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Home Life Books

War museum book brings WW2 stories to life

By Emily Beament

An extraordinary collection of rare colour photographs reveal the Second World War as the people living through the conflict would have seen it.

A new book from the Imperial War Museums (IWM) includes rarely-seen colour images taken by official photographers, as well as news agencies, freelancers and even air crews, many of which are being published for the first time.

The scarcity of colour film and the high cost of reproducing it in printed publications at the time means for most people today, the war is a black and white conflict.

But the photographs in the book, The Second World War in Colour, bring it vividly to life with images that look as if they were taken yesterday - or come from a film set.

They reveal life on the Home Front, with pictures of bombed-out buildings, evacuee children and wounded airmen in their "hospital blues", alongside factories and female plane spotters, as well as the fighting fronts, with rare photography of Spitfires in flight.

Some 3,000 colour pictures were taken between 1942 and 1945, and those that survived were passed to the IWM in 1949.

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