Lest we forget: 100 years on from the First World War.

“By the end of the First World War there were very few people in the countries that took part who remained unaffected. The war reached out and touched almost everyone’s life in some way or other.”

Yesterday marked the centenary of Britain entering the Great War (1914-1918) – the first global conflict of the Industrial Age. Artists and historians have been commissioned for various projects to mark the start of the First World War and to commemorate all those who fought in it. The Open University enlisted the help of a restoration expert to colourise a selection of photographs taken during the conflict. The original black and white images have been completely transformed and brought to life, presenting windows into the lives of the many soldiers and civilians affected by the events of World War I.

(For those wanting to learn more about the events that shaped the First World War, a short BBC video by Dan Snow, giving an overview of the whole war, can be found here)


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German Field Artillery Regiment crew, with a 7.7 cm Feldkanone 96 field gun, 1914

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Cleveland Frank Snoswell returns home to Australia from the war

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A soldier receives a hair cut from an Alpine barber in a trench on the Albanian front in 1918.

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Canadian infantry with the mascot of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Battalion, August 1916.

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Indian infantry prepare for a gas attack by wearing gas masks in their trench, 1915.

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A group of soldiers advance from a trench, over a protective wall of sandbags (c. 1915).

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A mobile pigeon loft, which enabled messages to be sent from the Front Line back to headquarters. The BBC reports that 100,000 carrier pigeons were used as messengers throughout the First World War, and records show they delivered 95% of their messages correctly.

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A young boy and girl ride in a decorated toy car to promote the Red Cross during a charity fundraising event in Adelaide, Australia.

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A soldier and horse wear gas masks at the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps Headquarters.

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Members of the 1st Australian Imperial Force at a camp in Australia (c. 1916).

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