British Army tank in North-west Europe 1944-45. Paul Reynolds /

By Mark McConville

A SERIES of stunning colourised pictures has shone a light on the brutal weapons used in warfare.

Vivid colour images show a 6th Airborne Division sniper on patrol in the Ardennes, a soldier using a flame thrower in Korea and the 2nd Hungarian Army with a 29M Bofors 80mm AA gun in firing position in Stary Oskol, Russia.

Side profile of an army soldier using a flame thrower, Korea. Paul Reynolds /


Other striking shots show a German soldier with “Geballte Ladung” (a concentrated charge), an explosive device concealed in the head of a cabbage in Okinawa and Ordnancemen moving 16″ shell from its storage stall to ammunition hoist on board the USS New Jersey.

The original black and white photographs were colourised by design engineer Paul Reynolds (48), from Birmingham, UK.

This explosive device was concealed in a head of cabbage on Okinawa. Such booby traps were prevalent and highly dangerous. April 1945. Paul Reynolds /

“I mostly colourise war photos because each photo usually has a story to tell, stories of real everyday people,” he said.

“I think colourising detailed photos really brings them to life. You notice detail that usually gets missed due to the monotone background.

nude crewman of a US Navy rescue mission after jumping into the Harbor to rescue Marine pilots shot down while bombing Japanese fort. Dated 1944. Paul Reynolds /

“The content of the photo conveys its own message; however I am glad that by colourising these photos more people are aware of the happenings of WWII.”

American infantrymen and tankmen shooting the lock on a prison gate before releasing Allied officers inside at the Hammelburg Prison, Germany, World War II. Paul Reynolds /


Paul explained how he added colour to the old photographs and the problems he ran into along the way.

Anti-tank gun. Paul Reynolds /

“I use a digital pen and pad and basically layer on the colour as you would with a painting,” he said.

Huge artillery shell. Paul Reynolds /

“I’ve painted from an early age so this transition to digital was quite easy for me. The only problems I come across are the condition of the photos especially private commissions, most are torn, folded, creased, water damaged, dust spots and discoloured which then has to be digitally repaired with a brush, this process usually takes longer than the paint, but the finished photo is 100% sharper and more pleasing on the eye.”

New Zealand soldiers with German Anti-Tank Rifle. Paul Reynolds /

Striking images like these are featured in British author Michael D. Carroll’s new book, Retrographic on the colourisation of historical images. It is available on Amazon now for £16.85.

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