Sheffield pensioner Tony Foulds – who has spent decades tending to a memorial honouring lives lost in the Mi Amigo air disaster – has now taken to the skies himself to fly over the spot where the crash happened.
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, killing all 10 crewmen on board.
The 82-year-old spent decades tending to a memorial dedicated to the airmen – and he won plaudits for campaigning for a military flypast to mark 75 years since the disaster in February that was watched by thousands of people, and millions more live on TV.
The Lowedges grandfather-of-four has now been treated to a flight in a light aircraft over the park – in which he took a similar route to that of the Mi Amigo on that fateful day.
Last Saturday’s short flight was organised by the Sheffield Aero Club and took in a number of sights including Endcliffe Park, plus Ladybower and Derwent reservoirs – where the famous Dam busters practiced before their raid over Nazi Germany – before returning to Netherthorpe Airfield on the outskirts of the city.
Tony told how he enjoyed the experience aboard the Cessna 172 – even though he is actually scared of flying!
He said: “I was a bit nervous at first, it might have something to do with seeing the Mi Amigo crash all those years ago.
“When we go abroad we always get the coach, even if we're going to Spain.
“But once I got up there it was great. It was emotional when I flew over the park, I was thinking of those lads and what must have been going through their minds at the time.”
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.
Since the flypast in February he has won plaudits for his campaign to keep the crew’s memory alive and is due to be presented with his own star on the Sheffield Walk Of Fame.