20 Incredible Colourised Images That Bring WWII To Life!


10947339_652659868197142_2668967543370303358_nM-29 Weasel (‘St Lo Special 1’) personnel and supply carrier of ‘C’Coy, 121st Combat Engineer Battalion, 29th US Infantry Division. Normandy. c. July 1944.

The 121st landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, fought the hedgerows and entered St. Lo on the 19th of July ’44 
Some of the added chalk written notes, “Essayons” (French) = 29th Division Motto, “Let us Go”
“Nihil Timemus” (Latin) = 121st Engineers Motto, “We Fear Nothing”
(Source – US National Archives)

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)


Lt John Lee Warner, British Weapon Instructor CBTC (Commando Basic Training Centre), training new US Rangers of the 29th Ranger Battalion in the use of the Thompson M1928A1 SMG.
Commando Basic Training Centre, Achnacarry in the Western Highlands of Scotland.
9th of February 1943.

On Monday, 4 February 1943, ten officers and 166 enlisted men and NCOs of the 29th Infantry Division were sent to Achnacarry, Scotland. The British Commando instructors called this unit, which was undergoing Ranger training, the 2nd Ranger Battalion. However, another American unit also had that designation, so the Rangers in the battalion and the American staff officers called them the 29th Ranger Battalion, named after its division. Major Randy Millholland of the 115th Infantry Regiment, the battalion commanding officer, instructed his men to “keep their eyes and ears open and their mouths shut.” Millholland, a tough, energetic officer, was widely respected. The Ranger trainees were immensely proud of their battalion and did not want to be sent back to their old units as instructors in Ranger tactics. Soon after the proud Rangers completed their training, two of them accompanied a raiding force of British Commandos during an attack on one of the Channel Islands. One of these Rangers covered the withdrawal of his group, killing three German soldiers and wounded several others. By the time of this raid, the 29th Battalion had grown to include four Ranger infantry companies and one headquarters company.

Photo credit The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Note: Lt. Lee survived the war and in this image he is wearing the cap badge of the Reconnaissance Corps over a tartan cloth back ground.

(Colourised by Paul Reynolds)
Historic Military Photo Colourisations)10401956_618532741609855_8615255682993177015_n

Fl.Lt. Dudley S.G. Honor, Nº 274 Squadron RAF poses by a Hawker Hurricane of the squadron at Gerawala, Egypt, on rejoining his unit following his rescue.
On the afternoon of 25th May 1941, his Mk.I Hurricane (W9266) and that of Fl.Lt Hugh Down were attacking the aerodrome at Maleme, Crete. Down’s plane was hit but Honor shot down an Italian SM79 and a German JU52 before being attacked by a Bf 110 and then a Bf 109. His plane crashed into the sea, sinking some forty feet, but because he was wearing a German self inflatable life jacket, he was able to reach the surface. After a four hour swim he managed to drag himself onto the rocks. He was found by Cretan peasants and a party of Greek soldiers and after six days in hiding was rescued by a passing RAF Sunderland that saw him signalling from his pocket torch. The Sunderland pilot said it was a million to one chance that he was spotted, they were looking for Major General Weston and his staff, with Honor giving directions down the coast, they located the General at Sfakia on about the 31st May.

Dudley Sandry Garton Honor was born, to British parents, on September 5th 1913 at Quilmes, Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he was educated. He was one of 600 volunteers from Argentina who came to fight with the RAF and RCAF. Awards: DSO, DFC & Bar  He died on the 26th December 2007 aged 94

© IWM (CM 941)

(The Hurricane is showing a Yellow lightning flash of the 247 Squadron and the front underside of the nose and leading edges sport an Italian camouflage, supposed to confuse Italian ground AA gun crews in North Africa.)

(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)
10552384_559551607507969_5681736553916910383_n‘Easy Red Sector’, Omaha Beach – approx. 0700 on the 6th June 1944

Photographer Robert Capa landed at Easy Red Sector, Omaha Beach with the men of Easy Company, the 2nd battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, US Army 1st Division.After completing his task of photographing the landings, Capa’s survival instincts took over. Seeing another craft approaching the beach, he fled towards it. After he was hoisted aboard, the vessel took a direct hit from a German shell and several men on board were killed. Capa survived and transferred to a troop ship for the return journey to England.

On arriving in Weymouth, Dorset, Capa put the four rolls of 35mm film in a courier’s pouch together with several 120mm rolls that he had shot before the invasion. He also included a note to John Morris, Life’s London office picture editor, that stated, ‘John – all the action’s in the 35mm.’ With his films safely on their way, Capa boarded the first boat returning to France.

When the courier arrived at the Life office, Morris urged his staff to develop the films quickly in order to meet the publication deadline. They were given to 15-year-old darkroom assistant Dennis Banks to develop.

The incident that followed has become as famous as Capa’s images. A few minutes later, Banks returned to Morris’s office in tears, saying, ‘They’re ruined! Capa’s films are all ruined!’ In the rush to process and dry the films, Banks had placed them in a wooden drying cabinet and closed the doors. The heat had been so intense that the emulsion had melted and all that was left, as Morris discovered as he examined the films, was ‘a brown sludge in frame after frame’.

Only 11 of the 108 original frames were salvaged.
This photograph is contact screen frame 7/neg. 35

(Colourised by Royston Leonard UK)

Pont-Farcy, Basse-Normandie, France.
Photo taken between the 3rd and the 5th of August 1944.

In a village left in ruins, a US Medical truck passes behind a wrecked Panzer IV Ausf. J medium tank of the 2.Panzer-Division. The Panzer IV formed part of the 8 Kompanie of Panzer Abteilung II, Panzer-Regiment 3 which blocked the crossroads at the centre of Pont-Farcy. It was destroyed during the liberation of the town by the 35th U.S. Infantry Division on the 2nd of August 1944.

(Note the truck appears to be a GMC CCKW 353 2.5 ton 6X6.)

137th Infantry Regiment, 35th Inf.Div. battle report; 2nd of August 1944
“……at 1530 the 1st Battalion was reported south of les Verges, and the 3rd Battalion at Beau Costil. All battalions were receiving heavy shelling from German artillery and mortar positions west of the Vire River. However, steady progress was made, and the high ground north of the river was cleared of the enemy resistance by 1800. Four enemy tanks reported at the bend of the river north of Pont-farcy were destroyed by Allied aircraft.
At 1845 the main body of the 3rd Battalion was across the river.
With the 2nd and 3rd Battalions across the river, the Division Commander then ordered one battalion to remain north of the river. The 1st Battalion remained, to protect the west flank of the Division.

(Source – National Archives 192520)

(Colourised by Royston Leonard UK)