Grim reality of WW1 is brought to life in 100 colourised images to mark centenary – The HabariTimes Online
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Grim reality of WW1 is brought to life in 100 colourised images to mark centenary

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Grim reality of WW1 is brought to life in 100 colourised images to mark centenary

An explosion taking place on the Somme. The controlled explosion was set up by the Royal Engineers, to clear the way for the advance. A uniformed soldier, possibly a member of the Royal Engineers, sits on a wooden post watching the explosion

 

  • Black and white photographs were painstakingly colourised to mark the war’s 100th anniversary
  • The poignant process to bring images back to life was carried out by Tom Marshall of PhotograFix 

The grim reality of the First World War has been remembered in a series of 100 colourised images to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the conflict.

The incredible images include one of Royal Garrison Artillery gunners pushing a light railway truck filled with shells in 1917 and a British soldier helping a wounded German prisoner walk along a railway track in 1916.

In another poignant photograph, British officers standing outside the mouth of a German trench in Messines, Belgium, in 1917 after capturing it.

Other striking pictures show King George V sitting next to an army commander in Thiepval, France on the site where Thiepval Chateau once stood.

A soldier receives a haircut from an Alpine barber on the Albanian front and a group of Irish soldiers recuperating with nurses in 1917 in another fascinating insight into the realities of war a hundred years ago.

The original black and white photographs were painstakingly colourised by Tom Marshall of PhotograFix to mark the 100th anniversary of World War One ending, some of which are pictured here…

A British soldier helps a wounded German prisoner walk along a railway track at some point in 1916. The poignant photograph shows both the horrors and humanity of war. The number of soldiers imprisoned reached a little over 7,000,000, of whom around 2,400,000 were held by German forces

Egyptian Expeditionary Force soldiers pose in front of the Great Sphinx, its broken nose visible in the background, and pyramids of Giza in Egypt during a break from conflict, which was fought between the Ottoman Empire and the Allied Powers of Britain, France and Russia, until the Russian revolution in 1917 when they pulled out of the conflict

An 18 pound gun is hauled through the mud at Broodseinde Ridge to a position further forward, in support of the advancing Australians, two days before the initial attack on Passchendaele Ridge, in the Ypres sector. The battle took place in 1917 over several months and saw, by some estimates, almost half a million casualties

A group of men from the Royal Regiment of Artillery, photographed alongside a long-barrelled field gun, 1916. For the occasion, they have chalked the words, ‘Somme gun’ on the side of the barrel. The men are well wrapped with non-uniform scarves, gloves and a balaclava. In purely military terms, the heavy artillery of both sides was in many ways more important than any other weapon. It could fire into the opposing trenches with little risk to their own side and could effectively keep the enemy in the trenches 

A British soldier talks to a local farm worker, somewhere in Passchendaele, 1917. The area saw much of the fighting that took place during the Great War, with several bloody and drawn out battles taking place for control of the city of Ypres, which was strategically placed on the Western Front

Soldiers, probably from the 12th Battalion, the East Surrey Regiment, in a British communication trench in Ploegsteert Wood, during the Battle of Messines, 11th June 1917. Trench warfare was harsh on all sides, with disease and cramped conditions making it particularly hard

This photograph shows a group of soldiers standing in the entrance to a dugout. Other men are outside, standing beside a washing line with towels on it. A pot is steaming on a brazier made of a tin drum. The cap and collar badges of the men are not distinct but appear to vary, suggesting they are from more than one unit. This rather domestic scene appears well removed from the reality of the trenches at the Front. It may have been intended to counter criticism of the campaign by implying that it was better organised than was the case 

King George V sitting next to an army commander in Thiepval, France on the site where Thiepval Chateau once stood. The army commander to his right is pointing into the distance and, according to the original caption, recounting the capture of Thiepval, which took place in September 2016

A horse and soldier transporting boots. The path is inches deep in wet mud discernible by the deep imprint round the soldiers boot and the fact that the horses hooves are no longer visible. Rather than cloth puttees though he is wearing long lace-up boots. The horse is absolutely laden with rubber trench waders. Horses, due to their reliability and ability to travel over most terrains were crucial to transportation during WW1 

