Statue unveiled on Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square
Today, as Chairman of the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign, I will be participating in the unveiling of a statue of Sir Keith Park on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, in central London. Sir Keith Park commanded No.11 Group of the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Battle of Britain in the Summer of 1940. It was the squadrons under his command that bore the brunt of the attacks on London and South East England by the Luftwaffe.
I am an avid historian; when an article in the Financial Times on the Battle of Britain Day 2007 sparked a series of letters supporting the call to recognise Sir Keith Park, I decided to back the campaign that emerged from that exchange of correspondence. According to Lord Tedder, Marshal of the Royal Air Force, "If ever any one man won the Battle of Britain, he did. I don't believe it is recognised how much this one man... did to save not only this country, but the world." Those of us who have lived since the end of the Second World War need no justification beyond Lord Tedder’s remarks to support such a worthy cause – to recognise Park and all those who served under him.
I am delighted that the campaign has been successful in securing fitting recognition for Sir Keith Park. That people have been reminded of him is an end in itself, but we have also secured the temporary statue in Trafaglar square, and a permanent statue to be erected as part of the formal Battle of Britain 70th anniversary celebrations in 2010. I would like to thank the dedicated campaign team, the RAF and the very many supporters of the campaign for their efforts in achieving this success. We have created a photo album on the right with a few pictures of the campaign to date; we will be adding images from the unveiling, the statue and attendees over the next few days.