Sir Keith Park

Tomorrow, on Battle of Britain day, a statue of Air Vice Marshal Keith Park will be unveiled in London’s Waterloo Gardens. Military historian Stephen Bungay:

The Battle of Britain was the most important campaign in the history of the RAF. That it was fought and won was down to three men. The first was Winston Churchill. He decided to fight it. The second was Hugh Dowding. He built the system that made victory possible. The third was Keith Park. He wielded the weapon that Dowding had forged and Churchill decided to use.

One of the top Allied air aces of the war, Johnnie Johnson, said of Park “He was the only man who could have lost the war in a day or even an afternoon.” And as Churchill said, “The odds were great, our margins small, the stakes infinite.”

More about Park here.

Via Mrs Moneypenny at Financial Times

6 thoughts on “Sir Keith Park”

  1. Interesting that he lost a bureaucratic struggle with Leigh-Mallory and was transferred after the Battle of Britain. Leigh-Mallory was a thorn in Eisenhower’s side on D-Day and during the preparations leading up to it. Warriors are often less talented at the bureaucratic infighting.

  2. I think that this would be an excellent location for a statue of A.V.M. Park:

    “St Clement Danes is a church in the City of Westminster, London. It is situated outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. The current building was completed in 1682 by Sir Christopher Wren and it now functions as the central church of the Royal Air Force.

    “The church was almost destroyed by German bombs during the London Blitz of 10 May 1941. The outer walls, the tower and Gibbs’s steeple, survived the bombing, but the interior was gutted by fire.

    “Following an appeal for funds by the Royal Air Force, the church was completely restored and was re-consecrated on 19 October 1958 to become the Central Church of the Royal Air Force.

    “As part of the rebuilding, a Latin inscription was added over the main door of the church, translating as: “Built by Christopher Wren 1682. Destroyed by the thunderbolts of air warfare 1941. Restored by the Royal Air Force 1958.”

    “Outside the church stand statues of two of the RAF’s wartime leaders, Arthur “Bomber” Harris and Hugh Dowding.

    “Books of Remembrance listing the names of all the RAF personnel who have died in service, as well as those American airmen based in the United Kingdom who died during World War Two.

    “The church’s organ, situated facing the altar in the gallery, was a gift from the United States Air Force.”

  3. A fourth name is missing: Alfred Lee Loomis. He’s the American polymath –lawyer, financier, and scientist — who convened the money, scientific talent, and strategic vision to develop, miniaturize, and field implement the cavity magnetron (what we know as microwave radar capable of detecting individual planes and night time use). Without that, Britain would’ve been lost. He’s also the sine qua non of what became the Manhattan Project.

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