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October 7, 2017

Remarkable Colorized Photos Reveal What Life Was Like For French Soldiers During World War I

These colorized photos were brought to life by French bank technician, Frédéric Duriez. The images were provided by the Valois collection which belongs to the BDIC.

“By colorizing these photos, I reduce the time that separates us today from this conflict,” said Frédéric. “A black and white photo does not attract the attention of young people, if you color it, then people will look at it with curiosity. After this, we see the greater the misery and distress of these French fighters.”

The stunning photos show men reading their mail in the safety of a shelter, smiling in the trenches in Souain and trying to grab some important sleep on top of sandbags. In others, soldiers can be seen bathing their horses in a river and the wounded on their evacuation route.

The total number of casualties in World War I was more that 38 million. By the end of the war, over eight-million men had been called up to fight in the French army. France suffered 4.2 million casualties during the war with 1.3 million people dead.

“I love the color and facial expressions of the people,” added Frédéric. “I get good reactions from people and I am surprised at this, many tell me that they are impressed by the colous I use and that it highlights the characters.”

Two soldiers sleep in La Harazee, in the north of the country close to the French border with Luxembourg, in July 1917.

German prisoners are pictured arriving from Tilloloy after being captured in August 1918.

French soldiers wearing blue uniforms are pictured mounted on the back of horses as they trudge through a river in Louppy-le-Petit in 1916.

The wounded were evacuated on makeshift stretchers in the muddy and damp surroundings in October 1917.

A pipe-smoking French soldier looks over his shoulder as he and two comrades shelter in a trench.

Canadian and French officers taking cover behind a German ammunition wagon during the Battle of Amiens.

These breathtaking photos convey the hardships of military everyday life of soldiers. In may 1915.

This image, taken on April 20, 1917, in Savigny sur Ardres, shows troops speaking to a man driving a tractor on an uneven surface.

A soldier takes a shower in Craonnelle just yards from where his colleagues build makeshift wooden shacks to help the French war effort in August 1915.

Groups of French soldiers enjoying a meal at the Eiffel Tower in June 1915.

More than 800,000 troops from French colonies fought in WWI, including soldiers from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco - pictured are members of the 2nd Spahis regiment, a light cavalry division.

Soldiers are seen smiling in a brief moment of levity in the trenches of Souain in January 1916.

Car cannon sections in firing position in Auxi-le-Chateau which were used more frequently at the end of the war.

(Images: Frederic Duriez / BDIC / media)


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