SVR locomotive to be rededicated to Battle of Britain hero

Kidderminster Shuttle: Moving tribute: Locomotive 34053 Sir Keith Park will be rededicated in his honour in Kidderminster. Moving tribute: Locomotive 34053 Sir Keith Park will be rededicated in his honour in Kidderminster.

A CRUCIAL name in the Battle of Britain will have a locomotive rededicated in his honour at the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) in Kidderminster.

Sir Keith Park first had the engine dedicated to him in 1947 to commemorate his strategic skill in deploying Hurricane and Spitfire fighters against the invading German Luftwaffe in 1940.

Locomotive 34053 was built in Brighton in 1947 and will be rededicated to Sir Keith Park at Kidderminster station on Saturday.

The locomotive has been renovated by Southern Locomotives Ltd after it spent 38 years out of service.

A new nameplate will be unveiled at the ceremony at 11.15am by the New Zealand High Commissioner the Right Honourable Sir Lockward Smith, who has been invited as Sir Keith was a New Zealander.

Three RAF veterans who fought in the Battle of Britain, representatives from Sir Keith’s family and Oliver Bullied, the grandson of the locomotive’s designer, will also attend.

Spokeswoman for the SVR Clare Gibbard said: “Locomotive Sir Keith Park has been one of the railway’s most popular engines since joining our fleet, and we thought that it would be a great idea to mark its return to service after 38 years.”

Nick Thompson of Southern Locomotives said: “The restoration of Sir Keith Park took a great deal of time, effort and money, and it is great to see it operating at the Severn Valley Railway, where it has become a popular member of their loco fleet.

“Part of the incentive to restore it was its historic association with Sir Keith Park and his crucial role in the Battle of Britain. We hope that it will serve to remind visitors to the railway of the debt owed to him by Britain.”

After speeches, about 200 guests will take a trip along the line in a train hauled by 34053 Sir Keith Park.

A flypast by a Hurricane and a Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will also take place at 2pm over Bridgnorth.

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