Britons will always make the most of Christmas, as these stunning images of bomb shelters and recuperation wards festooned with festive decorations during World War Two show.
The newly-coloured photos and paintings include families celebrating the big day in a London bomb shelter despite the chaos of The Blitz unfolding in the skies above them.
Others show three gunners preparing to fire a shell on New Year’s Eve inscribed with the words ‘For Adolph, unhappy new year’, whilst another shows officers on a tank playing Santa for British children in Perham Downs.
The images were colourised by Cardiff-based electrician, Royston Leonard, 55, who said: ‘I wanted to show the younger generation war was real and not black and white art as some see it.’
Perhaps the most famous war story at Christmas is the truce in 1914, when there was a series of unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front of World War One, as depicted in a painting Mr Leonard collected.
There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing. Men played games of football with one another, giving one of the most memorable images of the truce.
The newly-coloured photos and paintings include families celebrating the big day in a London bomb shelter despite the chaos of The Blitz unfolding in the skies above them. This image, from London in 1940, shows families enjoying a spread of food taken out of the meagre wartime rations they were allowed
A hospital ward photographed at an unknown date during World War One decked with Christmas decorations. Men being treated wore blue clothes with a red tie, known as Hospital Blues. Many large houses and hotels were adapted to be used as hospitals during the two wars
Three gunners from Battery C, 28th Field Artillery Battalion, 8th Infantry Division, prepare to fire a 155mm shell on New Year’s Eve in 1944. The shell is inscribed with the words, ‘For Adolph, unhappy new year’. These images were colourised by Cardiff-based electrician, Royston Leonard, 55
GI’s of the US Armyís 84th Infantry Division trim a tree in their shelter a bombed-out building in Geilenkirchen, Germany, in 1944, left. On the right, Pvt. Walter E. Prsybyla, member of the 2nd Infantry Division, addresses Christmas cards on November 30, 1944
Grace is said before eating cakes at a Children’s Christmas Party for three-year-olds at an Infants’ School in Stoke-on-Trent, 1952, when rationing was still in force in Britain
German and British troops celebrating Christmas together during a temporary cessation of WWI hostilities known as the Christmas Truce. Germans, British, Belgians and French downed their rifles and made temporary friends
Shipwrights Build Nativity Model For Ship’s Chapel 24 December 1942, on Board HMS Dunluce Castle. Anchored in Scapa Flow, it was a depot ship which provided temporary accommodation for crews waiting for their ships and for survivors of Russian convoys
Sergeant Hiram Pouty playing Santa for British children on Dec 5, 1942, on the Perham Downs. This was on the edge of Salisbury Plain, which was used for military exercises
RAF flyers from the Second Tactical Air Force celebrating Christmas in Volkel, Holland, where the airbase was liberated from the Nazis late in 1944
In the week leading up to the 25th, French, German, and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. In some areas, men from both sides ventured into no man’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs
There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing. Men played games of football with one another, giving one of the most memorable images of the truce