44 sad, tragic but mesmerising colourised images of WWI


God would never be cruel enough to create a cyclone as terrible as that Argonne battle. Only man would ever think of doing an awful thing like that.

It looked like “the abomination of desolation” must look like. And all through the long night those big guns flashed and growled.
And, oh my, we had to pass the wounded. And some of them were on stretchers going back to the dressing stations, and some of them were lying around, moaning and twitching. And the dead were all along the road. And it was wet and cold. And it all made me think of the Bible and the story of the Anti-Christ and Armageddon. Alvin C. York, in his account of 7 October 1918, in the Diary of Alvin York.


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. This makes these 100 year old images ‘alive’. 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.

New Zealand troops and the Mk IV (female) tank J32 ‘Jumping Jimmy’ of 10th Battalion ‘C’ Coy., in a trench near Gommecourt Wood, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.
10th August 1918.
(Photographer Henry James Sanders/National Library of New Zealand)

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

French Sailors visiting the Imperial German Navy SM UC-61 Type UC II minelaying submarine stranded on the beach near Wissant, Pas-de-Calais, France, in August 1917.

UC-61 was ordered on the 12th of January 1916, laid down on the 3rd of April 1916 by A.G. Weser of Bremen, and was launched on the 11th of November 1916. She was commissioned into the German Imperial Navy on the 13th of December 1916.
She had a deck gun, three torpedo tubes and carried six naval mines.
She had only 7 months of activity but in 5 patrols UC-61 was credited with sinking 11 merchant ships, either by torpedo or by mines laid.

Captain Georg Gerth, commander of SM UC-61 was on his 5th combat mission on the 25th of July 1917. The mission’s objective was to break through the French-British Dover Barrage and then lay mines in the shipping routes to the ports of Boulogne and Le Havre. Capt. Gerth had tried to navigate close to the coast between Cap Blanc Nez and Cap Gris Nez. However, he had overestimated the depth of the water along the route. Suddenly, the crew heard the keel grating on the sand. The U-boat was stranded on a sandbank and irretrievably lost.

Capt.Gerth new that it would not take long for the conning tower to come to the surface due to the falling tide. His only option was to abandon ship, destroy her and surrender to the enemy.
In the darkness of that night, nearby French customs officers heard the attempts by the crew to scuttle the sub and they alerted the nearest military force, namely the 5th Regiment of Belgian Lancers. The cavalrymen rushed to the scene but the crew managed to break the hull in half with a heavy explosion.
The crew were apprehended and ordered to walk the 20kms distance to Calais, escorted by the Lancers.
The wreck was left with several unexploded naval mines on board.

“La Finale”
In Calais, a Belgian engineer Pierre Van Deuren, had been testing a recently designed trench mortar (named after him), and was investigating the possibility of mounting this weapon on the deck of a ship – against submarines.
This could now be tested in September 1917 thanks to SM UC-61 being stranded on the beach near Wissant. As she was 4-5 metres under water at high tide, it was possible to examine the effects of explosions on a submerged sub.
First fire was opened on the target from the beach. The fifteenth mortar round fell so close to the target that the shock of the explosion set off the naval mines

in the bow in a chain reaction. The entire bow was destroyed.
The French evaluation was impressed. (Luc Vandewyer)

(source – ECPAD (Établissement de Communication et de Production Audiovisuelle de la Défense) SPA-6-OS-83)

(Colourisation by Paul Reynolds.)

10354898_550680131742510_7550616784411219300_n“Portrait of an unidentified member of the 24th Australian Battalion at a frozen water point. He is wearing a sheepskin vest and balaclava. Note the large icicles hanging from the timber beams and the snow on the ground.” France 1916
(Australian War memorial – ID number EZ0123)

Note: the AWM file of this image claims the person in it is unidentified. However, in Anthony Staunton’s ‘Victoria Cross: Australia’s Finest and the Battles they Fought’ it has been conclusively identified as Whittle.
“An informal portrait of Sergeant John Woods Whittle VC DCM at a frozen water point in France during 1916.” (possibly January)

We think that if this photo was indeed taken in early 1916, then he would still have been a Private, he wasn’t promoted to Sergeant until October 1916. (so the photo could have been taken later)
He was awarded the DCM for action in February 1917 and the VC in April of the same year.

