"If any one man won the Battle of Britain, he did."
Lord Tedder GCB, Marshal of the Royal Air Force, 1947
Sir Keith Park commanded the Royal Air Force 11 Group Fighter Command – the squadrons which bore the brunt of the Battle of Britain. The failure of Nazi Germany to defeat the RAF in 1940 was Hitler’s first major setback – and forced him to call off his planned invasion of Britain. So we are campaigning for a statue to Park, the leader of The Few, to be erected on the fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square beneath Nelson’s Column – a memorial to another British hero who defended our nation’s freedom in her hour of need.
Keith Park was a New Zealander, who fought in the First World War at Gallipoli, and then the Somme, before joining the RAF. At the outbreak of the Second World War Park was commanding the RAF squadrons that defended the South East of England. Another hero who fought in the Battle of Britain, the RAF pilot Douglas Bader, said that “the awesome responsibility for this country’s survival rested squarely on Keith Park’s shoulders. British military history of this century has been enriched with the names of great fighting men from New Zealand, of all ranks and in every one of our services. Keith Park’s name is carved into history alongside those of his peers.”
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Sir Keith Park - Why a memorial Statue?
A suitable memorial to the senior commander of the Royal Air Force Sector 11 Squadrons (11 Group), who defended London and the South East of England during the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940, is an oversight that needs to be addressed. (SE includes: Kent, Surrey, East and West Sussex, Essex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight).
In addition to his considerable achievements in commanding 11 Group, he also commanded the RAF in Malta (1942-43) and under Mountbatten in 1945 he was Allied Air Commander-In-Chief of South East Asia. With previously a distinguished early career in the NZ and British Army, including time spent in Gallipoli and the Somme, and then as an ace fighter pilot later in the First World War, Sir Keith Park’s accomplishments in various theatres demonstrate what a remarkable man he was.
Trafalgar Square currently celebrates military leaders of this country – naval and army. It can truly be termed a ‘Square for Heroes’. Incorporating a statue of Sir Keith Park would appropriately acknowledge the accomplishments and feats he secured in both world wars, but especially in defending the South East and London during the Battle of Britain. Such a statue would add to those in Trafalgar Square and celebrate his steadfastness in defence of our realm and his unique blend of management and leadership style that enabled the pilots, aircrew and ground support staff to defend our country and the free world during those dark days.
There is no conclusion other than if this Battle of Britain in 1940 had been lost, then the outcome of the Second World War, and our current lives, would have been very different.
Subsequent to the Second World War one quote, and not the usual oft-quoted Winston Churchill, shines some light on the importance of Sir Keith Park to the history of our free country.
"If ever any one man won the battle of Britain, he did. I don’t believe it is recognised how much this one man, with his leadership, his calm judgement and his skill, did to save not only this country, but the world." Marshal of the RAF, Lord Tedder.
It is public knowledge, and has already received support, that Terry Smith of Tullett Prebon PLC and Collins Stewart Plc, City of London financial firms, has pledged to fund a suitable statue of Sir Keith Park.
Terry Smith and the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign express condolences on the great loss suffered by the Republic of Poland on the untimely death of President Lech Kaczynski.