Hero to be remembered in Trafalgar Square

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by CXX, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. CXX

    CXX New Member


    A statue of World War Two hero Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park will be unveiled on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday 4 November 2009.

    Sir Keith ParkSir Keith commanded Number 11 Group of Fighter Command which had responsibility for the defence of London and the South East during the Battle of Britain and his inspirational leadership and tactical brilliance was central to Britain winning the battle, which in turn helped determine the outcome of the entire Second World War. His statue will be on the Fourth Plinth for six months and then a permanent memorial statue of Park will then be erected in Waterloo Place on the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain on 15 September 2010.

    The Trafalgar Square event will commence at 4pm with weather permitting, a Royal Air Force flypast of a Spitfire and Typhoon from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, following which, supported by the Central Band of the RAF and the Queen’s Colour Squadron, the statue will be unveiled by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, Terry Smith, Chairman of the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign and Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, Chief of the Air Staff.

    Final Representation Maquette of Sir Keith Park showing Tower Bridge in the BackgroundCommenting on the pending unveiling, Air Vice-Marshal Greg Bagwell, the modern day equivalent of Sir Keith Park, who currently commands the Air Defence fighter squadrons that protect UK airspace today, commented:

    “One of the Royal Air Force’s key roles, on its formation in 1918, was and remains the control of the airspace above the UK, to ensure that the country is safe from air attack. Today, as they were during the Battle of Britain, a force of fighter aircraft are held on ‘quick reaction alert’ all year round, day and night, with a remit to ‘scramble’ within a few minutes to intercept any aircraft that enters the UK’s airspace without proper authorisation. Sir Keith Park’s legacy endures today through the unwavering courage, professionalism and dedication of the men and women who serve in the Royal Air Force.
  2. CXX

    CXX New Member

    Fourth Plinth RAF hero unveiled

    A statue of RAF hero Sir Keith Park is to be unveiled on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square later.

    Sir Keith commanded RAF squadrons which defended London and the South East from World War II Luftwaffe attacks in 1940.

    The fibre glass sculpture, which will be in place for six months, will be unveiled at 1600 GMT on Wednesday.

    A separate, permanent, bronze statue of Park will be erected in Waterloo Place on the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain on 15 September 2010.

    The design of the Sir Keith statue by sculptor Les Johnson will be used for both the temporary 5m (16.4ft) statue in Trafalgar Square as well as for the 2.78m (9ft) permanent memorial in Waterloo Place.

    "If ever any one man won the Battle of Britain, he (Sir Keith) did"
    Lord Tedder , RAF Marshall

    The project saw members of the public occupy the plinth as "living sculptures".

    More than 1,000 invited guests, including RAF veterans and members of Sir Keith's family, will attend the unveiling of Sir Keith's statue.

    The ceremony will commence with a Spitfire and Typhoon aircraft flypast.

    The statue's opening ceremony follows pressure by the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign to honour the New Zealander.

    Campaigners originally called for a permanent statue of Sir Keith to be erected in Trafalgar Square.

    But London Mayor Boris Johnson, who supported the bid before his election, decided in June last year that the plinth would continue to be used predominantly for contemporary art.

    Mr Johnson said London owed "an enormous debt to Sir Keith Park".

    "Having a temporary memorial to this great hero in Trafalgar Square in time for the 70th anniversary of a historic turning point is our way of showing gratitude for the bravery and commitment he showed to London and the world," he said.

    Terry Smith, head of the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign, said: "It is an honour to be unveiling a statue of Sir Keith Park in Trafalgar Square today."

    Sir Keith was "a key figure in ensuring the survival of our nation," he added.

    RAF Marshall Lord Tedder said Sir Keith "saved the world".

    "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," he said.

    Sir Keith Park's statue will be followed on the fourth plinth by Uinka Shonibare's Ship in a Bottle, which will be installed in May 2010.
  3. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    His contribution was understood by his peers however the greater percentage of the people were unaware how important his contribution actually was.

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