(Colourisation by Johnny Sirlande from Belgium)



Remembrance Sunday (re-post from May 2014)

Battle of Épehy .
A British wounded soldier and a German prisoner sharing a cigarette at an Advanced Dressing Station near Épehy , 18 September 1918.
Note the captured German Maxim 08/15 (Spandau) light machine guns in the background.
(© IWM Q 11538)
Photograph by 2nd Lt. Thomas Keith Aitken

(Colourised by Doug UK)


Troops carrying a stretcher-case back along a duck board track through a landscape of mud and shell-holes near Ypres, 15 February 1918.

(Photograph by 2nd Lt. Thomas Keith Aitken)
(© IWM Q 10661)

(Colourised by Doug UK)


Germans soldiers relaxing in a farm house in Gouzeaucourt, in the Nord department in northern France. c.1915.

Gouzeaucourt is a large village that was on the Hindenburg Line battlefields reached by the British in early 1917 and fought over in the Battle of Cambrai that year and in much of the fighting of 1918.

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)


Lancashire Fusiliers in a flooded communication trench, showing wire. St.Yves, near Ploegsteert Wood, January 1917.

(Photo by Lt. John Warwick Brooke )
(© IWM Q 4662)Brooke,

“On the 22nd of January 1917 the Lancs took over the trenches at St Yves near Ploegsteert. That afternoon the Germans opened a heavy bombardment which caused great damage to the defences.The Germans then attacked with three groups of about 30 men.The first group were driven back by Lewis gun fire but the other two made it to the front line at ‘Broken Tree House’ and began advancing in both directions down the trench. 2nd Lt Nathan organised his men, despite being wounded by a bomb and held off the attackers on both flanks. Meanwhile 2nd Lt Rufus put together a bombing party and set off for the enemy. Captain Beswick, who had been in reserve, set up a platoon and a Lewis gun team. The three officer’s parties converged on the Germans who did not hang around for a fight. In this pointless action the enemy had gained nothing and the Fusiliers had lost 1 officer and 18 other ranks killed with another 29 wounded.” (My Ypres Salient Homage)

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)
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The Australian 12th M.G. Company, 45th Battalion, 12th Brigade, 4th Division, near Anzac Ridge at Polygon Wood in the Ypres Sector, where very heavy casualties were sustained.
Photo taken on the 28th of September, 1917.

‘Sgt. John Francis Coyle’s photo (from his war album) with his own notation of his shrapnel wound received – injured with Bill(?) on the 26th of September 1917’.

JFC – In his own words….

“This time the M.G’s were boxing on at Polygon Wood (it was also referred to as the “Passchendaele Stunt”). About the muddiest, dirtiest joint I’ve ever been in. I did very little here. In fact it was a shame to take the money let alone the medal. At this stage of the carnival I happened to be a full blown Sergeant.

My job was to look after four gun Crews and keep the guns firing on the set target until the infantry in front of us he gained their objective. This we did to some effect, because they got there as planned and with fewer casualties than reckoned on (I often wondered how the poor fellas got through the mud so well and with such good results as we were just about up to the seat of our strides in this same slimy slurry – in some parts of the ditch anyway).

The only dangerous part I took in this stunt was to keep moving to and from each gun-pit checking the guns and issuing orders to each No 1 as to how many shots and at what intervals he was to give the bursts. Jerry was putting over quite a lot of shrapnel and eventually got uncomfortably close to our well concealed positions.

A Tom Brown from Queensland kept telling me to take cover or you’ll certainly catch a pellet or two. I had hardly finished saying to him “That’ll be just bad luck, Tom” when a piece of ‘shrap’ smacked me behind the right shoulder. Tom applied a field bandage and I stayed for a while but the bleeding continued. Later the barrage died down and the battle was just about over, so down to casualty clearing went Sgt. Coyle.

