, England before they head for Normandy

German General Erwin Rommel inspects defences ahead of D-Day. On the actual day of the invasion he was away from the front celebrating his wife's birthday.

Members of the 22nd Independent Parachute Company, 6th Airborne Division attend a briefing ahead of the D-Day invasion

Troops establish a radio communications post after landing.

The original black and white photographs were painstakingly colourised by electrician Royston Leonard, with each snap taking between four and five hours to complete.

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