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Last Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008, 09:05 GMT
Call for tribute to war commander
Sir Keith Park
Sir Keith was a leader of pilots in the Battle of Britain
A campaign has been launched to honour a Battle Of Britain leader with a statue in Trafalgar Square.

New Zealander Sir Keith Park commanded RAF squadrons which defended London and the South East during World War II.

His supporters want a statue of him placed on the famous central London square's fourth plinth.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone said he supported a memorial to Sir Keith but the use of the plinth for modern art should continue.

The campaign is being launched in Trafalgar Square where a full-size replica Spitfire will be displayed.

Sir Keith was a leader of the Battle of Britain pilots who fought the Luftwaffe's attacks in 1940.

Illustrious military career

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, said: "A World War One fighter ace and highly decorated airman, Sir Keith's illustrious military career spanned over 30 years during which he progressed from being an enlisted soldier to Air Chief Marshal.

"It is an appropriate tribute to a man whose courage and resourcefulness were central to victory during the Battle of Britain and whose accomplishments are in the finest traditions of the Royal Air Force."

The fourth plinth was built in 1841 to hold a statue of William IV astride a horse, but remained empty due to insufficient funds.

Thomas Schutte's Model for a Hotel 2007 in Trafalgar Square
Thomas Schutte's Model for a Hotel 2007 was installed last year

It now hosts a rotating programme of contemporary art, including Marc Quinn's sculpture of Alison Lapper, a pregnant women who was born with no arms or legs.

In November 2007, Thomas Schutte's Model for a Hotel 2007 was the latest piece placed on the north-west corner spot.

Mr Livingstone said: "Sir Keith Park's contribution to defeating Nazi Germany has not been sufficiently recognised and I support efforts to identify a suitable location in the capital."

Sandy Nairne, Chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, said it would continue with its remit to commission contemporary art for the plinth.

"There are many other options across London for locating an important memorial to Sir Keith Park and identifying the most appropriate one will have my strong support," he said.

Campaigners talk about statue bid

Artists in race for the plinth
08 Jan 08 |  London

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