VE Day: Nazi surrender photos by Edward Malindine revealed

By Carys Betteley & Max Evans
BBC News

  • Published
Media caption,

Ray Chick shows the photos, saying: "After 75 years, people should see them"

A war photographer's rare collection showing Nazi Germany's surrender in 1945 has been shared by its owner to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Ray Chick, 82, was given Edward Malindine's photos by a family friend and kept them secret for decades.

Mr Chick, from Cardiff, said this weekend's commemorations meant it was "time for them to be seen".

He said the detail and quality of the images was "unbelievable" despite their turning brown with age.

Mr Chick's friend John Murphy was given the collection by Mr Malindine himself before the photographer died.

Image source, Ray Chick
Image caption,
General Brandenberger signing Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender

Then Mr Murphy passed them on to Mr Chick before his own death.

"He gave them to me because he was a very good friend of our family for many years," Mr Chick said.

"I was about 40ish and collecting antiques at the time."

The two sets of 12 photographs show key moments marking the end of World War Two in 1945 - one of British Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery signing and accepting Nazi Germany's instrument of surrender, and one of the Potsdam Conference, where the victorious Allies decided how the defeated Germany should be run.

Image source, Edward Malindine
Image caption,
Derek Knee - standing to the right in the beret - was interpreter for Field Marshal Montgomery at the German surrender in May 1945
Image source, Ray Chick
Image caption,
Lieutenant-General Horrocks dictates surrender terms to General Raspe, with Derek Knee present as interpreter

Mr Chick believes this to be the only photograph of its kind in existence.

"About 20 years ago there was a big publication about Derek and I got his phone number, phoned him and showed him the photo," he said.

"He'd never seen this one. He was bowled over - he autographed it for me very cleverly at the bottom so I'm very proud of that one."

Captain Knee, from Dinas Powys, had been learning German at the time and volunteered to help Montgomery to translate.

"He was just thrown in the deep end, and of course his wife-to-be went to the cinema and saw the news [of the signing]," Mr Chick said.

"There was a flash of Derek sat next to Monty and she leapt up in the seat and shouted out 'there's Derek!'"

Mr Chick said he chose the 75th anniversary year to share the photographs, having already shared one picture to mark the 50th anniversary.

Image source, Ray Chick
Image caption,
Representatives of Great Britain, the US, Russia and France face German delegates at Rheims

"Historians would go mad to see them but I've kept them secretly to ourselves... but I don't think I'll make the 100 years!

"They're priceless, absolutely priceless ... the kids in school today, they're history to them.

"They're an education, everyone should see them.

"They've gone a bit brown but the detail is unbelievable, you can see the tracks of the tanks... they're quite remarkable."

Mr Chick's wife Sylvia, 79, added: "They represent freedom as well.

"We've all got memories of the war, and after the war. I was born in my grandmother's house because there was an unexploded bomb in the roof of my house.

"At the end of the war, everyone celebrated.

"It was a great thing and the photographs tell you 'this is your freedom'.

"If it had gone the other way I don't know what the world would look like."

Image source, Ray Chick
Image caption,
Field-Marshal Keitel signing the surrender for the German Army

Little is known about the photographer Edward Malindine, but Mr Chick said he was one of just two photographers invited to the actual signing of the Nazi surrender.

He was also an army captain, and worked for the Daily Herald newspaper.

"You never stop researching," Mr Chick said.

"The people who've done all this, they're long gone, so it's very difficult to work out the exact circumstances because the signings were very rushed.

"We try and dig up as much as we can and we'll continue to do so.

"I hope the photographs will finish up somewhere people can appreciate them."

Image source, Ray Chick
Image caption,
German delegates approach Field Marshal Montgomery (second left) for the first time

Mr Chick said he regrets not finding out more about the photographs from John Murphy - and Mr Murphy's own history - when he was first given them.

"He didn't like to talk about it much but he was injured - quite severely injured I think - and as far as I know came home from France when the war finished to get well here.

"I put them [the photos] away and of course the years went by... and now because of the maturity of them and ourselves getting older we thought people must see them."

Image source, Ray Chick
Image source, Ray Chick