Bravery on the beaches: Allied invasion is brought to life in colour to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the D-Day invasion
- Iconic photos of troops storming beaches on D-Day and preparing for invasion visible in colour for first time
- They include shots of the massive Allied armada arriving in Normandy to retake France form the Germans
- Soldiers flood the beaches alongside tanks then push through, or jump from planes behind enemy lines
- More than 1.4 million troops took part in the operation that eventually brought Nazi Germany to an end
Iconic photos of troops storming beaches on D-Day, driving tanks off ships and hiding them under buses are visible in brilliant colour for the first time 74 years later.
Striking shots show Allied troops storming French beaches for the invasion, glider pilots on landing craft, and British Airborne Pathfinders at Harwell checking their watches on night of June 5, 1944, hours before battle.
Men of the British 22nd Independent Parachute Company in the 6th Airborne Division were seen being briefed for the big day, while others huddled on landing boats and in trenches.
On the other side of the conflict, photos show German General Erwin Rommel inspecting their defences, a German Tiger I Tank camouflaged in the undergrowth in Villers-Bocage.
More than 150,000 Allied troops were involved in the landings of five beaches across Normandy on June 6, 1944, and 1.4 million in the operation that eventually liberated France and defeated Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
They assembled a massive armada of ships that sailed for the coast, while planes dropped bombs and parachute troopers on to the ground behind enemy lines.
The original black and white photographs were painstakingly colourised by electrician Royston Leonard, 55, from Cardiff, each snap taking between four and five hours to bring to colour.
Iconic photos of troops storming beaches (48th Royal Marines at Juno Beach pictured) on D-Day, June 6, 1944, to begin the Allied invasion of Europe that beat the Germans are visible in brilliant colour for the first time 74 years later
A massive armada of ships drop off troops, tanks, vehicles, and equipment on Utah beach after landing parties earlier took it on June 6, 1944, as one of five beaches invaded by the Allies. Utah was taken with just 197 casualties
On the other side of the channel, soldiers load artillery equipment, vehicles, and troops aboard landing ships fitted to carry tanks in Brixham, England, on June 1, 1944, in preparation for the invasion. They later sailed over to Normandy with the fleet
American soldiers calmly walk on to a beach in Normandy, either because it was already taken or it was one of the areas where the secret invasion caught the Germany unawares and there was no resistance
Glider crews on landing craft head back after landing ahead of the invasion force, ready to be sent in again farther behind enemy lines to attack positions from behind along with airborne parachute troops
A landing craft form the USS Samuel Chase lands troops of US Army First Division on Omaha, the most famous and easily the bloodiest landing of the Normandy invasion where up to 4,700 of the 43,000 Allied troops were cut down by the defending Germans as they rushed ashore
The U.S. Coast Guard manned USS LST-21 unloads British Army tanks and trucks onto a Rhino barge during the early hours of the invasion on Gold Beach, a relatively easy landing where only 30 were killed
U.S. troops are towed into Utah beach, with a squad of medical trucks in the background making their approach. The troops don’t appear concerned, indicating the beach was already captured by this time
British Airborne Pathfinders at Harwell check their watches on night of June 5, hours before they would be dropped behind enemy lines before and during the time when their infantry comrades would storm the beaches miles north of them. They wanted to be sure they all had the same time to coordinate jumps
Men of the British 22nd Independent Parachute Company in the 6th Airborne Division being briefed for the invasion on June 4 or 5. The invasion was originally scheduled for June 5 but postponed for a day by bad weather. These men landed behind enemy lines under cover of darkness and needed briefings to know their role as they would be separated
British troops land on Sword Beach, the easternmost of the beaches chosen for the invasion. It was a relatively easy landing with a few hundred casualties but the going got tougher after the beach as they were attacked from heavily-defended German position and a counter-attack by a tank division on the way to Caen
British troops dig in after taking the beach and prepare to advance to the strategic city of Caen. One soldier appears to be operating a radio that uses a hand crank for power
