THE HEROES of World War One have been brought into the twenty-first century thanks to a series of stunning colourised images to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.
Striking pictures show men hauling a howitzer out of the mud at Beaucourt sur Ancre, four British soldiers using a fallen tree-trunk as a temporary bridge over the River Ancre and six soldiers looking out of a dugout on the Western Front.
Other vivid colour photographs show soldiers digging a trench viewed between strands of barbed wire, officers showing a map to their men at the Somme in France and infantry waiting in a trench for their turn to advance.
The original black and white photos were expertly colourised by electrician Royston Leonard (56) from Cardiff, Wales.
“Adding colour brings to life the horror of war of the trenches not just another old black and white photo from long ago,” he said.
“I want to show life in the trenches in the First World War and that any one of them could be the unknown soldier.
“As I colourised each picture I hoped that they all came home. It was 100 years ago but it could happen again if we forget the lessons.
“The pictures show us of a lost generation to the world. My favourite picture is the one showing four soldiers walking across a river on a downed tree as this shows a picture of peace in a time of war, if even for a short time.
“We must never forget and teach all our children so that it never happens again. The pictures are not nice but then nor is sending loved ones to war.”
World War One was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as the “war to end all wars”, it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it 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 and 100 million deaths worldwide.
The British grave of The Unknown Warrior (often known as ‘The Tomb of The Unknown Warrior’) holds an unidentified British soldier killed on a European battlefield during the First World War.
He was buried in Westminster Abbey, London on 11 November 1920, simultaneously with a similar interment of a French unknown soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in France, making both graves the first to honour the unknown dead of the First World War. It is the first example of a tomb of the Unknown Soldier.