Two officers looking out of a small shelter they appear to have made for themselves. It seems to have been made of a mixture of corrugated iron, wood and canvas or tar-paper. As it is built above ground, this must have been well away from the front-line trenches. This is one of a number of photographs which illustrate the degree to which shelter was left to the individual soldier. For officers this was, however, relieved by their greater freedom off-duty to go to nearby towns and villages, or on longer leave to visit Paris. When billets were available in civilian houses, officers again had the better conditions 

This photo is from the first Zeppelin raid on Britain, which took place on 19th January 1915. Two Zeppelins appeared over East Anglia. Zeppelin L 3 bombed Great Yarmouth and later Zeppelin L 4 appeared over King’s Lynn. This photo is reported to show Mr Fayers who lived at 11 Bentinck Street, King’s Lynn. A bomb exploded on 12 Bentinck Street, killing 14-year-old Percy Goate. His parents and 4-year-old sister survived 

A soldier receives a haircut from an Alpine barber on the Albanian front in the middle of a trench in an undated photo. Pictured in the background is the bags of sand which were used to create the interior walls of the trenches that stretched across battlefields

On 22nd May 1915, the Quintinshill rail disaster occurred near Gretna Green, Scotland at Quintinshill on the Caledonian Railway Main Line linking Glasgow and Carlisle. The crash, which involved five trains, killed a probable 226 and injured 246 and remains the worst rail crash in British history in terms of loss of life. Those killed were mainly Territorial soldiers from the 1/7th (Leith) Battalion, the Royal Scots heading for Gallipoli

RMS Lusitania, a British ocean liner and briefly the world’s largest passenger ship. It was sunk on 7 May 1915 by a German U-boat. The sinking would eventually lead to the United States entering the conflict as it declared war on Germany in 1917

An unknown soldier, photographed at Vignacourt, France. The world’s first colour photograph was taken in 1861, but the use of colour film did not become widespread until well after the end of the First World War

Soldiers after crossing the River Somme. According to the photograph’s original caption these soldiers are the first to have crossed the River Somme. Some of them are clambering up a temporary walkway. Others in the background manage to scramble up the embankment. The foreground is littered with debris

The final resting place of Zeppelin LZ 59 (known as L20), known as the Raider of Loughborough, after her part in an attack on the English Midlands. On 31st January 1916 nine airships, including L20, left Germany and Denmark in order to attack the docks at Liverpool, which would have shocked the British public due to the long range of the attack

Damage in the yard of the home of vet and blacksmith Mr T.H. Walden in East Street off Albert Street, King’s Lynn, following a Zeppelin raid which took place on 19th January 1915. Despite the huge amount of damage caused by the bomb, the whole family – mother, father and three children – escaped with their lives. Next door, however, three of the four occupants suffered injury but only one needed hospital treatment 

Welsh Guardsmen in a reserve trench, Guillemont, September 1916. The Battle of Guillemont was part of the Battle of the Somme, the largest battle of the First World War, with over 1,000,000 men wounded or killed over both sides

Irish soldiers with their German captors at Sennelager prisoner of war camp, 1914/1915. This is most likely a staged propaganda photograph, although reports do show that officers were treated better than enlisted men. According to one prisoner’s account of Sennelager camp in September 1914, ‘it was an open field enclosed with wire’ and there were no tents or coverings in it of any kind. There were about 2,000 prisoners, all British. We lay on the ground with only one blanket for three men. Seated at the left of the table is Major William Egan DSO OBE, of the Royal Army Medical Corps

Canadian poet, physician, author, artist and soldier John McCrae wrote arguably the most famous piece of literature of World War 1. He was inspired to write ‘In Flanders Fields’ on the 3rd of May, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. Its reference to poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers led to the rise of remembrance poppies issued by the Royal British Legion

Canadian cyclists pose for a photograph at some point during the conflict. Quiet and stealthy, the bicycle covered just as much ground as a horse, but required far less care and attention, making the cyclists effective messengers in the theatre of war