German Tiger I tank form the Panzer VI division camouflaged in the undergrowth in Villers-Bocage, a town well inland from the landings. These hidden positions proved decisive in ambushing advancing British troops seeking to take the town and forcing them to retreat after many vehicles were destroyed
U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division troops collapse exhausted after taking Utah beach before the even harder work of pushing south into France begins, with the port city of Cherbourg their objective
Reinforcements not involved in the initial landings arrive to strengthen captured Allied positions and push farther into France, among a force of more than 1.4 million troops
German General Erwin Rommel inspects defences in Normandy, which he considered to be woefully under-defended considering they were a potential invasion spot. He had concrete gun emplacements placed at strategic points along the coast, and installed wooden stakes, metal tripods, mines, and large anti-tank obstacles on the beaches
Britain finally opens a memorial to D-Day fallen
Lesley George Robinson, 98, the last survivor of the RAF veterans who landed at Omaha Beach, lays a wreath as fellow Normandy veterans attend a wreath laying ceremony at the Tactical Air Force Memorial besides Omaha Beach at Vierville-sur-Mer in Normandy on June 4, 2018
The handful of veterans still alive who were involved in the invasion reunited to pay respects to fallen comrades 74 years on
Mr Robinson speaks at the wreath laying ceremony alongside representatives from the U.S., France, Britain, Canada, and other nations involved in the landings
The old men were still able to make a few jokes at the somber occasion as they put down their canes and sat for the ceremony
Mr Robinson shakes hands with standard-bearers representing France. The Free French, who escaped being controlled by the German occupation and the Vichy France puppet regime, also fought alongside the Allies
Pipers play at the ceremony as veterans arrive to begin the ceremony marking 74 years since they landed on the beaches of Normandy
Denys Hunter, who was in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry and landed on Gold Beach on D-Day, speaks to a young child his wheelchair is seated beside before the wreath ceremony
World War II re-enactors talk with Normandy veterans attending a wreath laying ceremony at the Tactical Air Force Memorial besides Omaha Beach at Vierville-sur-Mer in Normandy on June 4, 2018
Mr Cattini speaks with Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight D Eisenhower at a restaurant in Carentan in Normandy after the wreath laying ceremony. Before he was President, Eisenhower was a the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe and planned the D-Day landings with other generals
Veterans stand as the wreath laying ceremony gets underway in Normandy to mark 74 years since the invasion
A descendant of a Normandy veteran speaks to the handful of survivors who made the journey back to the beaches
People look at the German guns at the battery at Longues-sur-Mer in Normandy that shot at advancing soldiers as they swarmed the beaches
The concrete gun installations were the major defences on the shores of France and took the lives of many Allied soldiers to capture so they could take the beach. This one on Omaha would have been particularly damaging in the bloody landing
Bill Pendall, 96, who landed as a courier, from the 11th Armored Division, on D-Day at Gold Beach and Joe Cattini 95, who was in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry and also landed on Gold Beach on D-Day joke as they get on the coach that will take them to Normandy in France on June 3, 2018 in Portsmouth, England, for the ceremony
Ray Shuck, 95, who was a paratrooper on D-Day and was later shot in the head by a German sniper, sits on the deck of the Brittany ferry from Portsmouth to Caen as he travels to Normandy for the ceremony
Mr Shuck smokes a cigarette as he would have done making the same journey the first time as he sailed into battle on June 6, 1944
John Dennett, from the Royal Navy who was a on a landing craft that landed on Gold Beach on D-Day, attends a wreath laying ceremony on the deck of the Brittany ferry from Portsmouth to Caen
Normandy veterans attend a wreath laying ceremony on the deck of the Brittany ferry from Portsmouth to Caen as they travel to Normandy on June 3 for another ceremony near the beaches they and their comrades fought on
John Quinn, Royal Marine who was a coxswain on a landing craft that landed on Gold Beach on D-Day throws a wreath into the sea to remember those who died in its waters as their ships were sunk on the way to the invasion
A piper plays on deck of the ferry as the sun sets the night before the wreath laying ceremony on Normandy’s beaches
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