BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)
***Please Use Full Byline***
A collection of never-seen-before photographs taken during the controversial 1903 British Mission to Tibet has come to light.
The rare snaps were taken by an officer during the campaign - the first time the British were given access to the country.
They depict the haunting beauty of the secluded country and brought images of Tibeten landscapes including Mount Everest to the west for the first time.
The set contains 140 sepia pictures of Tibetan buildings, people and soldiers, including a particularly poignant photograph of a British gunner manning a Maxim machine gun.
Early in the campaign, troops gunned down 700 lightly armed Tibetan monks standing in their path in the infamous Massacre of Chumik Shenko.
The slaughter was so brutal that Lieutenant Arthur Hadow, commander of the Maxim guns detachment, wrote afterwards: "I got so sick of the slaughter that I ceased fire.
"I hope I shall never again have to shoot down men walking away."
The expedition began in December 1903 when around 3,000 troops marched into the country from India led by Colonel Francis Younghusband.
It was initiated by Lord George Curzon, the Viceroy of India, to prevent Russia gaining influence in Tibet.
They reach the capital Lhasa in August 1904, when the government signed a treaty effectively turning the country into a British protectorate.
The photo archive is being sold by desecendents of one of the officers on the trip from southern England after languishing in a drawer for years.
The collection is tipped to fetch 1,200 pounds when it goes under the hammer.