From there they sent me to Rouen Base Hospital where I spent five beautiful, restful days and nights lying about in a lovely clean bed. Then they tramped me back to my Unit. I wasn’t very sorry about it because hadn’t two bob to my name and had no chance of getting any pay until I rejoined the Unit.”

“Up to Polygon Wood and the filthy mud once more. We were only there four days then we were withdrawn for a spell. And that was the last stunt I had in [that area of] Belle France. Our 12th Coy. Machine Gunners were again mentioned in despatches so we must have done a satisfactory job here.”

Lieutenant John Francis Coyle – MM & Bar, Croix de Guerre
World War One Service at Gallipoli & the Western Front
(B: 1895 – D:1973)

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Colourized-pictures-of-the-world-wars-and-other-periods-in-time/182158581977012 10934004_591982194278970_1258137195195118266_nRoyal Army Medical Corps stretcher-bearers carrying a wounded German prisoner down a road in Hermies (which is a town in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, approximately 3.5 kilometres south of the road from Bapaume to Cambrai)
20th November 1917.

(© IWM Q 3180 Photographer -Lt. Ernest Brooks)

There were two types of Stretcher Bearers (SBs) in the Great War; Regimental SBs and those in the Royal Army Medical Corps. The ones at regimental level were in infantry battalions; traditionally in peace time these men were part of the battalion band and were musicians as well as SBs, but following the formation of Kitchener’s Army in 1914 that gradually began to change and men were selected for the aptitude rather than their ability to play an instrument, with the medical training coming second. Regimental SBs were the first port of call for battlefield wounded; they would search the battlefield for casualties and take them to the Regimental Aid Post for treatment by the RMO – the Regimental Medical Officer – usually a Lieutenant or Captain from the RAMC. From here they would be taken to a collection point where SBs from the RAMC would take over and transport them back to the nearest Advanced Dressing Station (ADS) or Main Dressing Station (MDS).

The weight of a wounded man was something to be reckoned with and while in pre-war training SBs practiced in pairs, the reality on mud-soaked battlefields was that it would take more personnel to evacuate each casualty even on relatively good ground; as illustrated here.

The Royal Army Medical Corps was formed in 1898 to properly provide medical facilities for soldiers on the battlefields. Many useful lessons had been learnt from the Boer War and the advance in medicine in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods meant that by 1914 the RAMC provided among the best medical facilities of any combattant nation in Europe. As the army expanded the RAMC likewise had to grow too and the most common form of RAMC unit during WW1 was the Field Ambulance. These consisted of 10 officers and 224 men who operated close to the battlefield providing immediate medical treatment for casualties being brought in from the areas where the fighting was taking place. At a Field Ambulance a wounded soldier would be treated, stabilised and assessed and most likely moved on to the next level of medical facility – usually a Casualty Clearing Station – by ambulance; either horse drawn or motorized.

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)



Kurhessisches Reserve Infanterie Regt. Nr. 83/25th.Reserve Div. at Ravin du Helly (Minze-Schlucht), Douamont, Verdun. October 1916.

On the 24th of October 1916 a major French offensive on the East Bank of Verdun retook a number of major landmarks. This included the Village and Fort of Douaumont, the honour of which fell to the 38th Division d’Infanterie. On the left flank of the 8eme Tirailleurs took the Bois de Nawe. To their right, arriving out of the Bois des Trois Cornes the 4th Zouaves attacked across the Thiaumont-Schlucht (Ravin de la Dame) and the Albain-Schlucht (Ravin de la Couleuvre) reaching the high ground to the west of the ruins of the village Douaumont looking down into the Minze-Schlucht (Ravin du Helly). Resistance was weak as the German 25. Reserve Division facing the left wing of the 38eme Division d’Infanterie was already exhausted after months of fighting, dysentery, fever and days under the French bombardment. The German division was waiting for its relief and transport to a quiet zone when the 24th of October offensive rolled over them.

