Austrian K&K Soldiers on the toilet, Donnerbalken c1916. Mario Unger /

By Mark McConville

THE FACES of war have been brought back to life after a series of World War One photographs were expertly colourised.

Striking pictures show a US soldier displaying his trophies including a German badge and gun, the Christmas truce in 1914 and female war workers feed the charcoal kilns used for purifying sugar at the Glebe Sugar Refinery Co. Greenock, in Scotland.

Other incredible images show the Great War from the other perspective with Austrian soldiers pictured, a frostbit Lieutenant Foehles shortly after landing from a flight and Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria whose assassination helped kick-start the conflict.

Austrian, M99 7cm Moutaingun Ortler 3902 meter, probably highest picture taken in WWI, ca 1917. Mario Unger /


The black and white snaps were painstakingly restored and colourised by photographer Mario Unger (53) from Rotenturm, Austria.

Austrian, M99 7cm Moutaingun Ortler 3902 meter, probably highest picture taken in WWI, ca 1917. Mario Unger /

“In these images you see WW1 photographs together with some images which are linked to WW1,” he said.

“Franz Ferdinand of Austria’s assassination was the trigger for WW1 and with colour you can feel a little bit more what happened.

1918 US soldier with trophies. Mario Unger /


“I choose the images of war, because war doesn’t look as terrible in black and white as it does in colour.

“I have restored and colourised hundreds of old photographs, war images are just a small part of them.

Mountain warfare, Austrian soldiers somewhere in the Alps, c1916. Mario Unger /


“I hate that there is still war on earth, but to restore and colourise this images was still interesting.”

Franz Ferdinand’s assassination led to a month of diplomatic manoeuvring between Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, France and Britain, called the July Crisis.

Christmas Truce 1914. Mario Unger /


After a series of ultimatums each country took a side in the conflict between Austria and Serbia and led to World War One.

Striking images like these are featured in British author Michael D. Carroll’s new book, Retrographic on the colourisation of historical images.
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