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Name: Keith Rodney Park
Military Cross (MC) and Bar
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Croix de Guerre
Keith Park
Country: New Zealand
Rank: Major
Service: Royal Flying Corps
Royal Air Force
Units: 48
Victories: 20
Born: 15 June 1892
Place of Birth: Thames, near Auckland
Died: 06 February 1975
Place of Death: Auckland
 
 
Sir Keith Rodney Park, GCB, KBE, MC, DFC, DCL, was educated at Otago Boys’ High School and Oxford University. He joined the New Zealand Field Artillery and served in Egypt and Gallipoli. Commissioned in July 1915, he transferred to the Royal Artillery in September 1915. In October 1916, he was wounded in action while serving in France. Two months later, he joined the Royal Flying Corps. After flight training he became an instructor and accumulated 100 hours of flight time before joining 48 Squadron as a Bristol Fighter pilot in July 1917. He scored his 13th victory on 5 September 1917, downing an Albatros D.V flown by Franz Pernet of Jasta Boelcke, the stepson of General Erich Ludendorff. By the end of the year, Park scored sixteen victories and was shot down once by anti-aircraft fire. On 3 January 1918, he was shot down again, this time by Kurt Ungewitter of Schusta 5. The highest scoring ace to serve with 48 Squadron, Park scored 20 victories by the end of the war. He remained in the Royal Air Force, eventually attaining the rank of Air Chief Marshal. During World War II, he commanded the Royal Air Force during the evacuation at Dunkirk and later assumed command of Number 11 Fighter Group, defending London and southern England during the Battle of Britain. Upon retiring from the RAF, he returned to New Zealand.

"If any one man won the Battle of Britain, he did. I do not believe it is realised how much that one man, with his leadership, his calm judgement and his skill, did to save, not only this country, but the world." Lord Tedder – Chief of the Royal Air Force, February 1947
 
Military Cross (MC)
2nd Lt. Keith Rodney Park, R.F.A. and R.F.C.
   For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During an engagement with several large hostile formations, the two machines with which he was patrolling were put out of action. In spite, however, of being left alone, he continued to attack, and engaged the enemy machines in so determined a manner that he and his observer between them destroyed one and drove three others down completely out of control. He has performed several other fine feats, and has at all times set a most inspiring example by his dash and tenacity.
 
Military Cross (MC) Bar
2nd Lt. Keith Rodney Park, M.C., R.F.A. and R.F.C.
   For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in accounting for nine enemy aircraft, three of which were completely destroyed and six driven down out of control.
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 24 Jul 1917 1740 48 Bristol F.2b (A7176) 1 Albatros D.III (OOC) Near Ravensyde
2 12 Aug 1917 1045 48 Bristol F.2b (A7176) 2 Albatros D.III (OOC) S of Slype
3 16 Aug 1917 1130 48 Bristol F.2b (A7182) 2 DFW C (OOC) Slype
4 17 Aug 1917 0655 48 Bristol F.2b (A7182) 2 Albatros D.III (OOC) W of Slype
5 17 Aug 1917 0655 48 Bristol F.2b (A7182) 2 Albatros D.III (DES) W of Slype
6 17 Aug 1917 0715 48 Bristol F.2b (A7182) 2 Albatros D.III (OOC) Near Slype
7 17 Aug 1917 0725 48 Bristol F.2b (A7182) 2 Albatros D.III (OOC) Slype
8 21 Aug 1917 0745 48 Bristol F.2b (A7216) 3 Albatros D.V (OOC) E of Westende
9 21 Aug 1917 0745 48 Bristol F.2b (A7216) 3 Albatros D.V (OOC) E of Westende
10 25 Aug 1917 2000 48 Bristol F.2b (A7213) 2 Albatros D.V (DESF) S of Slype
11 02 Sep 1917 0930 48 Bristol F.2b (A7170) 4 Albatros D.V (OOC) 10 E of Dixmude
12 02 Sep 1917 0935 48 Bristol F.2b (A7170) 4 Albatros D.V (OOC) SE of Dixmude
13 05 Sep 1917 1200 48 Bristol F.2b (A7182) 5 Albatros D.V (DES) Near Ostend
14 09 Sep 1917 1615 48 Bristol F.2b (A7220) 5 Albatros D.V (OOC) Middelkerke-Slype
15 14 Sep 1917 1845 48 Bristol F.2b (A7227) 6 Albatros D.V (OOC) N of Dixmude
16 14 Sep 1917 1845 48 Bristol F.2b (A7227) 6 Albatros D.V (DESF) N of Dixmude
17 03 Jan 1918 1210 48 Bristol F.2b (A7229) 7 Albatros D.III (OOC) St. Quentin
18 18 May 1918 1840 48 Bristol F.2b (C808) 8 Pfalz D.III (OOC) Bray
19 25 Jun 1918 1125 48 Bristol F.2b (C940) 9 Rumpler C (DES) Wiencourt
20 25 Jun 1918 1130 48 Bristol F.2b (C940) 9 DFW C (OOC) Bayonvillers

1 Observer 2Lt Alexander Merchant
2 Observer 2Lt Arthur Noss
3 Observer 2Lt William O'Toole
4 Observer 2Lt Alan Light
5 Observer AM2 H Lindfield
6 Observer 2Lt Hugh Owen
7 Observer 2Lt John Robertson
8 Observer 2Lt G J Maynard
9 Observer 2Lt H Knowles
10 Shared with 2Lt Ralph Curtis & 2Lt Desmond Uniacke
 
Books
Park
A Biography of Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park GCG, KBE, MC, DFC, DCL; Vincent Orange / Unknown binding / London 1984
 
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