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A great New Zealander

One of London’s top City financiers is lobbying to get a statue of Keith Park, one of the top RAF commanders during the Battle of Britain, put in Trafalgar Square. Park, a New Zealander, seems an excellent choice.

Park had the sort of qualities, according to reports, that I have come to associate with New Zealanders today: unassuming, sharp sense of humour and frequently tough as nails.

12 comments to A great New Zealander

  • Johnathan

    Agreed.

    By the way, I know, approximately, about the (crucial) contribution made by Park to winning the Battle of Britain, ever since seeing Trevor Howard do him in the movie. But I believe Park also contributed mightily to the equally successful defence of Malta. Is that right? Or have I imagined it? If so, there’s a double reason for something like this.

  • Frederick Davies

    Brian,

    You are right on the Malta point; not only that, but when successfully defending Malta in 1942, Keith Parks did it against the same man he beat in the Battle of Britain, Albrecht Kesselring. Curious, isn’t it?

  • CountingCats

    the man who played a key role in saving Britain from Nazi invasion.

    This will play against him in some circles. A statue of another warmonger, helping to create/reinforce dislike of Germans.

  • Patrick

    Good choice. Park’s strategic and tactical handling of the Battle of Britain is in my view the best piece of military generalship during the whole war. He took a likely losing hand and won. It was ‘the few’ who did the fighting but it was Park who won the battle.

    Or failing this let’s just put up a statue of a modern day hero – maybe Castro or a lesbian cripple.

  • A black muslim lesbian cripple.

  • Brendan Halfweeg

    How about a statue of Il Presidente Blair when he gets the nod in Brussels…

  • Corsair

    A good choice, but why is there no – to my knowledge – statue of Jackie Fisher (Admiral Sir John Arbuthnot Fisher)? Fisher saved the British Empire, so he deserves a statue at least! Nor has there ever been a warship named after him.

  • Nick M

    JP,
    Just been re-reading Air Vice Marshal Johnnie Johnson’s book “Full Circle” (highly recommended) and can thoroughly concur with your assessment of Keith Park.

    I do though quite like the idea of a vacant plinth in Trafalgar Square for guest statues. Perhaps a statue of Park at 11 Group HQ (as was) or Biggin Hill, or on the coast flicking the bird in the direction of Germany…

  • Tranio

    Why not put up a statue of Ian Smith, he was a Rhodesian pilot in WW 2. It would really tick off Mugabe.

  • Julian Taylor

    Personally I’d go with a statue of the person responsible for the demise of Ken Livingstone – for an immense public service rendered.

    I thought there was already a statue of Park, in his native Dunedin in New Zealand.

    If we should construct a statue to anyone perhaps it should be to Hugh Dowding, rather than Park, since it was Dowding who not only created an integrated air defence system of radar, raid plotting and radio control of aircraft in the 1930′s and also refused to sacrifice more fighters to the defence of France, thus ensuring that there would be enough pilots and aircraft available for the defence of Britain.

    Failing that my fallback position is that the spare plinth should be dedicated to Charles “Chinese” Gordon (aka Gordon of Khartoum).

  • Hugh Dowding already has his statue in the Strand.

    >Good choice. Park’s strategic and tactical handling of the Battle of Britain is in my view the best piece of military generalship during the whole war. He took a likely losing hand and won. It was ‘the few’ who did the fighting but it was Park who won the battle.

    Apart from “likely losing hand”, I agree with you. They would only have lost it due to politicians throwing it away imho. The Luftwaffe were streets behind.

    On the statue. YES – a brilliant and unassuming man.

    I’d say give him Bader’s plinth, wherever that is – but I don’t think Bader has a statue either.