Discovery of the Week: Sir Keith Park

I was hanging out with friends last week – exams over for the year, summer work hasn’t started yet, all that jazz – and we decided to go the the Auckland War Memorial Museum. (I’d like to claim I was the enlightened person who suggested it. Actually I suggested we all go and snooze in the park.) We ended up in the section on World War II and the Battle of Britain.

The Battle of Britain was Hitler’s first defeat in World War II and one of the turning points that ultimately led to a victory for the Allied forces. It was a battle in the air between the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force and Germany’s Luftwaffe.

Keith Park was a New Zealander who fought in both World Wars. He was the commander of the No. 11 Group RAF during the Battle of Britain. No. 11 Group bore the brunt of the Luftwaffe’s attacks and is the main reason Germany failed to achieve air domination and invade Britain.

Of the RAF during the Battle of Britain, Winston Churchill said, probably truthfully:

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

After the Battle of Britain, Park was removed from his position due to politics within the RAF and went on to fight in North Africa, the Mediterranean and South-East Asia.

Sir Keith Park, Waterloo Place
Sir Keith Park, Waterloo Place

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