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By Daily Mail Reporter Last updated at 2:13 PM on 16th September 2009 The only colour photographs of the German surrender of World War Two have emerged 64 years after being taken by a lowly clerk who hid behind a tree. Crafty Ronald Playforth covertly captured one of the most historic events of the 20th century after sneaking into a clump of trees overlooking the scene of the surrender. With his camera, he snapped Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery greeting the highest ranking officers of the remains of Hitler's Third Reich outside his HQ tent.
War is over: This distant colour snapshot from behind a hedge records the moment the German high command came to surrender to Montgomery in the spring sunshine on Lunerburg Heath on May 3, 1945 signalling the end of the war Although defeated and just days after the Fuhrer's suicide, the never-seen-before photos show the German officers looking immaculate yet menacing in their long overcoats and jackboots. Until now the only images of the momentous occasion in existence are the official black and white ones held by the Imperial War Museum. Mr Playforth kept hold of his pictures along with a handwritten speech Montgomery wrote in March 1945 to rouse British soldiers ahead of a final push into Germany. The historic items have remained in Mr Playforth's family ever since but have now been made public for the first time as they are being sold at auction. Andrew Aldridge, of Henry Aldridge Auctioneers of Devizes, Wilts, said: 'Playforth knew he was about to witness one of the most important events of the 20th century. 'He was of too low a rank to be present so he crept into the trees and bushes on the perimeter of the HQ tent and took four photographs using colour slides. 'As far as we know these are the only colour photographs to capture this historic event, all the others are black and white. 'Being in colour they add a third dimension to the event and bring it alive.' In 1944 Ronald Playforth was a staff sergeant major and became Montgomery's clerk and was at his side from D-Day until the end of the war. In May 1945 he was stationed at Montgomery's HQ at Luneburg Heath, near Hamburg, when the Nazi high command arrived to sign the papers for the surrender of the German armies in Europe.