Royston Leonard /

By Timmy Odejimi

THE HORRIFYING surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial Navy Air Service have been brought back to life through the work of a British electrician.

Pearl Harbor. Royston Leonard /

The remarkable pictures show vast war ships and a PBY flying boat burning from the bombs dropped by the Japanese air service who began the attack at 7:55 a.m. on Sunday, December 7, 1941.

Other alarming images show sailors trying to salvage the remaining PBY flying boats which were burning to the ground right in front of their eyes.

A PBY burning. Royston Leonard /

The mind-blowing pictures have been expertly colourised by electrician Royston Leonard (54) from Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. Royston digitally paints over the black and white images and mixes his colours on screen.

“War is horrific, there’s never really a winner especially at the ground level of the battlefield,” said Royston.


Royston Leonard /

“I feel by colourising these pictures it helps the younger generation understand what happened.

“The attack was something real and devastating – the pictures revived in colour show the world at a terrible time in history.


US Shaw. Royston Leonard /

“I just colour, the message is already there for all to see in the pictures itself.”

The attack on Pearl Harbour was against the United States naval base at the Hawaii territory, lasting one-hundred-and-ten minutes, from 7:55 a.m. until 9:45 a.m.


Royston Leonard /

The Japanese navy air service ambushed the Americans by launching their airplanes in two waves, approximately forty-five minutes apart. Their surprise attack was part of a plan to dishearten the American public and eliminate the United States out of the Second World War.

“Colourisation is a hobby of mine and I learned it by trying out ideas by myself,” said Royston.


USS West Virgina 1941. Royston Leonard /

“I have learned so much from colourising, I feel it has helped my photography along the way.