An ex-British soldier has taken down a Nazi flag following angry protests from his outraged neighbours.
Billy Brown, 81, had raised the flag in the back garden of his home in Newcastle on Monday (August 22) with one nearby resident also claiming to hear the German marching song Erika, which was adopted by the Nazi regime during World War II, coming from the pensioner's house.
Having claimed he was stationed in Germany during his six years of service with the British Army, Brown argued that he put the swastika flag on display for a family member, who was interested in WWII and history.
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The octogenarian, who has lived at the same address for the last 49 years, also insisted that the flag had been posted through his door by an unknown person and that he checked on the internet to find out whether Nazi flags were banned before flying it outside his home.
"I was a bit concerned I would upset people," he admitted. "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."
Brown, who is also a former shipyard worker, has been raising flags from different countries in his garden for many years and owns three or four storage boxes full of them.
He has also recently taken down the national flag of Sierra Leone, but adds that he would never put the Union Jack on display, explaining: "With the state of this country? You're kidding."
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Before Brown took the flag down, one offended neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "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 said: "It gives the street a bad name as we'll all be tarred with the same brush. 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."
On learning of his neighbours' fury, Brown removed the flag from sight at Tuesday lunchtime (August 23).
"I'll still fly my flags but this one is definitely gone," he said. "I'll put it in a black bag."
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