(Colourised by Doug UK)


A sniper of the 6th Battalion, the York and Lancaster Regiment, 32nd Brigade comes out of his post in a front line trench at Cambrin, 6th February, 1918.
(© IWM Q 8454)

The 6th (Service) Battalion was raised at Pontefract in Yorkshire in August 1914. It arrived on the Western Front in July 1916 with 11th (Northern) Division. During the war the York and Lancaster Regiment raised 22 battalions, suffering over 48,000 casualties out of the 57,000 men who served. 8,800 of the latter were killed.

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A Stokes 3 inch trench mortar and emplacement manned by a battery from the West Yorkshire Regiment at Cambrin in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France.
6th of February 1918. © IWM (Q 8461)

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A scene on the Menin Road near Hooge, looking towards Birr Cross Roads, during the battle on 20 September 1917. The wounded on the stretchers are waiting to be taken to the clearing stations; others able to walk are making their way along the road as far as possible.

Identified are: Major (Maj) G A M Heydon MC, Regimental Medical Officer of the 8th Battalion (fifth from the left with his arm in a sling). To his left is Private W Bain and next to him is Private (Pte) ‘Spud’ Murphy. To Pte Murphy’s left (wearing a pack) is Lance Corporal (LCpl) Roy Arthur Findlay MM, all are members of the 1st Field Ambulance.

Shortly after the photograph was taken a shell landed in approximately the area where Maj Heydon and Pte Murphy had been standing. The shell killed most of the wounded on stretchers and LCpl Findlay was blown under the truck, shown lying on its side to the right.

Hooge and the Birr X roads (also known as Birr Cross Roads) are located to the east of Ypres and north east of Zillebeke in Belgium. In 1917, the 20th Battalion fought near Ypres in the Battle of Menin Road in September 1917. From Westhoek Ridge they attacked Hannabeek (Hanabeek) Wood, north east of Westhoek, capturing and holding their objective against two counter attacks. They were relieved by the 19th Battalion on the night of 21 September.

(Photograph by Frank Hurley, Australian War Memorial E00711)

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

British infantry from The Wiltshire Regiment advancing to the attack through the wire near Thiepval, during the Battle of the Somme, 7th August 1916

This could be either the 1st Battalion, part of 7th Brigade, 25th Division, or the 6th Battalion, part of 58th Brigade, 19th Division. Both battalions took part in operations of Battle of Pozières and Battle of Mouquet Farm.

(Photographer, Lt. Ernest Brooks)(© IWM Q 1142)

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Canadian MGC with their Vickers .303 machine guns, dug in shell holes during consolidation after the battle at Vimy Ridge, 9th-12th April, 1917.
(Library and Archives Canada – O.1146)

Attacking together for the first time, four Canadian divisions stormed the ridge at 5:30am on 9 April 1917. More than 15,000 Canadian infantry overran the Germans all along the front. Incredible bravery and discipline allowed the infantry to continue moving forward under heavy fire, even when their officers were killed. There were countless acts of sacrifice, as Canadians single-handedly charged machine-gun nests or forced the surrender of Germans in protective dugouts. Hill 145, the highest and most important feature of the Ridge, and where the Vimy monument now stands, was captured in a frontal bayonet charge against machine-gun positions. Three more days of costly battle delivered final victory. The Canadian operation was an important success, even if the larger British and French offensive, of which it had been a part, had failed. But it was victory at a heavy cost: 3,598 Canadians were killed and another 7,000 wounded.

The capture of Vimy was more than just an important battlefield victory. For the first time all four Canadian divisions attacked together: men from all regions of Canada were present at the battle. Brigadier-General A.E. Ross declared after the war, “in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation.”

