Sir Keith Park Bust Unveiling By Hrh The Duchess Of Cornwall

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

SIR KEITH PARK - Bust unveiling by H.R.H. The Duchess of Cornwall

Date: 13th November 2010

SIR KEITH PARK –Unveiling at Capel-le-Ferne

This should have been written a few weeks ago but I seem to have been busy over the last fortnight.

I was very fortunate in being invited to the unveiling of the bust of Sir Keith Park at Capel-le-Ferne couple of weeks ago. The ceremony was performed by H.R.H The Duchess of Cornwall. She was so friendly towards me that the person next to me in the line up asked if I knew her. I’ve never met her before but thought she was thoroughly charming, disarming and very human.

Sir Keith Park, a New Zealander, was in tactical command during two of the most significant air battles in the European theatre in the Second World War, the Battle of Britain and the Battle of Malta. The Germans called him "the Defender of London". Recently his statue adorned one of the plaques in Trafalgar Square. Look him up on the Internet for a great deal of further information.

We were arranged in groups for our presentation. Now why was I in the group next to a gentleman whose livelihood is derived from the sale of Autographs and Autographed Books? As do many folk, he asked me what was my involvement with the Battle of Britain Memorial Fund, so I told him in brief about my sponsorship of Rene Mouchotte (and now the other 12 members of the Free French + two Pettets and one Atkins who may or may not be related to me). You could have knocked me down with a feather when he told me that he had a copy of the Dinner Menu, signed by Rene, from the Gala arranged to celebrate the downing of the 1000th German plane. He’s going to send me a copy and I can hardly wait.

(I recently watched a very good French Film – L’Armee des Ombres (the Army in the Shadows) with subtitles which was made in 1969 and was all about the French Resistance. The Film Maker was Jean-Pierre Melville whom I understand to have been a film maker of some note. I watched it twice actually. I subscribe to Lovefilms (not love films but one loves films!) and don’t usually look at all the extras on the DVD but this one offered a commentary in English and there were a few places in the film which I didn’t quite follow so decided to view. Didn’t realize that the Commentator took you through the whole film – but it was fascinating. The story was based on actual people and at the end of her Commentary, mention was made of Jean Moulin who met his death at the hands of Klaus Barbi – the so-called Butcher of Lyons. I know of Moulin having myself spent many many holidays in Provence near Salon (the home of the Ecole Militaire) and home too to Nostradamus. There’s a road leading into Salon called Rue Jean Moulin with a graphic Sculpture on the side of the road. I could never discern whether the figure with its arms above its head was a man coming down on a parachute or a man in the chains of torture. There’s a whole room devoted to Jean Moulin in the Museum at Caen – he looked not unlike the actor James Mason.) What a long aside but I hope you find it interesting.  If you did, then look up Moulin on the Internet.

I forgot to take my camera to Capel so have no photos of the Duchess but she looked lovely as well as being a delight.

However, I went back the next day and took this photo for you. If you are interested in the Battle of Britain or becoming a Friend of the Few you only have to go on line. At Capel they are trying to raise funds to build a Learning Centre.

Really must get on and do some filing and the dreaded paperwork.

Au revoir, Jan

 


 

SIR KEITH PARK - Bust unveiling by H.R.H. The Duchess of Cornwall

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