By Rebecca Drew
INCREDIBLE colourised images of the Battle of the Somme have been revealed marking the
conflict’s 105 th anniversary.
In one picture, a German prisoner assisted wounded British solders as they made their way
to a dressing station after they fought on Bazentin Ridge on July 19, 1916.
Another image showed Australian gunners who stripped off in the summer heat, serving a
9.2 howitzer during the Battle of Pozières which took place during the Battle of the Somme.
The torrential rain of October 1916 which brought an end to the British Somme offensive
were brought to life in colour as horses were pictured drawing carriages through the mud.
The incredible series of images were colourised by electrician Royston Leonard from Cardiff,
“I got the idea for this set after hearing stories about my grandfather who was there in
World War One for almost four years,” said Royston.
“The photos show how hard life was and how the men were just trying to live in the terrible
conditions that were on the Western Front for both sides and trying to make the best of it.
“They show how life was at every moment and remind us just how cruel war is, but at the
same time these men carried on and made the most of it.
“New machines were made for the air and ground, but also mixed in were new ideas for
peace and the way forwards to a better world. It would take another war to learn these
lessons and finally bring peace to Europe.
“Even in the middle of hell you can see the hope of better times, but in some images it is
just hell – man’s hell made of blood, death and steel.”
The Battle of the Somme is one of the most infamous battles of the First World War and
took place between July 1, 1916, and November 18, 1916.
After 18 months of deadlock in the trenches on the Western Front, the Allies wanted to
achieve a decisive victory.
There were heavy casualties on both sides. By the end of the first day on July 1, 1916, British
forces had suffered 57,470 casualties, of whom 19,240 were killed. This represented the
largest losses suffered by the British Army in a single day.
There were a total of one million casualties from both sides during the five month long
battle – the Allies did gain some territorial gain but this was minimal compared to the scale
of human loss.