Sheffield woman’s vivid memories of wartime Mi Amigo crash
A young WAAF at home on leave watched in horror as the Mi Amigo aircraft plunged into Endcliffe Park.
Audrey, who is now 95, remembers that day 75 years ago vividly.
The Mi Amigo, a US Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, was limping home to its base in Northamptonshire on February 22, 1944.
The plane had been badly damaged when it was intercepted over the North Sea by enemy aircraft.
They were successful in thwarting the plane’s mission to attack a Nazi airfield in Denmark.
All 10 crew died when pilot Lt John Kriegshauser, desperately looking for somewhere safe to land, managed to avoid nearby houses and children in the park but hit a wooded hillside behind a refreshments kiosk where the park cafe now stands.
Lt Kriegshauser was awarded a posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions.
Audrey said: “I was a WAAF on leave with my mother, who lived at 9 Peveril Road.
“We heard this terrible, terrible noise and wondered what on earth it was and I dashed out of the house and there I saw the plane just crashed and all the flames going up.
“I stood there for a while but I could see that nothing could be done from an ordinary person’s angle.
“I went back to the house. My mother was appalled when I told her.
“I’d come home to see one of the worst things. It was absolutely dreadful.”
Audrey, who was 24 at the time, was serving as a clerk on special duties and was posted to several different British air bases.
She said: “Girls in the WAAF didn’t go abroad, like the Wrens did.”
Audrey wasn’t planning to attend the special flypast over the memorial to the crew in Endcliffe Park by the US Air Force and the RAF that marked the anniversary yesterday morning.
The event was organised by Sheffielder and BBC Breakfast journalist Dan Walker, following a chance meeting in the park with Tony Foulds.
Tony was playing in Endcliffe Park at the time of the crash and he constantly tends to the memorial to the crew as an act of remembrance for the men he is convinced saved his life.
Audrey said: “I’ve been reading bits in the paper about it. It brings back memories. There are plenty of sad ones from both world wars.
“They never ought to have taken place, and they’re still fighting today.”
*This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Europe and Rough Guides are publishing a special book to commemorate it.
The book charts the route taken by the allies during the liberation and is being published in partnership with the Liberation Route Europe Foundation, a charity dedicated to keeping the story of the liberation alive.
The book aims to encourage people to travel the ‘liberation route’ and follow in the footsteps of the allied soldiers in 1944-45.
The book will look a t the human story of the liberation, such as what happened during various Resistance movements and the role women played in the war effort.
It highlights the important sites people can visit along the route and recommends experiences such as the daily sunset march in Nijmegen.
The book is outon July 1 and can be pre-ordered on www.amazon.co.uk