United States Marines pose on top of Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima with the American flag. Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

By Mark McConville

 

THE ESTATIC faces of people celebrating VJ Day have been brought back to life after being expertly colourised to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the victory.

Marine Guard under turret.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

Vivid colour images show a delighted woman using paper as a makeshift megaphone to announce the victory to people on the street, two women holding a newspaper from the day war started and the announcement of peace and sailors and DC residents dancing the conga in Washington.

In a photo by Ed Westcott, residents of Oak Ridge, TN, fill Jackson Square to celebrate the surrender of Japan. Oak Ridge was one of the three main sites of the Manhattan Project, and was responsible (though those working there did not know it) for refining uranium to be shipped to Los Alamos to be fashioned into atomic bombs. 14 August 1945.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

Other stunning shots show US soldier holding Japanese flags in celebration, raising the American flag in Okinawa and the iconic photo of a sailor kissing a woman in Times Square, New York.

VJ Day 1945.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

Additional images from WW2 itself have been shown, including the 1941 Pearle Harbor attack by Japan on the US Fleet, and the Nagasaki nuclear bomb by the US against Japan in 1945, which led to the surrender by Japan and effectively brought WW2 to a close.

Celebrating Victory In Japan, London, England, UK, C 15 August 1945, In London’s Piccadilly Circus,a group of servicemen and women, and a civilian woman, link arms as they walk towards the camera, singing as they dance in celebration around Eros (not pictured), on the news that the war in Japan is over. Behind them, crowds of people are gathered in the sunshine. Several buses can also be seen. This photograph was taken from beside Eros, looking towards Piccadilly (left) and Regent Street (right).
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

The original black and white photographs were painstakingly colourised by electrician Royston Leonard (53) from Cardiff, Wales.

Sailors and Washington, DC residents dance the conga in Lafayette Park, waiting for President Truman to announce the surrender of Japan in World War II.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.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.

Women with newspapers announcing war and peace.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

“The pictures show that community is all that matters, not buildings or material things.

After February 1945, date when the island of Iwo Jima was taken by the Americans during the Pacific War, American marines show the Japanese flags which they took from the enemy when they conquered the island. Since February 23, 1945, American soldiers were involved in a fierce battle to capture the island which was an ideal trampoline from which to launch B-29 bomber raids against Japan. During the war, this island was one of the Japanese air bases.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

“Their message is that the more people try to destroy us, the more we will smile and carry on.”

Woman announcing the victory to the public.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

Victory over Japan Day is the day when Imperial Japan surrendered in World War Two, bringing the war to an end.

Sailors celebrating with newspapers.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

The term applies to the day on which the initial announcement of Japan’s surrender was made, August 15th 1945, and when the signing of the surrender document occurred on September 2nd 1945, officially ending World War Two.

United States Marines pose on top Okinawa Hill with the American flag.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

VJ Day is commemorated on August 15th in the UK, while the US remember it on September 2nd.

Kapituiyatsia, Japan. USS Missouri.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

Royston says that his passion for colourisation has helped him improve his photography skills.

Japan, Chugoku Region, Hiroshima, Atomic explosion on 6th August, 1945.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

“I have learnt so much from colourising, I feel it has helped my photography along the way,” he said.

U.S. Navy sailors attempt to save a burning Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boat at Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay on 7 December 1941. This plane was set afire by strafing in the the initial phase of the attack and was sunk in a later strike. Note dog observing the work. 7 Dec 1941. THE ESTATIC faces of people celebrating VJ Day have been brought back to life after being expertly colourised to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the victory. Vivid colour images show a delighted woman using paper as a makeshift megaphone to announce the victory to people on the street, two women holding a newspaper from the day war started and the announcement of peace and sailors and DC residents dancing the conga in front of the White House. Other stunning shots show US soldier holding Japanese flags in celebration, raising the American flag in Okinawa and the iconic photo of a sailor kissing a woman in Times Square, New York. Additional images from WW2 itself have been shown, including the 1941 Pearle Harbor attack by Japan on the US Fleet, and the Nagasaki nuclear bomb by the US against Japan in 1945, which led to the surrender by Japan and effectively brought WW2 to a close. The original black and white photographs were painstakingly colourised by electrician Royston Leonard (53) from Cardiff, Wales. Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

“The message is already there for all to see in the pictures themselves but I do feel that colourisation helps the younger generation to understand that what happened was real.

Two Coast Guard-manned LST’s open their great jaws in the surf that washes on Leyte Island beach, as soldiers strip down and build sandbag piers out to the ramps to speed up unloading operations. 1944.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

“I love giving more life to the pictures and I think that colour improves the story that the photographs tell.”

Pearl Harbor, T.H. taken by surprise, during the Japanese aerial attack. USS WEST VIRGINIA aflame.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

The U.S. Navy battleship USS California (BB-44) slowly sinking alongside Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (USA), as a result of bomb and torpedo damage, 7 December 1941. The destroyer USS Shaw (DD-373) is burning in the floating dry dock YFD-2 in the left distance. The battleship USS Nevada (BB-36) is beached in the left-center distance.
Royston Leonard / mediadrumimages.com

 

 

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