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A bloke who left neighbours baffled when he flew a Nazi flag alongside a Poppy outside his home has said the stunt was a 'sign of respect'.
The swastika display outside the property in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, attracted significant attention in the area last Friday (May 27) and caused even more of a stir when posted on social media by an appalled onlooker, reports YorkshireLive.
Now the unnamed flag enthusiast has sought to explain his actions to the local newspaper by saying the flag was used to commemorate the anniversary of the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck during World War II.
This took place on May 29, 1941, with the swastika featuring as the ensign on the enemy ship.
The man told the paper he regularly puts up topical flags outside his home to mark major events and causes, with him having shown an NHS flag during the Covid pandemic.
He has since replaced the offending item with a Platinum Jubilee display.
He claimed his flying of the Nazi flag along with a symbol of remembrance — one which many found offensive — had in fact been misinterpreted, as it dated back to an old naval tradition of respect.
Detailing his father's service role during the European conflict, he said: "My father fought in the Second World War and as a naval tradition you show respect to your enemy as well as your own flag.
"There was no intention of causing any offence to anyone. It's not glorifying war, it's commemorating it."
"It was a matter of showing respect. I would have thought people would have understood that with the Poppy being flown at the same time."
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He also confirmed that police had attended his property on Sunday (May 29) after receiving complaints.
Officers then turned up a further three times over the following 24 hours after they became concerned over threats he had received.
While one neighbour described the flag display as "strange" and a "silly mistake", another praised his efforts more generally to introduce the public to different flags as it brings the neighbourhood "more colour".
Reflecting on the incident, the man clarified the stunt was "not political" but agreed not to fly the flag again.
He said he would now look for a modern Kreigsmarine flag without the swastika for future displays.
- World War 2
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