First World War photos get new life in colour

First World War photos get new life in colour
A Canadian organization is telling the stories from the First World War in a new light, by painstakingly adding colour to historic black and white photos.

"The First World War in Colour" project commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.

For the project, the Vimy Foundation selected 150 First World War photos from Library and Archives Canada to meticulously colourize and gather into an online gallery.

Executive Director Jeremy Diamond told CTV News Channel that the project aims to connect a new generation of Canadians with the realities of the war.

"A hundred years later, we have no veterans from the First World War living. We ve lost that connection to that real time, and memory of that battle and of that war, by those soldiers," he said.

"We wanted to try and splash a little colour on it, and make these a little bit more recognizable to Canadians."

The grainy photos show the scope of Canada s war effort, both overseas and at home.

Canadian and German wounded help each other through the mud at Passchendaele. (Vimy Foundation / Library and Archives Canada)

Communication trench. (Vimy Foundation / Library and Archives Canada)

Views taken on Christmas Day 1917, at Duchess of Connaught Red Cross Hospital. (Vimy Foundation / Library and Archives Canada)

One photo in particular brings fresh insight into Canadian ranks at the time.

Three Canadian soldiers in a German dug-out captured during the Canadian advance east of Arras. (Vimy Foundation / Library and Archives Canada)

The photo shows three black soldiers in a German dug-out. The image shows there was diversity among Canada s core ranks, Diamond says, adding that photos of black soldiers from the First World War arent often seen.

Diamond said he hopes Canadians look at the photos and recognize that the individuals in them are regular people.

"These were people that looked like the people now that we work with, that were part of our family, live on our street and go to our schools," he said. "And when you colourize them, they become so much more clear, and they kind of look like somebody we know."
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