Sheffield pensioner Tony Foulds makes emotional visit to grave sites of Mi Amigo airmen
Sheffield pensioner Tony Foulds made an emotional visit to the grave sites of three US airmen who died in a plane crash that he witnessed as a young boy during the Second World War.
All 10 crew on board the badly damaged B-17 Flying Fortress, known as Mi Amigo, were killed when it plummeted from the skies and crashed into Endcliffe Park in 1944.
Tony, now aged 83, was one of a group of school children to witness the tragedy and has been diligently revisiting the site and tending to a park memorial for several decades.
His story hit the headlines across the world earlier this year and inspired a military flypast over Sheffield to mark 75 years since the tragedy in February.
Military and political leaders on both sides of the pond heralded this as a prime example of the enduring special relationship between the UK and US.
Ever since the momentous occasion Tony has struck up a friendship with US Ambassador Woody Johnson.
And the distinguished statesman, who is America's most senior representative in the UK, invited the Lowedges grandfather-of-four to attend a D-Day memorial service at the Cambridge American Cemetery at the end of May.
He 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 Sheffield 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.