Pfc Angelo B. Reina, 391st Inf. Regt. guards a lonely Oahu beach position. Kahuku, Oahu, March 1945. Paul Reynolds / mediadrumworld.com

By Mark McConville

 

THE BRUTAL reality of World War Two has been brought to life in a series of stunning yet emotional colourised images from one of the world’s most devastating conflicts.

The US was the only country to equip its troops with an auto-loading rifle as the standard infantry weapon of WW2. C. 1944.
Paul Reynolds / mediadrumworld.com

 

Striking shots show Sgt Jake McNiece of the 101st Airborne Division, ready to drop into Normandy, a Marine comforting a brother who broke down after witnessing the death of a friend and American troops walk down a war ravaged street, Messina, Sicily.

Two Australians, Private Leon Ravet of Parramatta, NSW (left) and Pte Bernard Kentwell of Cronulla NSW, on the alert while on patrol duty with their Owen sub machine guns. New Britain, Papua New Guinea. 4 April 1945.
Paul Reynolds / mediadrumworld.com

 

Other vivid colour pictures show U.S Army military policemen toasting bread over molten lava from Mt Vesuvius after its eruption, Guardsmen of 3rd Irish Guards in a Lloyd carrier, wrapped up against the clouds of dust, during Operation ‘Goodwood’, and the crew of the B-17 Flying Fortress “Memphis Belle” is shown at an air base in England after completing 25 missions over enemy territory.

The British Army in the Normandy Campaign, 1944, Guardsmen of 3rd Irish Guards in a Lloyd carrier, wrapped up against the clouds of dust, during Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.
Paul Reynolds / mediadrumworld.com

 

The original black and white photographs were painstakingly colourised by design engineer Paul Reynolds (48), from Birmingham, UK.

Flying Officer Leonard ‘Ace’ Haines of No. 19 Squadron is pictured at at Fowlmere on his Supermarine Spitfire, Mk 1 in September 1940. He was credited with shooting down 6 enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain and having a half-share in a seventh. He was transferred to a training squadron following the battle and was killed in an accident west of London.
Paul Reynolds / mediadrumworld.com

 

“I mostly colourise war photos because each photo usually has a story to tell, stories of real everyday people,” he said.

St Martin-des-Bersaces. Captured early in Operation Bluecoat, British forces were able to stream south into a gap between two German armies. Over the subsequent days, two Waffen SS divisions and other forces tried to close the gap by attacking westwards, leading to a confused battle with the two sides fighting at 90 degrees to one another.
Paul Reynolds / mediadrumworld.com

 

“I think colourising detailed photos really brings them to life. You notice detail that usually gets missed due to the monotone background.

A Sherman tank crewman finds the mud heavy going in Germany, 24 November 1944.
Paul Reynolds / mediadrumworld.com

 

“The content of the photo conveys its own message; however I am glad that by colourising these photos more people are aware of the happenings of WWII.”

Marine comforts a brother Leatherneck who broke down after witnessing the death of a buddy on an Okinawa hillside, 1945
Paul Reynolds / mediadrumworld.com

 

Paul explained how he added colour to the old photographs and the problems he ran into along the way.

British commandos on the outskirts of Wesel, Germany in 1945.
Paul Reynolds / mediadrumworld.com

 

“I use a digital pen and pad and basically layer on the colour as you would with a painting,” he said.

Sgt Jake McNiece of the 101st Airborne Division, ready to drop into Normandy, June 1944.
Paul Reynolds / mediadrumworld.com

 

“I’ve painted from an early age so this transition to digital was quite easy for me. The only problems I come across are the condition of the photos especially private commissions.

American troops walk down a war ravaged street, Messina, Sicily. 24th August 1943.
Paul Reynolds / mediadrumworld.com

 

“Most are torn, folded, creased, water damaged, dust spots and discoloured which then has to be digitally repaired with a brush, this process usually takes longer than the paint, but the finished photo is 100% sharper and more pleasing on the eye.”

Caen Canal bridge, with Horsa gliders in the background, 9 June 1944.
Paul Reynolds / 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.

U.S Army military policemen toasting bread over molten lava from Vesuvius. The volcano’s spectacular eruption began on March 18th, 1944.
Paul Reynolds / mediadrumworld.com

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

 

 

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