A woodland walk is to honour the crew of a bomber plane which crashed in a Sheffield park during the Second World War.
New research by military historian Paul Allonby has shed fresh light on the fate of the crew of the B17 bomber Mi-Amigo who all perished when their four-engined bomber crashed into a wooded hillside behind what is now Endcliffe Park’s cafe.
Now Sheffield Council is to put up signage in the park – where an annual memorial service is held – to guide visitors to the memorial to the bomber crew.
The aircrew, led by pilot Lieutenant John Kriegshauser, were on their 15th mission of a 25-raid tour of duty when they were tasked to attack a German-held airfield in Denmark.
Their plane was badly damaged in at attack by German fighters and they got into difficulties over Sheffield on their way home.
Mr Allonby said: “Their aircraft was in danger of dropping out of the sky at any second, and the only place they could attempt a crash landing was in Endcliffe Park to avoid nearby houses.
“The US Army Air Force awarded Lt Kriegshauser a posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross for exemplary flying because, as they tried to land, they were confronted with children playing football in the park and also with the storage building which is now the park’s cafe.
“So, with literally seconds to spare, the aircraft gained height but then crashed into the trees near the stepping stones. None of the crew survived.”
Mr Allonby has written a book entitled Courage Above The Cloud,’ which tells the story of the crash of Mi-Amigo just after 5pm on February 22, 1944, along with detailing the three other B17 crews, and two German Me109 fighter pilots, lost that day over Denmark.
“I sent a copy of the manuscript to the parks department and the signage at the main entrance at Hunters Bar for the woodland walk, which passes the Mi-Amigo memorial, is being re-written to give the site prominent feature,” he said.
He added: “I have been in contact with some of the family members of the ‘Mi-Amigo’ crew in the USA and they are delighted to hear what the council is doing to honour their brave aviators.”
Mr Allonby, aged 56, said: "One comment I often heard when interviewing local witnesses to the crash was that many people were unable to locate the memorial.
“Hopefully the new signage, which is expected to go up in August, will direct visitors accordingly, as well as promoting the park's woodland walk which is a very peaceful trail through the trees from the entrance and round to the ponds."
A Sheffield Council spokesman said: “We can confirm that the signs have been ordered and will be erected within the next few weeks.”