Crew of an upended Sherman tank of 7th Armoured Brigade enjoy a ‘brew’ beside their vehicle while waiting for a recovery team, Gothic Line, 13 September 1944. Royston Leonard /

By Ben Wheeler

A SERIES of stunning photos from around the world showing some of the iconic tanks used in World War Two have been brought into the twenty-first century after being expertly colourised.

Among the images are the British crew of an upended Sherman tank of the 7th Armoured Brigade enjoying a brew beside the vehicle while waiting for the recovery team.

Captured German Afrika Korps soldiers, December 1941. Royston Leonard /


Others reveal a group of German Afrika Korps soldiers being captured by allied forces whilst an additional snap shows an American soldier stood in-front of a destroyed Panther tank and in the grounds of the vast Cologne Cathedral.

The incredible pictures were brought to life by Royston Leonard (55), an electrician from Wales, UK, who took the time to carefully colourise the photographs, highlighting the true occurrence of the war and the weapons used.

“The pictures show the long journey to victory after D Day and the hard life of the tank crews, two of the photos show pictures from north Africa from the early part of the war,” he said.

US soldier and destroyed Panther tank outside Cologne Cathedral, 4 April 1945. Royston Leonard /


“They are meant to show life of the tanks and crews in war working with the army in battle.”

Royston says that it has taken him over 60 hours of work spread over weeks of evenings and the point of this is to show the younger generation that war was real and not just black and white art like the way some see it.

“Life is hard and can be short for a tank crew there at the front of a battle as with all armies any equipment left by the enemy forces gets reused when possible as shown in the pictures,” he said.

Crew of M-3 Tank, 2nd Bn., 12th Ar. Reg., 1st Arm. Div., at Souk el Arba, Tunisia. (24 Nov 42). Royston Leonard /


After initially being developed during the First World War, the tank became a focal point of many offensives during World War Two, spanning from Europe to the Pacific and everywhere in between.

The conflict saw the development of what have gone down in history as classic armoured vehicles such as the German ‘Panther’ and ‘Tiger’ models, the Soviet T-34, the ‘Churchill’ from Britain and the American ‘Sherman’ to name just a few.

An impactful selection of colourised pictures like this can be seen in author Michael D. Carroll’s book, Retrographic: History’s Most Important Images Transformed into Living Colour, is available on Amazon for £13.31

U.S. Harley-Davidson WLA motorcycle. M10 in background. (Normandy, France – Summer 1944). Royston Leonard /


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