Airmen at RAF Lakenheath ‘deeply moved’ by Sheffield pensioner’s call for flypast

The crew of B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed "Mi Amigo" of the 305th Bomb Group. Back Row: Robert Mayf

The crew of B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed "Mi Amigo" of the 305th Bomb Group. Back Row: Robert Mayfield, Vito Ambrosio, Harry Estabrooks, George Williams, Charles Tuttle, Maurice Robbins. Front Row: John Kriegshauser, Lyle Curtis, Melchor Hernandez, John Humphrey Picture: AMERICAN WAR MUSEUM - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk airbase is in talks over the possibility of a flypast to honour the victims of a US bomber crash in Sheffield 75 years ago after a moving campaign was launched.

Tony Foulds at the memorial he has loving tended for 75 years to the 10 US airmen who died in Endcli

Tony Foulds at the memorial he has loving tended for 75 years to the 10 US airmen who died in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield in 1944 PHOTO: DAN WALKER - Credit: Archant

Pensioner Tony Foulds was eight-years-old when he witnessed the B-17 Flying Fortress – known as Mi Amigo – crash in Endcliffe Park in the South Yorkshire city on February 22, 1944.

All ten men on board the aircraft, which was returning from an intended bombing raid, were killed.

A heart-warming campaign for a flypast is now gathering pace after BBC presenter and Sheffield resident Dan Walker met Mr Foulds in the park last week and posted the story on social media.

A spokesman for RAF Lakenheath, which houses US Air Force units and personnel, said servicemen at the base were “deeply moved” by the story.

He said: “The airmen at RAF Lakenheath have been deeply moved by Mr Foulds’ efforts to preserve the legacy of our nation’s fallen heroes.

“We would like to recognise his dedication, as well as our soldiers’ sacrifice, in some way and are coordinating with various organizations to see if a fly-past will be possible.”

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It is believed the aircraft was attempting to make an emergency landing on the field in the park, but due to a group of children playing, the bomber diverted and crashed into trees nearby.

Mr Foulds said how he felt guilty over the incident and has maintained the park’s memorial at the scene of the crash for decades.

Flying Fortress Sally B at the Jubilee Air Show Duxford in 2012 Picture: STEVE BROOKS/IWM

Flying Fortress Sally B at the Jubilee Air Show Duxford in 2012 Picture: STEVE BROOKS/IWM - Credit: Archant

He now wants a flypast to honour the victims of the 75th anniversary on February 22.

In a series of tweets after meeting Mr Foulds, BBC Breakfast and Football Focus presenter Walker said: “Just met an amazing man in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield.

“Tony Foulds was an eight-year-old playing in the park when a US plane crashed in February 1944.

“He has diligently maintained the memorial ever since. He was planting new flowers. Almost 75 years of service. What a man. I’m in bits.”

“He re-told the story of the day so vividly and knew the names of all ten who died. ‘They are like family to me even though I never knew them’.

“He doesn’t want a medal. All he wants is a flypast on the 75th anniversary on February 22, 2019. Can anyone help?”

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