A group of soldiers look out at a burning ship. Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

By Tom Dare

INCREDIBLE COLOUR pictures showing the dramatic evacuation of Dunkirk during World War II have emerged on the release day of the huge blockbuster film about the daring military operation.

And one of the men pictured appears to show a striking resemblance to the film’s London-born star, Fionn Whitehead.

Troops being evacuated on a boat, with the central figure bearing a resemblance to film star Fionn Whitehead. Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

Images show a flotilla of British ships making their way across the channel as part of the rescue attempt, while another sees a group of soldiers wading through the sea as they make their way toward a boat.

And Royston Leonard, the man who restored the original black and white photos into colour, says Dunkirk shows how “even defeat can be turned into victory.”

Troops wait in the rubble to be rescued. Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

“I see a beaten army but not a defeated one,” he said.

“We went to war still stuck with ideas from World War One, and we weren’t ready for a modern fast-moving war like World War II.

“At that time, we were not ready for modern war. But this just shows how by working together even defeat can become a victory.”

A flotilla of boats return from Dunkirk. Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

The evacuation of British soldiers from Dunkirk was one of the largest military operations of the war, with approximately 338,000 men rescued from the beaches during Operation Dynamo.

A staggering 933 ships took place in the operation, from navy ships to fishing ships, with only 697 returning to Britain.

The operation was scheduled after hundreds of thousands of British, French, Belgian and other allied forces became trapped by the German army on the beaches of Dunkirk following a failed attempt to set up a base on mainland Europe.

British troops in Dunkirk. Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

Winston Churchill, who at the time had only been Prime Minister for 16 days, called the original operation “a colossal military disaster,” but hailed the rescue attempt as a “miracle of deliverance,” during his famous ‘We will fight them on the beaches’ speech.

The failed attempt saw the allied armies abandon huge amounts of equipment when they left the beach, including 2,472 guns, 63,879 vehicles, 20,548 motorcycles, 76,097 tons of ammunition and 416,940 tons of stores.

Most of these were recycled by the German army, who captured 40,000 French troops when Dunkirk eventually fell.

And the historic events have recently been turned into a blockbuster film starring former One Direction star Harry Styles, which opens in cinemas across the country today.

Troops wade through the sea toward a rescue boat. Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

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