By Mark McConville
THE GRIM reality of World War One for soldiers across the globe has been brought back to life in a series of vivid colour pictures.
Incredible images show British soldiers at a captured trench pointing at a sign that says ‘old hun line’, Indian cavalry after their charge at the Somme in 1916, and an Irish soldier in a trench as Mesopotamia.
Other striking shots show Canadian soldiers in the Battle of Amiens in 1918, the second wave of Russian troops waiting to go over the top in Ukraine in 1917 and the Lancashire Fusiliers on a boat at Gallipoli in 1915.
The original black and white photographs were painstakingly colourised by Welsh electrician Royston Leonard (56), from Cardiff.
“I wanted to show World War One from all parts of the world as most pictures you see are just from the Western front,” he said.
“The images show soldiers from all parts of the world doing their duty and making the best of it.
“We need to remember the lost generation from all parts of the world. Look how young they are and realise we can never let this happen again.
“We did this twice so I urge you to really look at these images and then the rest is up to you.”
World War One was contemporaneously described as the “war to end all wars” and more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history.
An estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a direct result of the war, while it is also considered a contributory factor in a number of genocides and the 1918 influenza epidemic, which caused between 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
Military losses were exacerbated by new technological and industrial developments and the tactical stalemate caused by gruelling trench warfare. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history and precipitated major political changes, including the Revolutions of 1917–1923, in many of the nations involved. Unresolved rivalries at the end of the conflict contributed to the start of the Second World War about twenty years later.