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Colourized-pictures-of-the-world-wars-and-other-periods-in-time/18215858197701210423960_460374690773055_7932299088363288895_nBritish 55th (West Lancashire) Division troops blinded by a gas attack, await treatment at an Advanced Dressing Station near Bethune during the Battle of Estaires, Nord-Pas-de-Calais on the 10th of April 1918, part of the German offensive in Flanders.
The bandages were normally water-soaked to provide a rudimentary form of pain relief to the eyes of casualties before they reached more organized medical help.
© IWM (Q 11586)

‘Battle of Estaires’ (9–11 April 1918)
The German bombardment opened on the evening of 7th April, against the southern part of the Allied line between Armentières and Festubert. The barrage continued until dawn on the 9th of April. The Sixth Army then attacked with eight divisions. The German assault struck the Portuguese 2nd Division, which held a front of about 11 kilometres (6.8 mi). The Portuguese division was overrun and withdrew towards Estaires. The British 55th Division, to the south of the Portuguese in a more defensible position, pulled back its northern brigade and held its ground for the rest of the battle, despite attacks from two German reserve divisions. The British 40th Division (to the north of the Portuguese) collapsed under the German attack and fell back to the north.
General Horne committed his reserves (1st King Edward’s Horse, 11th Cyclist Battalion) to stem the German breakthrough but they too were defeated. The Germans broke through 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) of front and advanced up to 8 kilometres (5.0 mi), the most advanced probe reaching Estaires on the Lys. There they were finally halted by British reserve divisions. On 10th of April, the Sixth Army tried to push west from Estaires but was contained for a day; pushing north against the flank of Second Army, it took Armentières.

(Colourised by Doug UK)

UntitledBritish infantry from The Wiltshire Regiment advancing to the attack through the wire near Thiepval, during the Battle of the Somme, 7th August 1916

This could be either the 1st Battalion, part of 7th Brigade, 25th Division, or the 6th Battalion, part of 58th Brigade, 19th Division. Both battalions took part in operations of Battle of Pozières and Battle of Mouquet Farm.

(Photographer, Lt. Ernest Brooks)(© IWM Q 1142)

(Colourised by Doug UK)


A wounded British soldier showing the shrapnel damage to his steel helmet caused near Beaumont-Hamel, on the Somme Front in December 1916.
(© IWM Q 1778)
(Colourised by Doug UK)


A very sad image – the image of war


An Australian carrying his wounded mate to a medical aid post for treatment near Suvla on the Aegean coast of Gallipoli peninsula in the Ottoman Empire, 1915.
The view is looking north-west from Walker’s Ridge towards the Suvla Plain. © IWM (Q 13622)

The eight month campaign in Gallipoli was fought by Commonwealth and French forces in an attempt to force Turkey out of the war, to relieve the deadlock of the Western Front in France and Belgium, and to open a supply route to Russia through the Dardanelles and the Black Sea.

The Allies landed on the peninsula on 25-26 April 1915; the 29th Division at Cape Helles in the south and the Australian and New Zealand Corps north of Gaba Tepe on the west coast, an area soon known as Anzac.

On 25 April, Walker’s Ridge was the post of command of Brigadier-General Walker, then commanding the New Zealand Infantry Brigade. It was held by a mixed force until 27 April, when the New Zealanders took it over. A Turkish attempt to take the ridge on 30 June was repulsed by the 8th and 9th Australian Light Horse.

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Amid the appalling devastation and bodies of dead soldiers, a crucifix stands tall – miraculously preserved from the shell fire. This powerful image was captured after a bloody skirmish in 1917 by Walter Kleinfeldt a young German artilleryman.
His son Volkmar, who has recently made available Walters photo collection says, “This photograph is like an accusation – an accusation against war”

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British Gun Carrier Mk.1, Supply Tank version (‘Harwich’ GC141). Bucquoy, Pas-de-Calais. August 1918
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(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)10369093_452892428187948_4453939068464514268_o

German A7V Sturmpanzerwagen (Nº504 “Schnuck”) Abteilung 2.
Captured by the New Zealand Division at Frémicourt, Nord-Pas-de-Calais. 31st August 1918 (photo taken 18/9/18).
The A7V had a crew of 18 men and was powered by two 100hp Daimler engines.
It was armed with one 57mm Gun and six machine guns.
“Schnuck” was displayed in London on Horse Guards Parade in 1918/19 and given to the Imperial War Museum in 1919 but disposed of in 1922 with only the main gun kept.
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A German prisoner helps British wounded make their way to a dressing station near Bernafay Wood following fighting on Bazentin Ridge, 19 July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. (© IWM Q 800)