A female British munitions worker makes shells for the soldiers fighting at the front during the First World War. The advancement in women’s rights in Europe is traced by many historians to this period, as thousands of women experienced working for the first time. This was exacerbated even further two decades later, during the Second World War

Bahadur (Bhaz Gul) was a hero of the 59th Scinde Rifles, who was promoted in the field for gallantry at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle (13th March 1915). With an officer and two other men, he was in a captured German trench when volunteers were called for to rescue some wounded men. Bahadur volunteered and, though exposed to heavy fire, succeeded in rescuing one man, and went back again to rescue a second, when he was hit by a German bullet and was severely wounded

This official photograph of a warm, dry, well-fed, smiling ‘Tommy Atkins’ at the front created an impression far removed from reality. Spirits were high initially however, when it was thought that the war would be over in a matter of months 

A group of Irish soldiers recuperating with nurses c1917. Pictured are two different nursing organisations, the Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS) and the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS). The TFNS wore a blue grey cape with a scarlet trim, and just visible on the uniforms of the nurses to the left of the image is a small silver ‘T’ which defines them as such

An interior view of the dugout occupied by officers of the 105th Howitzer Battery in Flanders, Ypres on 27th August 1917. Left to right: Captain Leslie Russell Blake MC Polar Medal (died of wounds on 3rd October 1918), Lieutenant David Ballantyne Ikin and Major Herbert Norman Morris. The three are shown as they look throw photographs from back home

Guy Archibald Forrest grew up in Cheltenham and was educated at Uppingham School, Rutland. After being granted a commission to the British Army, Forrest spent 1916 serving in Northern Egypt, and in August 1916, he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as a Flying Officer (Observer) attached to 14 Squadron, 5th Wing. He performed reconnaissance in the Hejaz region of Western Arabia in support of Lawrence of Arabia during the early stages of the Arab Revolt. In May 1917, having been promoted to Lieutenant and attached to 57 Reserve Squadron, 20th Reserve Wing, Forrest took part in a Special Duty Service Flight performing reconnaissance in the Northern Sinai region of Egypt. For the remainder of 1917, he was Recording Officer for 111 Squadron, 5th (later 40th) Wing, stationed in the Suez. Returning to Britain in December 1917, Forrest was attached to Home Defence Wing, initially in 39 Squadron whose duties were to intercept Zeppelin bombers attacking London. He was subsequently attached to 189 Night Training Squadron and then 153 Squadron shortly before relinquishing his commission in January 1919. For his services during World War 1 Lieutenant Forrest was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal

Irish soldiers of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers prepare to go to war. This picture was taken at Collins Barracks, Dublin in 1915. The original black and white photographs were painstakingly colourised to mark the 100th anniversary of World War One ending

Soldiers demonstrating the correct use of gas masks, intended to show stages in adjustment of a Small Box Respirator (SBR). The photograph, brought to life in stunning colour for the first time, was taken on the battlefield at some point in 1916 

An unknown British Colonel in Vignacourt, France. He is wearing the Military Cross medal ribbon, but I have not been able to work out the other ribbons. Based on his age, rank and the shades of grey, I have painted these as Boer War campaign medals, though this is merely speculation as I don’t know his identity 

Royal Garrison Artillery gunners pushing a light railway truck filled with shells, behind Zillebeke, 1st October 1917. In the distance, smoke can be seen rising in the air as fighting continues throughout the area, which is scarred from conflict 

New Zealand soldiers take a break from action, with some grabbing a bite to eat while others observe the scene surrounding them, in the Ypres Salient. Broken trees are dotted around the area from endless flak being dropped by both sides 

Alfred William Will was a serving police constable in Sutherland, Scotland when he enlisted on 15th June 1915, posted to the Royal Army Medical Corps. During WW1 he served 1 year with the 5th Sutherland Highland Rifle Volunteers in France and Flanders, obtained a commission and was promoted to Lieut. Special Lists (Interpreter) in July 1917. Alfred married Marion Sutherland on 3rd May 1917 and they had a daughter, Margaret on 11th February 1918. He was killed in an uprising on 25th May 1918. The medal ribbon shown in the photo is his Red Cross Medal

