A Ju88 preparing to take and display at an aerodrome in Finland in 1941. Nathan Howland / mediadrumimages.com

By Alyce Collins

 

FROM RAF Lancaster bombers to Luftwaffe Messerschmitts the deadly warbirds of WW2 have been colourised in all their glory to commemorate the anniversary of Battle of Britain Day.

Lancaster B Mark III in 1943.
Nathan Howland / mediadrumimages.com

 

Fascinating colourised images show extremely rare photographs of the air crews across the world, who did their duties for their country’s own air force, during the Second World War.

Lancaster B MKI’s of RAF 207 over England in 1942.
Nathan Howland / mediadrumimages.com

 

The images, which have been gloriously restored in vibrant colour, show American officers in the Air Force and the U.S. Navy, as well as British crewmen returning from a mission, and members of the Finnish Air Force as they wait to depart British soil.

B24 42-94775 “War Eagle” on Mission to Brussels Belgium 3 Aug 1944.
Nathan Howland / mediadrumimages.com

 

The photographs have been colourised by graphic designer Nathan Howland (52) from Brighton, England. Nathan has always had a fascination with graphic design, particularly with enhancing photographs and preserving memories for future generations.

B-17F 42-5918 flying in formation in November 1943.
Nathan Howland / mediadrumimages.com

 

“Many of the images are extremely rare and have yet to be shown to a wider audience,” said Nathan.

An Me Bf109-E sitting summer during the Battle of Britain in 1940.
Nathan Howland / mediadrumimages.com

 

“To me, most of them encapsulate the dichotomy in the expression that there is beauty in war. It gives us an emotive and moving insight into the fearful altitudes these very young men faced and braved.

Nathan Howland / mediadrumimages.com

 

“In the midst of it all, there were these extraordinary battle photographers, armed only with a camera who stole themselves from everything around them to bring their eye, the war and the beauty of nature together in profound moments.

The B-24H.
Nathan Howland / mediadrumimages.com

 

“It saw my role to lend my skill-set to honouring these moments as best I could, to hopefully provoke a more immediate sense of what it was like to be an airman in wartime.”

A rare shot of the P-47D allocated to Col. Dave Schilling of the 56th FG – 62nd FS in the brief period just before it was painted for him to become ‘Hairless Joe’ shortly after D-Day.
Nathan Howland / mediadrumimages.com

 

Nathan explained how important precision is when colourising such delicate images.

FB24 42-2752 on Mission to Brussels Belgium 3 Aug 1944.
Nathan Howland / mediadrumimages.com

 

“You have to be extremely precise. This requires a great deal of research, and often the research of just a small part of an image can stretch into days until you find what you are looking for,” said Nathan.

Bombers of the 398th BG bombing from extreme altitude in April 1945.
Nathan Howland / mediadrumimages.com

 

“Everyone loves a colour image, they bring life, depth, vibrancy, energy and a richness that is lacking in a monochrome image.

A Fiat G.50 series II Freccia from the Finnish Air Force in 1941.
Nathan Howland / mediadrumimages.com

 

“Colourising allows us to see images in a completely new perspective. In many cases it allows the viewer to see much more detail within an image than your eyes would otherwise perceive when looking at something in greyscale. I think it’s a little bit of magic.

Halifax Mark II’s of RAF on an unspecified mission.
Nathan Howland / mediadrumimages.com

 

“My only wish is for people to enjoy the work, and if you look at a colourised image and can’t tell that it was ever black and white, then that is the biggest flattery any colourist can ask for.”

B-24’s of the 34th BG flying deep into Germany to bomb a V2 factory in 1944.
Nathan Howland / mediadrumimages.com

 

You can find out more about Nathan’s colourised collections at https://www.facebook.com/HowdiColour/

 

 

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