A former squaddie has taken down the Nazi flag that was flying in his front garden after a fierce backlash from his neighbours.
Billy Brown put the swastika flag up in the back garden of his home on Belmont Walk in Walker, Newcastle. The 81-year-old's neighbours described the provocative display as “very naughty”.
Billy, who says he was in the British Army for six years and served in Germany, told reporters he had put the flag up for a relative who was interested in history and World War II. He added he hadn’t bought the flag, but that someone had posted it though his letterbox.
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Neighbours said that around the time the flag had gone up, they had heard “German music” including the marching song Erika, which was widely used by the Wehrmacht during the Second World War.
One neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, told Chronicle Live: "He's always got different flags but that is the first time I've seen a Nazi flag. I'm in complete and utter shock. I'm disgusted."
Another local resident, who did not want to be named, said: "Other neighbours are as disgusted as I am, it gives the street a bad name as we’ll all be tarred with the same brush. Walker is a lovely mix of people so there will be a lot upset at seeing this bigoted flag. They have been singing loudly songs in German but, as I do not speak German, I do not know if they were Nazi songs or something else."
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A third person, who lives nearby, added: "That's wrong. He can't be doing things like that no matter how old he is. It's offensive – it's naughty, it's very naughty."
He said he checked the internet to see if Nazi flags were banned before flying it in his garden. Billy said he then made the decision after checking that they were legal.
Billy, who has lived at the address for 49 years, said: "The flag was pushed through the letter box one Saturday.
"I was a bit concerned I would upset people. I was worrying with it being a dodgy flag – and it doesn't get much more dodgy than that.
"If it had been banned I wouldn't have done it. I'm going off what somebody said on the computer.”
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He took the Nazi flag down at around lunchtime on Tuesday after becoming aware of the backlash by neighbours. He added: "I'll still fly my flags but this one is definitely gone. I'll put it in a black bag."
Billy says he has several flags from different countries that he puts up in his garden. He said: "I put different flags up. It's something to do. I had a Sierra Leone one, I've just took it down. I have got storage boxes, about three or four of them, and I just pick one out."
Billy said he puts up flags from around the world but he wouldn't put a Union Jack one up. When asked why, he replied: "With the state of this country, you're kidding?”
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