Black and white memories of Liberation Day 1945 are on-screen in full colour at Jersey Museum & Art Gallery to mark this year’s 76th anniversary of the special day in Jersey’s history.
‘Liberation in Colour’, which showcases a series of images that were painstakingly colourised, is showing twice daily in the AV Theatre until 16 May 2021. The short film is being screened at 11am and 2.30pm, and entry is free.
Jersey Heritage commissioned documentary producer Alastair Layzell to colourise the black and white photographs and piece them together to create a film. The project was originally to mark last year’s Liberation 75 celebrations but it was delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The images include the surrender aboard HMS Bulldog and Islanders in their Sunday best exploring the German gun emplacements at Noirmont in July 1945. The film is narrated by actor and Occupation historian John Nettles. The colourisation was carried out by video editor Richard Hall.
Chris Addy, Jersey Heritage’s Sites Curator, said: “This was a momentous time in Jersey’s history and it is fascinating to see these images transformed from black and white into colour. We are grateful for all the time and effort that Alastair and his team have put into carefully researching the colours and carrying out the colourisation process. Seeing these memories in full colour can only enhance our understanding of the joy our Island community must have felt at tasting freedom again after five long and difficult years.”
In colourising the images, Alastair took inspiration from Peter Jackson’s film, ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’, which in 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War by colourising moving film of the conflict.
Alastair said: “For my generation, the Second World War was fought in black and white. The Americans had colour stock – for photographs and moving pictures – but the British were not as advanced and mainly relied on monochrome. The images from the war, including those of the liberation of the Channel Islands, came to us in black and white. To see some of those familiar images in colour is remarkable.
“Although the colourised film was originally commissioned to mark the 75th anniversary of Liberation, the images are timeless and it is just as fitting to use them to mark the 76th anniversary. Perhaps our colourisation will help new generations – used to seeing the world in colour – to better appreciate the momentous events of 1945.”