Officer Commanding, No. 11 Group
Air Vice Marshal Sir
Keith Rodney Park M.C., D.F.C.
Born in New
Zealand, 1893, Park served in World War One as a gunner
before being transferred to the Royal Flying Corps during
1917 and receiving a commission in the Royal Air Force. He
commanded No: 48 Squadron in 1918, the first to be equipped
with the Bristol Fighter. He was awarded the Military Cross
(M.C.) and the Distinguished Flying Cross (D.F.C.).
After RAF Staff College he was appointed Air Attaché to
Argentina and by 1938 had become Dowding's right-hand man as
senior Staff Officer in Fighter Command before being
appointed as Air Officer Commanding of No: 11 Group. Like
Dowding, Park was transferred to a new command (a Flying
Training Group) after the Battle of Britain due to his
criticism of the “Big Wing” tactics.
He became Air Officer Commanding in Malta, 1942, before the
appointments of Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Middle East
in 1944 and Allied Air Commander-in-Chief of South-East Asia
Command in 1945.
After his retirement from the R.A.F., he returned to New
Zealand where he died in 1975, aged 82