The Welsh Guards in Colour
in 2014 I was asked by the Welsh Guards to colourise a series of photos for Trevor Royle's book 'Bearskins, Bayonets and Body Armour: Welsh Guards, 1915-2015'.
The project was a massive undertaking and required hours of research into the colours of uniforms and equipment. I was lucky enough to have the help of ex-Guards officer and writer Nicholas Drummond to get the colours as authentic as possible.
The text accompanying the following photos includes information taken from Trevor Royle's book, which can be purchased here. All colourised images © Welsh Guards Archives / Tom Marshall 2014-16.
The prints are all for sale, with 50% to the Welsh Guards Charity in my shop here.
Welsh Guards recruits still wearing the uniforms of their previous regiments shortly after arriving at White City, London in 1915.
'Position and hold must be firm enough to support the weapon.' Rifle training at White City, 1915.
The 1st Batallion mounts King's Guard for the first time, St David's Day 1915.
Welsh Guardsmen at Chelsea Barracks, shortly after receiving their new uniforms.
Welsh Guardsmen in a reserve trench, Guillemont, September 1916. The Battle of Guillemont was part of the Battle of the Somme, the largest battle of the First World War, with over 1,000,000 men wounded or killed over both sides. German writer and philosopher Ernst Jünger's account of Guillemont in his memoir 'Storm of Steel', may well sum up how many were feeling at the time. "All was swathed in black smoke, which was in the ominous under lighting of coloured flares. Because of racking pains in our heads and ears, communication was possible only by odd, shouted words… When day dawned we were astonished to see, by degrees, what a sight surrounded us."
"All was swathed in black smoke, which was in the ominous under lighting of coloured flares. Because of racking pains in our heads and ears, communication was possible only by odd, shouted words… When day dawned we were astonished to see, by degrees, what a sight surrounded us."
Anti-aircraft shooting practice at Pirbright, Surrey, with the .303 Lewis gun. Note the small aircraft targets on the wooden boards.
Guardsman Jones, Prince of Wales Company, turned out in review order, ready for inspection by HRH The Prince of Wales, Colonel, Welsh Guards, 1928.
The 1st Battalion Welsh Guards move forward, Normandy, July 1944.
No. 2 Squadron Welsh Guards during the liberation of Brussels on 3rd September 1944. Shows (L to R) SgtT. E. Williams, LCpl R. Gibson, a Belgian girl, Gdsm R. T. Pedgeon, LCpl H. Thomas and Sgt G. H. Greenstock... and a (presumably) Belgian dog.
Guardsmen from the 3rd Battalion Welsh Guards are passed by a Sherman tank of 26th Armoured Brigade as they move forward to attack Monte Piccolo outside Arce, Italy, 27 May 1944.
No. 4 Company Welsh Guards, during the attack on Cagny, July 1944. The Company Commander, Maj J. D. A. Syrett, is seen indicating a mortar target to Sgt Vessey.
Gdsm Kitchen is in the foreground and Gdsm Fenwick is the Bren gunner. Major Syrett was killed a few days later.
Welsh Guardsmen near Arras in North-Eastern France, early 1940.
Churchill inspects a Cromwell tank in March 1944 as the 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards prepared for D-Day. To the right is Maj J. O. Spencer, who commanded No. 2 Sqn until he was killed at Hechtel in September 1944. Next to the hull mounted 7.92-mm Besa machine gun, the face of Sgt T. Dredge, the vehicle driver, can just be seen behind the open visor. The markings on the front are (L to R) the number 45 painted in white on a green and blue square, which denotes that the vehicle belongs to an armoured reconnaissance regiment; the number 26 on a black circle is the bridge class (tanks were not allowed to cross bridges with a lower number); the white square shows that this is a No. 2 Sqn vehicle and the A within the square marks this as the squadron leader’s tank; and, lastly, the divisional badge on the far right is that of the Guards Armoured Division, the ever open eye.
A tank of the 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards passes over Nijmegen bridge in the Netherlands, September 1944. This bridge was located approximately ten miles from Arnhem and was described by General Eisenhower as a ‘valuable prize’. It marked the entry point to the flat piece of land that divided the River Waal from the Lower Rhine, which was called ‘the Island’. The exposed single road north often proved to be a bottleneck as vehicles were vulnerable to enemy fire.
All images colourised by Tom Marshall at PhotograFix. Bearskins, Bayonets and Body Armour is available to purchase online here.