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Goff voices support for Keith Park memorial

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence

23 March 2008

Media statement

Goff voices support for Keith Park memorial

Defence Minister Phil Goff said today he has written to campaigners and Britain’s Secretary for Defence in support of a statue of Kiwi war hero Sir Keith Park being erected in Trafalgar Square.

“This would give overdue recognition to a man whose efforts were critical in helping prevent the invasion of Britain and thus in changing the course of the war,” Mr Goff said.

“Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park, as Commander of the RAF during the Battle of Britain, played a vital part in Britain’s defence at a critical phase of WWII when the Luftwaffe threatened to destroy the British air defence system and economy as a precursor to invasion.

“Chief of the RAF Lord Tedder said of Sir Keith in 1947: ‘If any man won the Battle of Britain, he did. I don’t believe it is realised how much that one man, with his leadership, his calm judgment and his skill, did to save not only this country but the world.

“Sir Keith was a great and modest New Zealander – a quiet achiever who did what was needed to be done and did it exceptionally well. Along with Sir Keith more than 12,000 New Zealanders served in the RAF during WWII, of whom more than a quarter died.

“Together with many Kiwis I support calls for Sir Keith’s remarkable service to be properly recognised. I have written to the Chairman of the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign, Terry Smith, in London and Britain’s Secretary of Defence Des Browne to express our support for a statue of Sir Keith to be erected in London’s Trafalgar Square,” Phil Goff said.

ENDS

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