Ex servicemen have been left fuming after a Solihull school flew the German flag on the anniversary of D-Day.
Members of the British Legion condemned the decision by Arden Academy to fly the black, red and gold flag on the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings as “out of order.”
However, Martin Murphy, the principal of the school, in Knowle, defended the move, insisting the flag was a way of welcoming German exchange students who were visiting that weekend.
But an Arden Academy insider said there was upset amongst staff there. “Some staff were very upset, some lost relatives during the war. I think it was extremely insensitive,” the source said. “To put the flag up on D-Day is just appalling.” Jeff Stocks, who served in the Navy and is now chairman of the Royal British Legion Solihull, was also critical. “In my personal opinion, they should not have done it, not around D-Day,” he said.
“It’s going to cause a lot of upset and anger, especially with ex-servicemen.”
Ray Warren, branch chairman of Knowle British Legion, said ex-servicemen would be “disgusted.”
He said: “Considering there are two celebrations this year – the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 100th anniversary of the First World War – it’s very out of order. I think many ex military would be disgusted to see the German flag.
“It is a very unusual step for Arden to take and I am quite shocked. We have got very few ex- servicemen left now and I think for them to see something like that is out of order.
“These men have suffered enough and there are lads who are still serving their country.”
Mr Murphy, Interim Executive Principal at Arden, said: “We did not intend to cause any upset. The flag was there to simply welcome our German exchange students, who arrived at the weekend.
“The flag was put up in time for their arrival. We were celebrating the arrival of our German students, who are really enjoying their time in Solihull at the moment.”
Mr Murphy said having good relations with exchange students is something the school has been part of for years.