From the Daily Mail online
Chilling never-before-seen pictures have emerged that show the first shots of the Second World War being fired.
The heart-stopping images show the Nazi battleship SMS Schleswig-Holstein sending shots blazing towards Danzig harbour on Poland's Westerplatte peninsula at close range in the early hours of September 1, 1939.
Fired at dawn, the shots began the Nazi invasion of Poland and saw Britain declare war on Germany for a second time two days later.
They triggered the six-year conflict that tore Europe, Japan and the USA apart and left 70 million people dead.
The black and white snaps were taken by a German sailor and have ended up in the hands of a British historian who came across them on research trips to the country in the 1960s.
An album of them is now up for auction in Ashford, Kent and are expected to sell tomorrow for £250.
The shots marked the beginning of the Battle of Westerplatte, the first battle of the Second World War, which after seven days of fighting saw Poland fall to the Nazis.
It saw German Army, naval and air forces attack the country at Danzig, bombing Poland's Military Transit Depot on the Westerplatte peninsula.
The heroic efforts to by Polish forces are still celebrated to this day and Westerplatte soon became a symbol of Polish resistance.
Matthew Tredwin, of C&T Auctioneers where the images of the battle are going under the hammer, said: 'It is a fascinating album and very historical as it seems to record the very first shots fired in anger in the Second World War.
'The pictures are clearly captioned identifying the German ship and the attack on the Westerplatte peninsula.
'An overwhelming message you take from flicking through the album is the contempt German servicemen held against their enemies from the very start of the war.
'There are lots of photographs taken on board Scharnhorst showing the might of her guns as well as her crew happily posing for the camera after the sinking of a Royal Navy ship.
'There are also images that show the ship completely iced up from when it carried out patrols in the north Atlantic in the winter of 1939. It is one of the finest captioned albums of its kind that that I have come across