New Zealanders walking wounded at the Battle of Broodseinde ridge, the most successful Allied attack of Passchendaele. A YMCA stall just behind the lines allowed the men to get something to drink 

Edna C. Smith and William D. Cookson, an American soldier during the First World War. They were sweethearts who later married and became farmers in New Brunswick, Canada and Down, east Maine

British soldiers in a German trench, Messines, Belgium, 1917. Three officers stand outside the mouth of the trench whilst one sits on top of it and one stands inside it. They all appear happy or relaxed, presumably as they have just captured a German trench and all the supplies in it 

Second Lieutenant Albert Charles Fricker of the 10th Bn. East Yorkshire Regiment (Hull Pals).Albert attended Reading University College from 1912-1915 where he took intermediate science and graduated with BSc in 1915. After graduating, he signed up to fight in France, and died on his 23rd birthday, on the 27th February 1917 

A B-type bus converted into a pigeon loft enabling messages to be sent from the front line back to headquarters. It is understood by military historians that 100,000 carrier pigeons were used as messengers throughout the Great War and records show they delivered 95 per cent of their messages correctly.

Charles Martin King Parsons and his brother Maurice John Parsons, dated 1916. He is dressed in a fusilier uniform, and later went on to join the Royal Flying Corps and was promoted to 2nd Lt. In the RAF in April 1920. In the Second World War he was given a chaplaincy n 6th November 1943 and was one of the first to enter Bergen Belsen prison camp after liberation. Maurice (seated) was a Private 528 in the 33rd Battalion, B Company of the First Australian Imperial Force, (marked by the small green & black disk on his shoulder). His unit embarked from Sydney, new South Wales on 4th May 1916 with the intention of heading to Egypt, but en route they were directed (via Durban, Cape Town and Dakar) to England, arriving on 9th July 1916

Open air cookery in a steel helmet near Miraumont-le-Grand. Three officers making themselves comfortable, during the Battle of the Somme, 1916. Steel helmets had many more uses than the War Office might have intended, in this case for a stew being prepared for several soldiers

An unknown soldier from ‘A’ Squadron, the North Irish Horse Regiment on horseback, photographed at Vignacourt, France. Pictured in the backgroud is a group of fascinated youngsters admiring the soldier and his steed

Charles Djalma Moucan, of the 4th Algerian Rifle Regiment in 1918. Charles would go on to be awarded the medals Croix de Guerre and Croix du Combattant and was called up again in WW2 aged 45 in the pay corps. The lanyard is in the colour of the Legion of Honour. In order to receive such a lanyard, a Regiment had to receive six unit citations and only 11 French Regiments received six unit citations during the war

A shell bursts off the beach of Gallipoli, 1915. The caption on the original image was written by Dr. Andrew Horne of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Ireland 

North African soldiers enjoy lunch possibly on farming leave in El Kseur. Note the khaki style uniforms issued to Algerian units. Stood at the back is Charles Djalma Moucan 

An unknown soldier of the Durham Light Infantry. He is sporting the ribbon of the Military Cross and may well have been a well known man, photographed at Vignacourt, France 

Men of the 8th Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry playing cards near Ypres, 1st October 1917. The men can be seen laughing and joking during downtime in what was one of the bloodiest wars in history

Soldiers inspect a garden and destroyed cherry tree, following a raid made by a single German aeroplane on Colchester on 21st February 1915. The bomb landed in the back garden of 41 Butt Road, the home of Quartermaster-Sergeant Rabjohn of 20th Hussars and his family. Rabjohn, his wife and their child escaped injury

Artillery stripped trees and a signboard pointing the way for pack transport. The other-worldliness of this ravaged landscape at Courcelette, shrouded in clouds of dust or smoke, leaves a lasting impression. The foreground is littered with many objects, including an abandoned carriage and a sign stating ‘pack transport this way’

