World War II in Colour released

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19 April 2017
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WWII-in-colour-13242.jpg New book from the IWM shows the war in colour
A new book from the Imperial War Museum shows the war as you've rarely seen it with stunning colour photographs.

The Imperial War Museum has released a new book (reviewed in The Armourer next month) showcasing rarely-seen, original colour photographs from its archives. Many are being published for the first time in 70 years.

During World War II, colour film was a scarce commodity which has resulted in most images of the war being printed in black and white. Author and Senior Curator at IWM, Ian Carter said, “The images in this book show the vivid hues of the flames and fabrics, the intense blue skies, the sun-tanned faces and the myriad colours of military camouflage. Black and white photography puts a barrier between the subject and the viewer, colour photography restores that missing clarity and impact. As the most destructive war in history gradually fades from living memory, it becomes more important to take away the remoteness and bring the Second World War to life.”

The Second World War in Colour is divided into seven chapters, including an introduction to Second World War photography, Germany Triumphant, Britain at War, Striking Back: The Bomber Offensive, War at Sea, Forces Overseas and the Second Front. The publication explores life on the home front through striking images of women working as Auxiliary Territorial Service spotters and members of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force preparing parachutes for D-Day. The photographs of women at work accompany photographs demonstrating the destructive force of the war in Britain, the remains of bombed out buildings, evacuee children and airmen in hospital blues.

The publication also includes a series of photographs revealing the war on the fighting fronts, including rare photography of flamethrower tanks in action, Mustangs and Spitfires in flight, and the RAF’s top-scoring fighter pilot, Wing Commander ‘Johnnie’ Johnson with his pet dog Sally. Powerful images show the anxious faces of men preparing to take part in practise jumps from an RAF Dakota and the jubilant celebrations of Dutch civilians after the liberation of Eindhoven in September 1944.

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The book is now on sale and costs £14.99. More details at www.iwmshop.org.uk