The Battle of Britain from July to September 1940 is one of the finest moments in Britain’s history. While credit rightly goes to ‘The Few,’ victory could never have happened without the inspirational command and leadership of New Zealander Keith Park.
He and Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding ensured that Fighter Command was prepared for the Nazi onslaught. Promoted to Air Vice Marshal, Park took over No 11 Group, responsible for the defense of London and South East England in April 1940. A shrewd tactician and hands-on commander, Park carefully husbanded his limited resources and famously wore down Goering’s Luftwaffe, thus forcing Hitler to abandon his invasion plans.
Shamefully, Dowding and Park were dismissed from their commands in the aftermath of victory due to internal RAF politics. Fortunately, Park’s career was far from over and his management of the defense of Malta made significant contribution to victory in the Mediterranean.
This balanced and well overdue account hopefully ensures that Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park receives the credit for victory that he so richly deserves.