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Sir Keith Park joins the Few

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

One of the 'architects of victory' in the Battle of Britain has been formally acknowledged as one of the Few.

The name of Sir Keith Park, already revered for the part he played as Air Officer Commanding, 11 Group, Fighter Command, will now be added to the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall at Capel-le-Ferne.

While clearly playing a vital role in the RAF's victory over the Luftwaffe in 1940, there was uncertainty around whether or not Sir Keith had met the criteria to be awarded the Battle of Britain Clasp to the 1939-45 Star - completing at least one operational sortie with a recognised unit or squadron of Fighter Command between 10 July and 31 October.

Following research in Auckland, New Zealand and in the UK, author and historian Dilip Sarkar MBE, supported by the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, put forward evidence that the Ministry of Defence's Air Historical Branch (RAF) has now accepted.

Dilip was able to show that Sir Keith actually carried out two operational sorties, one on 10 July when he flew over a convoy in the Channel while visiting the coastal airfield at Lympne, and another two days later when his logbook showed he flew his personal Hurricane "To Kenley to meet PM and escort back to Northolt".

The author's discovery was made while carrying out research for his eight-part history of the Battle of Britain which is being published in association with the Trust. Volume One is now on sale.

Sir Keith's name will be added to the online Battle of Britain London monument as well as being inscribed on the black granite Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall.

Group Captain Patrick Tootal OBE, Secretary of the Trust, welcomed the news, adding: “Following research by Dilip connected with his eight-volume history for the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, the Trust has verified Sir Keith Park’s entitlement to the Battle of Britain Clasp.

"The Trust, in conjunction with the Air Historical Branch, stringently maintains the criteria for entitlement and the evidence provided has shown that Sir Keith completed two operational flights in a fighter aircraft within the defined period of the Battle.

"Sir Keith Park’s name, therefore, will be added to the database and appear on the Memorial Wall in due course. A bust of Sir Keith Park is already in situ at the Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne”

Stephen and Brian Park, great-nephews of Sir Keith, said, “We are, of course, delighted that our old Uncle Keith has now been formally acknowledged as being one of the Few.

"While we appreciate that recognition of his vital role during the Battle of Britain secures his place in history anyway, that wasn’t always a certain thing. So, we are grateful to Dilip for alerting the Air Historical Branch to the evidence of why he qualified as one of the Few. We think this matters. When those of us who knew Keith Park personally are no longer around, all that’s left of certainty is his record of service, which speaks for itself to future generations.” Read more about Dilip’s discovery on the Pen & Sword blog.

Air Vice-Marshal Sir Keith Park with his personal Hurricane, ‘OK1’, during the Battle of Britain.

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Michael Cox
Michael Cox
Aug 14, 2023

Well deserved Battle of Britains Clasp for Sir Keith Park,long overdue ,and congratulations Dilip for ensuring the long overdue award is now been brought upto date,Thankyou all.

Mike Cox ex RAF Veteran ,

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