K. Balogh was born in Hungary on the 3rd of July 1897, here pictured in 1918. In WW1 Kálmán served in the Royal Hungarian Hussars and on the 1st November 1915 was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. He was awarded the Bronze Medal for Bravery and Karl Troop Cross, in 1917 & 1918 respectively serving in the Serbian Campaign

Horses pull makeshift sleds through the mud. The animals provided a serious amount of versatility towards the war effort of each military power. The strong animals were used to cart munitions and materials around battlefields, while officers also rode them during combat in some cases

A group of Indian soldiers armed in a trench, 1915. The hoods they are wearing are gas masks; the First World War was the first war in which manufactured poison gas was used as a weapon on a large scale. The men’s eyes were covered with a mesh allowing them to aim their weapons

Harry Colebourn was born in Birmingham in 1887 and moved to Canada when he was 18, eventually moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba. At the outbreak of the First World War, Colebourn returned to England as a veterinarian and soldier with the Royal Canadian Army Veterinary Corps (CAVC). As he was heading across Canada by train to embark for England, Colebourn came across a hunter in White River, Ontario who had a female black bear cub for sale, having killed the cub’s mother. Colebourn purchased the cub for $20, named her ‘Winnie’ after his adopted home town, and took her across the Atlantic with him to Salisbury Plain where she became the unofficial mascot of the CAVC

Soldiers inspect damage following a raid made by a single German aeroplane on Colchester on 21st February 1915. Such raids would become increasingly common throughout the centurywith the advent of aircraft capable of carrying heavier payloads

A Canadian soldier and his horse wear gas masks at the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps Headquarters. Horses were primarily to be used as a form of transport during the war. Historians suggest that some 8 million horses and mules were killed during the Great War

Charles Djalma Moucan, a tirailleur (French for sharpshooter) of the 4th Algerian Rifle Regiment in Sousse Tunisia circa 1916. During WW1 tirailleurs from North African territories served on the Western Front as well as at Gallipoli, incurring heavy losses. Note the dog tags on his wrist. Two were issued; one for the wrist, the other was worn around the neck

Soldiers from the 1st Australian Imperial Force, shown at a military base in their home country around 1916. From a population of fewer than five million, 416,809 men from Australia enlisted, of whom more than 60,000 were killed and 156,000 wounded

Soldiers build a new dug out as they advance. By the end of 1914, both sides had built a series of trenches that stretched from the North Sea through Belgium and France. As a result, neither side gained much ground for three and a half years from 1914 to 1918

Guardsman James Murray, service no. 11414, 2nd Battalion Scots Guards. He was killed in the Battle of Festubert on 16th May 1915 

An army chaplain conducts a burial service while a burial party stand, paying their respects, at the Battle of Guillemont, 4th September 1916. Thousands of men were buried where they fell during the conflict, leading to mass war graves across Europe

A lieutenant of the Siamese Transport Corps, in the village of Geinsheim, Neustadt, Germany in 1918. The Kingdom of Siam (now Thailand) is a relatively unknown member of the allied forces during WW1, but after joining the war on the side of Britain and France, Siam sent an Expeditionary Force to France to serve on the Western Front

Soldiers of 3rd Canadian Infantry Battalion with their unit’s goat mascot in August 1916. As many as 286 soldiers of the 3rd Battalion were taken prisoner during the war – all but 21 during the 2nd Battle of Ypres during April and May 1915 

Thomas Rose of the 6th Iniskilling Dragoon Guards. Thomas was 16 when he volunteered in 1914 and survived the Great War

A German Field Artillery crew poses with a 7.7 cm Feldkanone 96 field gun in 1914. Artillery was one of the defining instruments of war used during the conflict, enabling sides to reign down flak on enemy positions, such as trenches

Troops moving at Eventide. Men of a Yorkshire regiment on the march. This photo was taken by Ernest Brooks and serves as a poignant reminder of the thousands of men who left for Europe never to return

