Original colour photographs of the Second World War bring D-Day to the here and now
When you think of photos you’ve seen of the Second World War, you may be recalling images in black and white, their timeless qualities capturing the despair and heroics of a bygone era.
But there were, in fact, many iconic photos in colour taken during that war that, for many who newly discover them, bring the sense of the war into the here-and-now.
“Most Canadians think of the Second World War as a black and white war,” said Mike Bechthold, executive director of the Juno Beach Centre Association and a historian of the Second World War, who spoke to CTVNews.ca about colour photos taken specifically on D-Day.
“Occasionally, we see photos that are in colour. More often, recently, they've been colourized, adding a modern perspective to a historic photo. But a lot of people don't realize that colour photography was a very good and very effective device in the Second World War.”
Bechthold said a number of the official Canadian photographers who landed with the troops on the morning of June 6, 1944, in fact had colour cameras with them.
“If you look at the quality of these images, in many ways, the quality of the colour is as good or better than what we have today,” he said.
Experience the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944 in colour by pressing play on our audio gallery above.
Credits: Audio gallery narrated by Mike Bechthold, executive director of the Juno Beach Centre Association
Edited by CTVNews.ca’s Jesse Tahirali and produced by Phil Hahn and Trevor Koroll
Photos from Library Archives Canada and the Juno Beach Centre Association