Stars and stripes flagpole sited in memory of Sheffield’s Mi Amigo plane crash victims
A permanent flag pole - dedicated to the US airmen killed when their bomber plane crashed into a Sheffield park - has been unveiled so the stars and stripes can fly high and out of the grasp of thieves.
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.
It is believed the crew was attempting to make an emergency landing on the field in the park, but upon witnessing Tony Foulds and his friends on the grass, diverted and crashed into a nearby wooded area, saving the children's lives.
Tony, aged 82, of Lowedges, has spent several decades tending to the memorial site and dug deep into his own pockets to pay for American flags to be sited at the memorial.
But thieves stole them on three occasions last year.
However, Sheffield City Council bosses have organised for a 15ft high flagpole to be sited near the memorial, so the American flag can fly high and be seen clearly by park visitors.
Speaking at the unveiling today, the grandfather-of-four said: “It looks brilliant and hopefully it will be here for generations to come.
“Not a lot of people knew about the Mi Amigo lets be honest but the flag and everything else that has gone on will help to keep their memory alive.”
An information point telling the story of the crash has also been installed and a large scarlet oak tree was planted close by.
The story of Tony and the brave crew of the Mi Amigo has captured the hearts of the nation in recent weeks.
Tony successfully campaigned for a flypast to mark 75 years since the crash and military aircraft will roar over the skies of the park on Friday, February 22.
BBC TV presenter and Sheffield resident Dan Walker has been a big supporter of Tony's plight and helped to make the flypast happen.
Dan, who also lives in Sheffield, said: “I think the flagpole looks incredible.
“But importantly, Tony will tell you it is not for him, it is to remember those 10 men who sacrificed everything.”
On Friday a memorial service will take place from around 8am with the flypast following at 8.45am.
The flypast is dependent on weather conditions and mission requirements, but the United States Air Force ad Royal Air Force is anticipating using a unique variety of aircraft including an F-15 fighter jet, plus Ospreys, Typhoons and a Dakota.
Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure, said: “We have honoured their memory for all these years and this flypast will be a fitting tribute. It’s also a tribute to Tony who has tended the memorial for all these years.”
This will be followed by another act of remembrance on Sunday, February 24.
Wreath laying takes place at the memorial at 1.15pm followed by a service at St Augustine’s Church in Brocco Bank at 2pm.