‘Athletic, extroverted and popular’ – Meet the hero Mi Amigo pilot who sacrificed himself to save children’s lives in Sheffield plane crash?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

A heartbreaking letter has emerged that was written by the hero pilot of the Mi Amigo plane that crashed in Sheffield during the Second World War.

By Lee Peace
Friday, 1st March 2019, 9:33 am
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 9:37 am
The Mi Amigo crew.
The Mi Amigo crew.

All 10 crew aboard the badly damaged B-17 Flying Fortress, known as Mi Amigo, were killed when it plummeted from the skies and crashed into Endcliffe Park on February 22 1944.  

The aircraft was hit during a bombing raid over Europe and was returning back to base in the UK when it got into difficulty over the skies of Sheffield.  

The Mi Amigo crew.

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The story goes that the aircraft was preparing for an emergency landing on the field in the park, but upon witnessing Tony Foulds, then aged just eight, and his friends veered off and crashed into woods to avoid landing on them. 

Pilot lieutenant John Kriegshauser was awarded a posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross for minimising loss of life.

A heartfelt letter written by Lt. Kriegshauser after he joined the war effort has now emerged. 

The wreckage of the Mi Amigo.

Knowing that he might not make it back safe, he told his family that "this is a letter which I hope is never mailed."

He added: “My final word is that I'm glad to have been able to lay down my life for a cause I believed was just and right."

The account has been included in numerous reports carried by newspapers based in America, including high-profile publications such as the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune.  

Tony Foulds, aged 82, watches from Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, as warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast tribute to ten US airmen 75 years after he witnessed the crash that killed them. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday February 22, 2019. Mr Foulds, has spent much of his life treating a memorial to the airmen whose plane crashed in front of him as he played in Endcliffe Park in Sheffield on February 22 1944. See PA story MEMORIAL Flypast. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Lt. Kriegshauser, from St. Louis, Missouri, was aged just 23 when he died in the crash. 

He had enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and served as a radio operator, before being selected for pilot training after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Family members described him as an ‘athletic, extroverted and popular’ young man besotted by the romance of aviation after Charles Lindbergh's historic 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic.

Mr Foulds, now a grandfather-of-four of Lowedges, developed feelings of guilt over the crash and spent several decades tending to a memorial in the park. 

The 82-year-old successfully campaigned for a military flypast to mark 75 years since the tragedy that was watched by thousands of people last Friday.