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

A sergeant of the Lancashire Fusiliers in a flooded dugout opposite Messines near Ploegsteert Wood, January 1917.
© IWM (Q 4665)
(Colourised by Doug Banks from the UK)10382828_450860161724508_6999479705785542045_n

The artist Jean-Julien Lemordant injured during WW1. Colorized by Jean Marie Gillet.
Picture taken in 1917.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France ref: EI-13(2569)


Troops of the British 57th and 59th Divisions (XI Corps) entering Lille, France, 18 October 1918.
(© IWM (Q 9579)
(Colourised By Doug Banks from the UK)
10401621_451431161667408_6152154850386074379_nThe crew of a Bavarian 7.7cm Feldkanone 96.
In 1914, the FK96 was the most numerous gun in the German arsenal, with around 5,100 of them ready to be brought into action. It was the workhorse of the Feldartillerie regiments and played a part in nearly every battle fought during WW1.
A trained gunnery crew could supply a rate-of-fire of 10 rounds per minute. Muzzle velocity of each exiting round was 1,525 feet per second with an effective range of 6,000 yards. (photo from the Drakegoodman collection)
(Colourised by Doug UK)


Infantrymen of the 1st Australian Division during a rest in the dugouts at Ypres, 1917. (Photo taken by Frank Hurley)

“In Ypres the troops often lived in underground cellars, but almost continuous shelling from the German lines made the ruined city nearly as dangerous as the front lines. Getting to and from it from Steenvorde, where Hurley had his quarters and photographic darkroom, was a constantly hazardous undertaking (Sept 23 1917).”

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

Infanterie-Regiment Vogel von Falkenstein (7. Westfälisches) Nr.56. (Drakegoodman collection)

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The British Mk.II (Male) tank Nº.C-47 ‘Lusitania’ of 9 Co. ‘C’ Battalion at Arras, Nord-Pas-de-Calais. April 1917.
On April 9th the ‘Lusitania’ assisted stalled troops at Railway Triangle east of Arras, enabling that objective to be taken. The Lusitania broke down with a magneto failure, and had to be left on the battlefield, where she was destroyed by British gunfire the following day.
(The ‘male’ tank was armed with three 8 mm Hotchkiss Machine Guns and two long barrelled 6 pounder (57mm) naval guns. The intention of the ‘male’ was to attack other gun emplacements and strong points.)
© IWM (Q 3184)
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B Company, 29th Battalion, 8th Brigade, 5th Division, Australian Imperial Force at
Warfusée -Abancourt, Northern France.
8th August 1918.

Lieutenant Rupert Frederick Arding Downes MC addressing his Platoon from B Company, 29th Battalion, during a rest near the villages of Warfusee and Lamotte before the advance onto Harbonnieres, the battalion’s second objective. The background is obscured by the smoke of heavy shellfire.

