"A fine biography of one of the war's greatest unsung heroes," Royal Air Force Commander Keith Park (The Daily Telegraph).
"If ever any one man won the Battle of Britain, he did. I don't believe it is realized how much that one man, with his leadership, his calm judgement and his skill, did to save not only this country, but the world." So wrote Marshal of the RAF Lord Tedder of Keith Park in 1947.
As commander of No. 11 Group, RAF Fighter Command responsible for the air defense of London and southeast England, Park took charge of the day-to-day direction of the battle. In spotlighting his thoughts and actions during the crisis, this biography reveals a man whose unfailing energy, courage, and cool resourcefulness won not only supreme praise from Winston Churchill, but the lasting respect and admiration of all who served under him.
Few officers in any of the services packed more action into their lives, and Park covers the whole of his career: youth in New Zealand, success as an ace fighter pilot in World War I, postings to South America and Egypt, the Battle of Britain, command of the RAF in Malta 1942-43, and finally Allied Air Commander-in-Chief of Southeast Asia under Mountbatten in 1945. His contribution to victory and peace was immense and this biography does much to shed light on the Big Wing controversy of 1940 and give insight into the war in Burma, 1945, and how the huge problems remaining after the war's sudden end were dealt with.
Drawn largely from unpublished sources and interviews with people who knew Park, and illustrated with maps and photographs, this is an authoritative biography of one of the world's greatest unsung heroes.
Vincent Orange was born in 1935, in Shildon, County Durham, and was educated at St. Mary's Grammar School, in Darlington, and at Hull University. Orange served in the Royal Air Force from 1953 to 1956. In 1962, he went to live in New Zealand and taught history at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch until he retired in 2002. His influence as an air power scholar is well known. His former students include prominent UK scholars Dr. Joel Hayward and Dr. Christina Goulter as well as Dr. Adam Claasen of Massey University and Dr. Andrew Conway of King's College, London. Orange is married to Sandra, and has a stepdaughter, Sarah.
- Cover Page
- Title Page
- Copyright Page
- Introduction by Christopher Shores
- Part One 1892-1936
- Prologue: An Undistinguished Young Man, 1892-1914
- 1. Artilleryman: Gallipoli and the Western Front, 1915-1916
- 2. Fighter Pilot, 1917
- 3. 'Major Sparks', 1918
- 4. The Hardest Time, 1918-1926
- 5. A Little Golden Age, 1926-1934
- 6. South American Opportunity, 1934-1936
- Part Two 1937-1940
- 7. Preparing a Defence, 1937-1940
- 8. A 'Possible but Unlikely Evacuation': Dunkirk, 1940
- 9. The Battle of Britain: Meeting Them
- 10. The Battle of Britain: Big Wings
- 11. The Battle of Britain: The Whirligig of Time
- Part Three 1941-1946
- 12. Flying Training Command, 1941
- 13. Malta Besieged, 1942
- 14. Malta Offensive, 1943
- 15. Egypt, 1944
- 16. South-East Asia Command: The Winning Card, 1945
- 17. South-East Asia Command: Troubled Days of Peace, 1945-1946
- 18. South-East Asia Command: Paper Battles, 1945-1951
- Part Four 1946-1975
- 19. End of a Career, 1946
- 20. Argentina Revisited, 1947
- 21. His First, Best Country, 1948-1975
- Epilogue: Straight and True
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