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30 thought provoking colourised images of WWII

Sam Dickson

Many thanks go to Doug Banks and his team – the masters of colourisation.  The beauty of these colourised images is that colour, allows you to pick out and study the smallest detail. Do not click on their page – you will become addicted to their work  It is the research that they do on each image that makes the captions themselves a history lesson. Facebook page here Colourised-Photos18721_726786540784474_8782800392121312140_n

An SAS jeep (Sr/Nº4822478) in the Gabes-Tozeur area of Tunisia. The vehicle is heavily loaded with jerry cans of fuel and water, and personal kit. The ‘gunner’ is manning the .50 cal Browning machine gun, while the driver has a single Vickers ‘K’ gun in front, and a twin mounting vickers behind. 1943.(Source – IWM – Sgt. Currey, No 2 Army Film & Photographic Unit) (Colourised by Paul Reynolds)
Historic Military Photo Colourisations)


Pilot Officer Albert Gerald Lewis DFC (aged 22) in his Hawker Hurricane Mk.1 (VY-R) P2923 with 85 Squadron RAF at Castle Camps, RAF Debden’s satellite airfield in Cambridgeshire. July 1940.

Albert Gerald Lewis (10 April 1918 – 14 December 1982) was a South African born fighter ace during the war, who was featured in a ‘Life’ magazine article about the Battle of Britain. Lewis received his Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in July 1940 and his citation read that during the Battle of France on May the 19th, he shot down five enemy aircraft before he himself was shot down over Lille.

He then joined No.249 Squadron RAF on the 15th of September 1940. One the same day he shot down a Heinkel He.111 and on the 18th, a Messerschmitt Bf. 109 (his twelfth confirmed enemy aircraft).
On the 27th of September he claimed 6 kills (three Bf 109s, two Bf 110s and a Ju 88), two probables and one damaged.  While on a patrol on the 28th of September he was shot down and he baled out of his Hurricane over Faversham and was taken to Faversham Cottage Hospital, blind for two weeks, and with shrapnel in his legs with severe burns on the face, throat, hands and legs. He returned to the Squadron in December, 1940, having been promoted Flight Lieutenant on the 29th of November. He was flying by the 17th of January 1941, and became “A” Flight Commander, and was awarded a bar to the DFC.
His final tally was 18 kills.

(Source – ‘Life’ Magazine)

(Colourised by Doug)

USAAF Capt. Dewey E. Newhart
“Mud N’ Mules” Republic P-47D-15-RE Thunderbolt LH-D s/n 42-76141 350th Fighter Squadron, 353rd Fighter Group, 8th Air Force

Capt. Newhart was killed in action on the 12th of June 1944 during a mission over Northern France.
He was leading the squadron down to strafe an enemy truck convoy near Saint-Saëns, Normandy when he was jumped by 8-10 Bf.109s whilst flying a P-47D LH-U(s/n 42-26402) named “Soubrette”, he was hit and radioed that he was attempting to make landfall. Before he could escape, he was attacked by two more fighters, and was shot down and killed.

The pictured aircraft was re-assigned to Capt. Lonnie M. Davis who renamed it “Arkansas Traveler” but retained the mule artwork out of respect for Newhart.

(Colourised by Doug)

A German paratrooper (Fallschirmjäger) with an MG 42 (Maschinengewehr 42) machine gun positions himself to fire on Allied forces.  Near Sainte-Mère-Église, Manche, Normandy, France.
21st of June 1944. Although the Fallschirmjäger were actually Luftwaffe troops, these units were by the time of the Allied Invasion of Normandy, tactically subordinated to German Army (Heer) command.

(Source – Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-582-2106-24)

(Colorized by Jiří Macháček from the Czech Republic)

M4 Sherman (US Army 3099276) of ‘A’ Company 763rd Tank Battalion and troops from the 96th Infantry Division in battle at Okinawa, April 1945.

(Source – US Army Signal Corps)

(Colourised by Royston Leonard UK)

Major General Erwin Rommel, and an early Panzer IV (Nº321) of the 7th Panzer Division in France, May 1940.

Erwin Rommel, is pictured here with his Leica III rangefinder camera. Rommel is reported to have been given such a camera by his friend/patron, Joseph Goebbels, before the 1940 Western campaign; many ‘photos of his authorship or probable authorship survive, and crop up with a fair degree of frequency in propaganda/publicity contexts.

Rommel and the German 7th Panzer division in France 1940 He was given the command in the place of the both older and more experienced commanders. Inevitably, any account of the German 7th Panzer Division’s actions in France, 1940, to a large extent involves Erwin Rommel. Nevertheless, Rommel often showed audacity and never hesitated to take command of a situation no matter how big or small. He was a man of action, and it seems that he often reacted in a spontaneous and somewhat impulsive manner. His style of command and personality characterized much of the actions of the division.

At the time of the campaign in France, Germany did not possess an overwhelming military strength. The Germans had 135 divisions compared to 151 for the allied side. Germany had some 2500 tanks while the allies had more than 4000. The German tanks were not technically superior to those of the allies. Only in the air did the Germans have superiority both in numbers of aircraft and in their technical performance.
The German superiority, instead, lay in their tactics with narrow and deep penetrations. The Germans only had 10 Panzer Divisions, but they were used with a devastating effect when they were concentrated on a narrow front.

(Colourised By Doug)

11667478_731737770289351_4072471761471811410_nBritish Sherman tanks and 6-pdr anti-tank guns of the 11th Armoured Division, advancing through the village of St Charles-de-Percy in Calvados, Normandy, on the N 177 road to Vire. 2nd of August 1944,

(Source – © IWM B 8488 – Sgt. Laing – No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit)

(Colourised by Allan White from Australia)