Park’s Plinth a Triumph
A statue of revered New Zealand airman and Battle of Britain hero Sir Keith Park has been unveiled on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. The unveiling was a triumph for the veterans who have campaigned to have their leader commemorated in the capital. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, compared the efforts of the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign to the aerial struggle to defend Britain against the Luftwaffe in the summer and autumn of 1940. “They have shown a dogged persistence and a refusal to accept defeat against overwhelming odds that could have been inspired by the Battle of Britain itself,” he told a crowd of 400 people who had gathered for the unveiling. “If it had just been down to me, I would have renamed Hyde Park ‘Keith Park’, or possibly ‘Park Park’, in his honour. Indeed, there were times when it looked easier to rename Hyde Park than erect a statue in Trafalgar Square.” The statue, which was made in New Zealand by WETA Workshop, will be moved to the RAF Museum in Hendon, northwest London, after its six-month stay on the plinth. A smaller version will be placed permanently in Waterloo Place, South London, on September 15, 2010, to mark the battle’s 70th anniversary.