A ‘giant’ of the Austro Hungarian army, Corporal Istvan Kovacs served 2 years in Vienna as bodyguard of Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary. Istvan was chosen to be a bodyguard as he was the strongest man in his county. Throughout the Great War he served in the 69th Imperial and Royal Infantry Regiment.During his service on the Eastern Front, Istvan fell ill for a short period but returned successfully to his farms in Hungary and to his two sons. This photo was taken in 1918 and shows him wearing his Charles cross medal

Joshua Riley and unknown soldiers sit down for a posed photograph in Vignacourt, France 

Tom Marshall in his own words: ‘This image belonged to my great grandad Charles Smith Wallhead, and was signed “Yours Frank Sheard, Aug 20, 1917”. From his cap badge I’ve been able to find out that Frank served with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment 1914-1918 in the British Army. Sadly, I also found out that Frank was killed on 28th August 1918, aged 21 and is buried at the Reninghelst New Military Cemerery in Belgium. He was the son of Joe Lister Sheard and Alice Sheard of 5 Brick Bank, Almondbury, Huddersfield, West Riding of Yorkshire’

Soldiers of the Siamese Transport Corps, in the village of Geinsheim, Neustadt, Germany in 1918. The Siamese saw front line action in the middle of September 1918, shortly before the end of the war. When this photo was taken, Siamese troops were contributing to the occupation of the Rhineland, and took over control of the town of Neustad 

Sgt. Tom Millar and his sweetheart Barbara, during WW1. Sgt. Millar served with the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry in France, and with the Camel Corps in Egypt 

French troops on bicycles are pictured at a farmhouse in Belgium shortly after setting up camp near the site. Soldiers on bicycles were a common occurence in the Great War, but were rare by the outbreak of war once again in 1939 

An unknown soldier (possibly of the Leeds Rifles) sporting an injured hand is photographed at Vignacourt in France. Millions of soldiers returned home after the war with injuries and disfigurements, such was the barbarity of the weapons used in the global conflict

Two New Zealand soldiers look out of a dugout at the front line, Hebuterne in France. The photograph was taken on the 13th May 1918 by Henry Armytage Sanders. The sign above the entrance reads ‘The Diggers rest. Board and residence. Cold showers when it is wet. Herr Fritz’s Orchestra plays at frequent intervals.’

An unknown soldier with Two Years Overseas Service chevrons on his right sleeve and a Good Conduct (Three Years) chevron on his left sleeve, photographed at Vignacourt in France at some point during the conflict

A soldier of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry washing clothes in an Officer’s canvas bath, Ypres-Comines Canal, 1 October 1917. The photograph reveals what it was like as an everyday soldier outside of direct conflict with the enemy

Men of the 177 Tunneling Company Royal Engineers are pictured posing for a photograph among the wreckage of a town somewhere on mainland Europe

Arthur James Langran served with the Leicestershire Regiment (later Royal Leicestershire Regiment) during the First World War. His son Peter Francis Langran served with the same regiment during the Second World War

Irish Soldiers and civilians outside Collins Barracks, Dublin. The barracks was an army base for some 200 years before being renovated for use as a museum

Royal Dublin Fusiliers opening provisions, including Fray Bentos tinned meat and Jacob’s Biscuits. Taken at Collins Barracks, Dublin in 1915 

Tom Marshall in his own words: ‘This image belonged to my Great Grandad Charles Smith Wallhead, and was signed “Yours Sincerely J A Lovell”. From his shoulder badge I’ve worked out that he served with the Lincolnshire Yeomanry, the same as my great grandfather, and by searching online have found a record for John Arthur Lovell’

Men of the 6th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, resting beneath a tarpaulin and joking around in a rare moment of respite from the war raging around them. The picture was taken at Ypres-Comines Canal on 1st October 1917 

A Maori sergeant wearing the badges of the New Zealand Native Contingent, Paris, 1917. More than 2,000 Maori would serve during the four years of the conflict

An unknown Australian soldier. His fate in unknown, but the First World War remains the costliest conflict in terms of deaths and casualties, with 60,000 Australians never returning home from war

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