By Mark McConville


THE HORROR of the Korean War has been brought into the twenty-first century thanks to a series of stunning colourised pictures.

The incredible images show Marines carrying a wounded soldier in Pusan, a US Marine ordering captured North Koreans to keep their hands up and a weapons squad leader pointing out a North Korean position to his machine gun crew.

Fighting with the 2nd Inf. Div. north of the Chongchon River, Sfc. Major Cleveland, weapons squad leader, points out Communist-led North Korean position to his machine gun crew. November 20,1950. Pfc. James Cox. Mediadrumimages / Royston Leonard

Other striking shots show a Korean girl with her brother on her back tiredly trudging past a stalled tank, a mortar crew returning enemy fire in the Masan area and astonished marines who hurled back a surprised onslaught by three Chinese communist divisions, being told they are to withdraw.

The original black and white photographs were painstakingly colourised by electrician Royston Leonard (55), from Cardiff, Wales, with each snap taking between four and five hours to complete.

A U.S. Marine (right) orders captured North Koreans to keep their hands up on September 20, 1950. In the background is one of the tanks which came ashore in the assault at Inchon.
Mediadrumimages / Royston Leonard

“Adding colour brings to life the horror of war, of the trenches and not just another old black and white photo from long ago,” he said.

“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.”

Mediadrumimages / Royston Leonard

The Korean War began when North Korea invaded South Korea. The United Nations, with the United States as the principal force, came to the aid of South Korea. China came to the aid of North Korea, and the Soviet Union gave some assistance.

The fighting ended on 27 July 1953, when an armistice was signed. The agreement created the Korean Demilitarized Zone to separate North and South Korea, and allowed the return of prisoners. However, no peace treaty has been signed, and the two Koreas are technically still at war.