HAUNTING photographs which capture the trail of devastation left in the wake of the Dunkirk evacuation have emerged for sale in Dorchester.

The poignant pictures were taken not long after 330,000 Allied troops had been rescued from the beaches by an armada of little ships having been defeated by the Germans.

The epic operation is about to be the subject of the new Hollywood blockbuster movie Dunkirk which stars Tom Hardy and Harry Styles and is due for release on July 21.

The black and white snaps, which will be sold by Duke’s Auctioneers of Dorchester, show German soldiers surveying the wreckage of destroyed ships lying in the surf. 

There is one image of two grinning officers stood in front of a fleet of burnt-out British army trucks which would have been used to off-load the thousands of the retreating troops days before.

Other pictures highlight the sand strewn with mechanical debris and a soldier walking past the axle and wheels of a large military vehicle destroyed by the German guns.

There are also several photos showing the extensive damage caused to seafront buildings in Dunkirk and the neighbouring Belgian towns of Ostend and La Panne.

Mystery surrounds who took the photos, but it is likely that they were captured by a German soldier.

They have now been consigned for sale at Duke’s by a private collector of militaria.

It is unclear how the album ended up in England but it is likely it was acquired towards the end of the war as a souvenier by a British solider.

It is thought it was owned by a Private E Davies who served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) - the women’s branch of the army during the Second World War.

Hidden amongst the album is a tongue-in-cheek menu card for the Christmas dinner of 1943 enjoyed by the men and women of the 571 Mixed Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery.

Timothy Medhurst, of Duke’s Auctioneers, said: “Pictures taken behind-enemy-lines during the war showing what was going on, especially after a battle, are quite rare to come up for auction.

“Although some of the pictures capture horrific scenes of damage and destruction, they provide a very important snapshot into the aftermath of one of the most pivotal battles of the war.

“Despite being defeated at the time, the Dunkirk evacuation was a triumph over adversity for the Allies and ensured that Britain lived to fight another day.

“With the renewed interest in the new Dunkirk movie that is about to come out we think there will be a lot of interest from collectors who can bid live on the sale.”

The Dunkirk evacuation in June 1940 came about as a result of the German Blitzkrieg in the Second World War.

The French and British armies could not stop the fierce German advance and were squeezed back to the beaches around Dunkirk on the France/Belgium border.

The 330,000 trapped men were a sitting target for the Germans so Operation Dynamo was formulated to get as many men off the beaches as possible. 

The album is tipped to sell for £200 at Duke’s militaria sale on October 13. The auctioneers are appealing for collectors of militaria to consign items with them for the sale.