Pictured, left to right: 5085 Sergeant (Sgt) William Patrick O’Brien; 4271 Private (Pte) James Cryer; 4103 Pte Charles Alfred Olive; 677 Lance Corporal (L Cpl) Louis Price MM; 5095 Pte Harry James Phillips; 4733 Pte Horace Joseph Buckley; 509 L Cpl Alexander Bethuen Craven; 5088 Pte Patrick O’Grady; 5057 Pte Timothy Leyden; 5116 Pte Edward Thomlinson; 5014 Pte Herbert Davidson; 6827 Pte Horace John Towers; 4349 L Cpl Thomas John Barrett Pope; 2568 Pte John Leslie Gordon Arlow; 3207 L Cpl John Bird; 560 Pte Frederick George Hall (front of line); Lieutenant R. F. A. Downes MC (right). Note: Sgt O’Brien, of Gordon, Vic, a schoolteacher in civilian life, was killed in action on 9 August 1918; Pte Cryer was born at Bury, Lancashire, a farmer when he enlisted at Armidale, NSW, later transferring to the 32nd Battalion; Pte Olive of Lara, Vic, initially rejected before enlisting in September 1916, was killed in action near Bellicourt on 30 September 1918; L Cpl Price MM of Maryborough, Vic, an original member of B company, was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in Belgium in 1917, and later transferred to the 32nd Battalion; Pte Phillips, a packer in civilian life, the youngest in the platoon at nineteen years of age, was wounded on 29 August 1918, returning to Australia in December 1918; Pte Buckley, a clerk of Kyneton, Vic, was wounded in action on 9 August 1918, later transferring to the 32nd Battalion where his frequent periods of absenteeism continued; L Cpl Craven, a labourer of Ballarat, Vic, served three years with the battalion before transferring to the 32nd Battalion; Pte O’Grady of Galway, Ireland was employed as a miller in Melbourne, Vic, before enlistment and he also transferred to the 32nd Battalion; Pte Leyden of Trentham, Vic, a railway employee in civilian life, was gassed on 27 August 1918, transferring to the 5th Battalion on 22 November 1918; Pte Thomlinson a driver of Stawell, Vic, the oldest member of the platoon at forty four years of age, was taken on strength with the battalion on 6 June 1918, later transferring to the 32nd Battalion, as did Pte Davidson, a leather worker of Brunswick, Vic; Pte Towers a farm labourer of Cootamundra, NSW, later transferred to the 32nd Battalion, and was admitted to the Abbeville Hospital on 9 November 1918 suffering broncho-pneumonia where he died on 11 November 1918; L Cpl Pope, born at Westbury-on-Tyne, Gloucestershire, a farmer of Sydney, NSW, was wounded in action on 30 September 1918; Pte Arlow of Warrnambool, Vic, a blacksmith in civilian life, was killed in action near Bellicourt on 30 September 1918; L Cpl Bird, a carpenter

of South Melbourne, Vic, later transferred to the 32nd Battalion; Pte Hall, an iron moulder of South Melbourne, Vic, an original member of B company, was wounded in action twice. Lieutenant Downes MC of Camden, NSW, was an orchardist prior to enlistment, sailed as a second lieutenant and was promoted to lieutenant in May 1917. He was awarded the Military Cross for “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty” at Morlancourt in July 1918 and like most of his men was transferred to the 32nd Battalion with the reorganisation of battalions which took place in 1918.

(This image Nº E02790 was supplied by Garth O’Connell from the Australian War Memorial and received with thanks)

(Colourised by Doug UK)


A soldier of the Royal Irish Rifles captured by the Germans during the Ludendorff Offensive (Operation Michael) of March/April 1918.
(© IWM Q 23839)

The attack, began after a five-hour 6,000-gun artillery bombardment as 65 divisions from the German 2nd, 17th and 18th Armies attacked the British 3rd and 5th Armies along a 60-mile front in the Somme on 21 March, it met with dazzling early successes – particularly to the west and south-west of St Quentin, where the German 18th Army made immense and unexpected progress against formations of the British Fifth Army. Slower progress was made in the centre and in the north where obstinate British resistance threw the main offensive off-course. Pragmatic and opportunistic readjustments to original objectives and the major rebuff dealt the Germans at Arras on 28 March reduced and redirected the offensive towards the secondary goal of Amiens – with a view to splitting of the British and French armies. But crucial allied defensive actions around Villers-Bretonneux denied the Germans even of this prize and the ‘Great Battle in France’ was called off in favour of new attempts at decisive breakthrough in Flanders.

(Colourised by Doug UK)


A Canadian soldier wounded in his shoulder and leg, drinking hot coffee at a soup kitchen 100 yards from the German lines at Hill 70.
The Battle of Hill 70 was a localized battle of World War I between the Canadian Corps and five divisions of the German Sixth Army. The battle took place along the Western Front on the outskirts of Lens in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France between 15 August 1917 and 25 August 1917.
(Reference Code: C 224-0-0-10-10
Archives of Ontario, I0004820)

(Colourised by Doug UK)


Men of the Border Regiment resting in ‘funk holes’ (scraped out dugouts) near Thiepval Wood during the Battle of the Somme, July/August 1916.
(© IWM Q 872)

