DCSIMG

Sombre scenes as boys now old men recall Sheffield crash

Mi Amigo Memorial Service at Endcliffe Park in Sheffield marking the bomber crash during the second world war

Mi Amigo Memorial Service at Endcliffe Park in Sheffield marking the bomber crash during the second world war

A LIGHT sprinkling of snow fell over crowds who gathered to mark the memory of young servicemen killed when their plane crashed in Sheffield.

Mourners united in a solemn silence in Endcliffe Park during the annual wreath-laying ceremony for the 10 US airmen who died in the Mi Amigo crash on February 22, 1944.

The cascading water in the Porter Valley was all that could be heard as servicemen and women from RAF Menwith Hill assembled in front of those who came to pay their respects to the fallen.

It made for poignant scenes at the park’s memorial when the lightest of snowflakes fell on to the rows of bowed heads.

Father Gordon Unsworth, chaplain for Sheffield’s RAF Association, said: “We come to remember those who have given their lives in our Armed Forces so that we might live.”

It is almost 70 years since the men aboard Mi Amigo - who were aged between 21 and 24 - died after being hit during a raid on a heavily defended Luftwaffe airfield in northern Denmark.

Some say that, in a final heroic act, the pilot swerved to avoid the young children playing in Endcliffe Park at the time.

One thing is for sure - the memory of that fateful day is still fresh in the minds of the Sheffield people who witnessed it.

“I was playing in the park at the time, I was eight,” said Denis Anson, 77, who now lives in Bakewell. “We saw the plane circulating and then it started coming down, then I heard the engines rev up. I came over to see what had happened but got shoved away.”

John Cole, 78, of Bents Green, said: “I’d just finished school at Greystones and come home. I heard a noise, I looked up into the sky and it was spiralling out of the clouds.”

His fellow school pals went to the park to collect pieces of debris - which police officers subsequently claimed back.

Such devastation was something which a generation who lived through the Sheffield Blitz had grown accustomed to, but it did not make the significance of the loss any less.

And for people like Ken Langley, 85, of Lodge Moor, it is still just as important to pay respects to the US soliders who gave their lives.

He said: “I try to make it here every year. The memories come back to you.”

The ceremony was followed by a service at St Augustine’s Church in Brocco Bank.

 

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