US landing ship tanks, half-tracks carriers and other vehicles on Utah Beach after June 6th. Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

 

By Mark McConville

 

THE EXTRAORDINARY BRAVERY of the men who took part in D-Day has been highlighted in a series of stunning colourised images to commemorate the 74thanniversary.

Soldiers load artillery equipment, vehicles, and troops aboard LSTs in preparation for invasion of Normandy, Brixham, England, June 1, 1944.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

Striking shots show American and British troops arriving on French beaches for the invasions, D-Day Invasion glider pilots on landing craft and British Airborne Pathfinders at Harwell checking their watches on the night of June 5, 1944.

Rommel inspecting the defenses.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

Other vivid colour pictures show Nazi General Erwin Rommel inspecting their defences, a German Panzer VI Tiger I Tank camouflaged in the undergrowth in Villers-Bocage, Normandy and men of the British 22nd Independent Parachute Company, 6th Airborne Division being briefed for the invasion.

Men of the British 22nd Independent Parachute Company, 6th Airborne Division being briefed for the invasion, 4–5 June 1944.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

The original black and white photographs were painstakingly colourised by electrician Royston Leonard (55), from Cardiff, Wales, with each snap taking between four and five hours to complete.

German Panzer VI Tiger I tank camouflaged in the undergrowth in Villers-Bocage, Normandy. The Battle of Villers-Bocage took place on June 13, 1944.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

“As time goes by I find I am doing more World War Two pictures and giving them a bit of colour helps the younger generation to connect and not just see them as something that happened long ago,” he said.

D-DAY1944 LCPV (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel) from USS Samuel Chase lands troops of US Army First Division on Omaha, 6 June.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

“In the images I see a world that has gone mad and men and women pulled from their lives to sort out the mess.

D-Day Invasion Glider Pilots On Landing Craft Return 1944.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

“World War Two shows people at their best and at their worst. We must look and learn and not let it happen again.”

6th June 1944, American troops arrive on a French beach on D-Day during the invasion of Europe.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

 

The Normandy landings were the landing operations on Tuesday, June 6, 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. Codenamed Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history.

D-Day – British troops landing on Queen Beach, Sword Area.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

 

The operation began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control, and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.

D-Day – British troops landing on Queen Beach, Sword Area.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

 

The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault—the landing of 24,000 American, British and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight.

American troops land on a beach. They will serve as reinforcements for the troops at the Normandy front.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

 

Allied infantry and armoured divisions began landing on the coast of France at 6.30am. The target 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Strong winds blew the landing craft east of their intended positions, particularly at Utah and Omaha.

D-DAY 1944 – British Airborne Pathfinders at Harwell check their watches on night of 5th June 1944.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

The men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods, and barbed wire, making the work of the beach-clearing teams difficult and dangerous.

US Army 4th Infantry Division Troops on Utah Red Beach D-Day Normandy 1944.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

 

Casualties were heaviest at Omaha, with its high cliffs. At Gold, Juno, and Sword, several fortified towns were cleared in house-to-house fighting, and two major gun emplacements at Gold were disabled, using specialised tanks.

U.S. troops disembarking on Utah Beach, 6 June 1944. The LCVP in the foreground was assigned to the U.S. Navy attack transport USS Joseph T. Dickman (APA-13), which had sailed from England on 5 June.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

 

The Allies failed to achieve any of their goals on the first day. Carentan, St. Lô, and Bayeux remained in German hands, and Caen, a major objective, was not captured until July, 21.

Troops from the 48th Royal Marines at Saint-Aubin-sur-mer on Juno Beach, Normandy, France, during the D-Day landings, 6th June 1944.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

Only two of the beaches (Juno and Gold) were linked on the first day, and all five beachheads were not connected until June, 12, however, the operation gained a foothold which the Allies gradually expanded over the coming months.

 

German casualties on D-Day have been estimated at 4,000 to 9,000 men. Allied casualties were at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead.

The U.S. Coast Guard manned USS LST-21 unloads British Army tanks and trucks onto a Rhino barge during the early hours of the invasion on Gold Beach [1], 6 June 1944.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumworld.com

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.

 

 

For more information visit: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Retrographic-Historys-Exciting-Images-Transformed/dp/1908211504

 

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