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World War II in its true colours

AN extraordinary collection of rare colour pictures from World War II are set to bring the conflict to vivid life for a new generation.

Many of the images, by official photographers as well as news agencies, freelancers and even air crews, in a new book from the Imperial War Museum are being published for the first time.

They range from Winston Churchill in the Downing Street garden in May 1945 and General Eisenhower in London in 1944, to the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force preparing parachutes, troops in training, and fighting in Europe.

The photos in the book The Second World War In Colour also reveal life on the home front, with pictures of bombed-out buildings and the last months of the war, including Dutch celebrations after the liberation of Eindhoven, and VE Day jubilation in Whitehall.

Some 3,000 colour pictures were taken between 1942 and 1945, and those that survived were passed to the museum in 1949. Curator and author Ian Carter said: ‘Black and white photography puts a barrier between the subject and the viewer, colour photography restores that missing clarity and impact.’