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Airman wins battle of Trafalgar Square

PUBLISHED: 17:32 14 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:10 12 August 2010

PROUD: Campaigners celebrate the news that Air Marshal Keith Park, stationed at Biggin Hill, will be honoured in the capital.

PROUD: Campaigners celebrate the news that Air Marshal Keith Park, stationed at Biggin Hill, will be honoured in the capital.

A STATUE celebrating a Battle of Britain hero will be erected on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Campaigners forced Westminster council to back down last Thursday after it previously refused to place the monument to Sir Keith Park on the empty st

A STATUE celebrating a Battle of Britain hero will be erected on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Campaigners forced Westminster council to back down last Thursday after it previously refused to place the monument to Sir Keith Park on the empty stand.

Some 2,500 people signed a petition calling for the fitting tribute to go ahead.

Sir Keith was commander of RAF squadrons at Biggin Hill airfield, Britain's principal fighter station, which defended London and the South East from German air forces in 1940. Biggin Hill squadrons, commanded by Sir Keith, claimed more enemy aircraft than any other station with 1,400 over the course of the war, including 400 during The Battle of Britain. The statue of the late Air Marshal will occupy the plinth for six months after which a permanent location will be found for it, possibly in Waterloo Place.

Sculpted by Les Johnson, the bronze statue shows the New Zealand-born war hero looking upwards and eastwards, towards the direction enemy planes came from.

Campaign Chairman, Terry Smith said: "Everyone associated with the campaign is thrilled. We have worked hard for this day, and we're delighted because it is about time that Britain properly recognised what Sir Keith Park achieved for this country.

"It is no exaggeration to say that the leadership given by Sir Keith Park was crucial to our winning the Battle of Britain, and therefore the outcome of WWII."

katherine.nelson@archant.co.uk

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