Swindon’s post-war ‘flagpole riot’

When Swindon Council organised a peace celebration for homecoming servicemen in the summer of 1919, things turned ugly. With disabled and demoralised men commonplace on the town’s streets, the expensive flagpole that was the centrepiece for the event became the focus of their anger.

A mob of disgruntled ex-soldiers burned the flagpole down and at one stage were seen marching down Regent Street, intent on using the remains of it as a battering ram.

Rodbourne man William Blake – himself a veteran of tank warfare – witnessed the event and wrote about it in his memoirs, and his account of the riot is published for the first time in the Summer 2013 edition of Swindon Heritage. The magazine will return to the memoirs in its Autumn 2013 (to be published in August) to reveal William’s historic role in the war.

Swindon librarian Tom Blake is pictured with the memoirs.



Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s