Astonishing photos by 16-year-old German soldier

They lay forgotten in a dank cellar for almost a century. But remarkable photos, published for the first time, give a rare and uncensored view of the horrors of the First World War from behind enemy lines.

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They were taken by Walter Kleinfeldt who joined a German gun crew in 1915 and fought at the Somme aged just 16. As his haunting pictures, taken with a Contessa camera, make all too clear, life in the trenches was a harrowing experience. The images provide an insight into the epic machinery of war – and capture the darkest moments of battle, with bodies strewn among the rubble.

Returning home in 1918, Walter set up a photography shop in the town of Tubingen, where he worked until his death in 1945. Walter’s son Volkmar discovered the pictures three years ago.

They are now the focus of a new BBC documentary. Director Nick Maddocks said: ‘It is rare to find such good-quality, honest and often beautiful photos that show us war through the eyes of the soldier, particularly from one so young.’

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