Bizarre story of behind-the-scenes plan for Sheffield pensioner Tony Foulds to meet US President Donald Trump
A bizarre story has emerged about a behind-the-scenes plan to arrange for Sheffield pensioner and remembrance campaigner Tony Foulds to meet US President Donald Trump.
Tony was only a young boy when he witnessed the badly damaged B-17 Flying Fortress, known as Mi Amigo, crash into Endcliffe Park in 1944.
He has spent several decades revisiting the scene and tending to a memorial dedicated to the 10 crewmen who died.
His story hit the headlines across the world and inspired a military flypast over Sheffield to mark 75 years since the tragedy in February.
Ever since the flypast, the Lowedges grandfather-of-four has struck up an unlikely friendship with US Ambassador Woody Johnson.
The statesman – who is America’s highest representative in the UK – invited the 83-year-old to attend a D-Day memorial service at the Cambridge American Cemetery at the end of May.
And Tony has now revealed that since the visit Ambassador Johnson and representatives of the BBC have been working hard behind the scenes to try and organise a meeting between the Sheffield man and Mr Trump.
The meeting could have been another example of the special relationship between the UK and US – but unfortunately the get-together is no longer taking place as the President’s diary is simply too full during his visit to these shores.
Tony explained: “I spoke to Woody and he said he would see what he can do. The BBC was also trying to make it happen.
“But I’ve heard back and unfortunately it’s a no-go.
“He had a lot of meetings and engagements organised.
“It would have been nice but that is the way of the world.”
Tony previously jokingly invited President Trump to Sheffield to witness February's flypast before enjoying a meal of “bread and dripping” at his city home.
During his recent trip to Cambridge, Tony was given the chance to sit in the cockpit of a Flying Fortress – similar to the model that crashed in Sheffield – and also laid flowers at the gravesides of three of the crewmen who died in the crash.
Tony said: “It was a very emotional day. I got to sit in the co-pilot seat and we went along a runway for a bit.
“It gave me a real sense of what it must have been like for those brave lads.”
The Mi Amigo had completed a daring day time raid on the Aalborg airfield in occupied Denmark but was hit in the attack and limped back over the North Sea.
It is believed the crew was attempting to make an emergency landing on the field – but when they spotted Tony and his friends on the grass they diverted and crashed into a nearby wooded area to avoid landing on them.
The pilot, lieutenant John Kriegshauser, was awarded a posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross for minimising loss of life.
Their ultimate sacrifice left Tony with feelings of deep-seated guilt and he has visited the scene and tended to the memorial regularly ever since.
The Star contacted the US Embassy for comment about the proposed meeting and we are waiting for a reply.