The Colour Sergeant (on the left) wears the padded cap, the man lying on the top is using a groundsheet as bedding and has laid out his 1908 pattern webbing with small pack, entrenching tool and water bottle by his feet.


d by Tom Thou

naojam from Imphal in India)10389719_450887688388422_5234727482276113652_n

‘A Helping Hand’ – Casualties and Prisoners of War on the Western Front
Canadian soldiers and German POWs at the Battle of Hill 70, north of Lens in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France between 15 August 1917 and 25 August 1917.
(Colourised by Doug Banks from the UK)10391398_463965233747334_5577821258108214135_n

As Britain and France waged war against Germany in Europe and in Africa, Britain called upon help from her Imperial troops. Indian soldiers in the Indian Army arrived in Europe from September 1914. The first of these Indian troops arrived in Marseilles on 26 September 1914. They came from the Lahore and Meerut Divisions and the Secunderbad Cavalry. In October, Indians were fed into some of the fiercest fighting at Ypres. In March 1915, Indian troops provided half the attacking force at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, which was the costliest in terms of lives.

Wounded Indians who had fought in France were sent to Britain to recover. In Brighton, the Royal Pavilion was transformed into a military hospital for Indian soldiers. During their time spent recuperating, Indians were visited by the King and the Royal Family. Tours were also organized for them to visit London and see the sights. The religious needs of the soldiers was taken into account, with nine kitchens erected to cater for the various dietary regulations of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims and areas were cordoned off for worship. Various other buildings were also converted into nursing homes for these soldiers. Two memorials exist in Brighton to commemorate the Indian soldiers who came through during the War – the Chattri on the South Downs and the Pavilion Gateway (unveiled by Bhupinder Singh in 1921).

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

The Battle of Thiepval.
An exhausted British soldier asleep in a front line trench at Thiepval, Somme. September 1916.
© IWM (Q 1071)
(Colorised by Alain D’amato from France)


An armourer loading grenades and signal flares onto a Halberstadt CL.II “Brünhilde” of Schlasta 27b at Boucheneuil airfield Belgium. April 1918
(Colourised by Doug UK)10455005_469928946484296_4087960959320751442_o

A smiling artilleryman with the post for his battery, near Aveluy on the Somme, September 1916.

(Photograph by Lt. Ernest Brooks)
(© IWM Q 1152)

(Colourised by Doug UK)


British Mk IV (Female) tank, ‘Escapade’ (Nº2815) , broken down and captured by the Germans near Cambrai, France.
Commanded by 2nd Lieut. Black of 1 Section, ‘E’ Battalion, 13 Company, tasked as a wire crusher.
Flesquières, 20th November 1917.
Possibly belonging to 152 Brigade, 51st Highland Division.

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Colourized-pictures-of-the-world-wars-and-other-periods-in-time/18215858197701210553521_484961201647737_5399038729132089086_nThe Battle of Pilckem Ridge: Crossing the Yser Canal at Boesinghe, 31st July 1917.

The offensive began on 31 July 1917, but made disappointingly small gains. The British artillery bombardment, which was needed to shatter the enemy’s defensive trench system, also wrecked the low-lying region’s drainage system, and unusually heavy rainy weather turned the ground into a wasteland of mud and water-filled craters. For three months, British troops suffered heavy casualties for limited gains.

(© IWM Q 2635)

(Colourised by Doug)


Personnel of the 16th Canadian Machine Gun Company holding the line in shell holes during the Second Battle of Passchendaele, November 1917.
(Library and Archives Canada NºO.2246)

The 16th C.M.G. Coy. was the Divisional Reserve MG Company, 4th Canadian Infantry Division.

The machine-gunner closest to the camera, on the left, is Private Reginald Le Brun (790913), he was the only survivor from this photograph.

‘Being Alone’ by Reginald Le Brun:
“They pushed the machine guns right out in front. There was nothing between us and the Germans across the swamp. Three times during the night they shelled us heavily…..by
morning, of our team of six, only my buddy Private Tombes and I were left. Then came the burst that got Tombes…..it was a terrible feeling to be the only one left.”

(Colourised by Doug UK )

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