I am a New Zealander in the UK. I recently visited a well-known aviation museum which includes a strong emphasis on the Battle of Britain. In the museum I was particularly interested in mentions of the roles of NZers in the BoB and in other aspects covered by this museum, both in WW1 and WW2. I came across one information board about Sir Keith Park which ran to 500 words in their Battle of Britain display. Of the 500 words the information about Keith Park's role in the BoB was this: ...during the Battle of Britain his command took the brunt of the Luftwaffe attacks. He kept in touch with his command by flying his personalised Hurricane around 11 Group airfields. After the battle Park and Dowding were considered to be too defensive-minded and both were replaced.
This was the total comment from the museum about his role in the BoB. The information about Dowding was not particularly effusive either. I have approached the museum twice suggesting the information is not particularly reflective of Park's role and could be revised to convey a more accurate reflection of the leadership Park (and Dowding) displayed. The first reply from the historian who wrote the words, centred on his belief that it would take 'many information boards' to convey a better picture. I replied with a 500 word precis of Keith Park's roles in the RAF, WW1, between the wars and WW2. A second reply was received saying that the historian and the 'board' of the museum were happy with the original information board as we consider the present wording of the Keith Park display board to be balanced regarding his career and factually accurate.
This, I believe, is a great injustice to Keith Park. In essence the museum is happy that their information about Park: 1. 11 Group took the brunt of Luftwffe attacks. b. Park flew around in a personalised Hurricane and c. Park was considered too defensive-minded and was replaced, is factually accurate.
I believe: a. the information is inaccurate by omission alone... there is no recognition of Park's vital leadership in the BoB. b. It borders on deliberately dismissive of Park's role in the BoB (also Dowding). c. It is reflective of past 'official' reasoning for Park and Dowding being replaced rather than the barely hidden reasons of 11 Group/12 Group discord and the Big Wing tensions which have been fully exposed in more recent years. d. The museum, like any museum, has a responsibility to record history as accurately as it can.
I would appreciate some feedback from anyone as to their opinions on this. It has left me a little despondent about this museum, its goals and what it is conveying to the public who visit it.