Story of Sheffield’s Mi Amigo plane crash set to be taught in schools around world

The compelling story of how a Sheffield pensioner has spent a lifetime tending to a memorial dedicated to victims of a WWII plane crash is set to be taught to potentially millions of school children across the world.

Thursday, 7th February 2019, 14:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 17:20 pm
Sheffield man Tony Foulds pictured with Leon Smith.

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. 

Sheffield man Tony Foulds pictured with Leon Smith.

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.

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The story of how Tony has spent several decades tending to the memorial to the brave crew and his campaign for a military flypast to mark 75 years since the tragedy has won the hearts of the nation in recent weeks.

The sacrifice made by the airmen, and Tony's one-man mission to keep their memory alive, is now set to reach a worldwide audience thanks to a unique new project led by Sheffield-based education company Twinkl.

Lucy Lee draws Tony.

The firm is creating an education package that can be used to teach students in classrooms across Sheffield, South Yorkshire and beyond.

The package will include power point presentations, images and activities for school children to take part in.

It will be available to everyone for free along with Twinkl members in 179 countries, including places as far flung as the United States and New Zealand, meaning potentially millions of school children will be able to learn about Tony and the Mi Amigo for generations to come.

Tony, a grandfather-of-four from Lowedges, said he was pleased the moving story will have a lasting legacy, even after he has gone.

The wreckage of the Mi Amigo.

The 82-year-old said: “It is brilliant, this is what I wanted – for more people to know about what happened, and what these brave crewmen did.

“There will come a day when I am no longer here and so I won't be able to look after the memorial.

“I hope this inspires school children, and hopefully someone else will look after the memorial when I am gone.”

Tony visited Twinkl's Ecclesall Road offices today so illustrators could draw him so his imagery can be used, along with pictures of the Mi Amigo pilot Lieutenant John Kriegshauser and poppy wreaths.  

The Mi Amigo crew.

The company hopes to make it available for their members to download from their website by February 15, a week before the flypast.

Anna Simmons, public relations and external affairs manager at Twinkl, said: “The story of Tony and the Mi Amigo is so inspiring and we wanted to bring that to a wider audience.

“This will ensure that school children in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and worldwide can learn about this for generations to come.

“It is amazing how determined Tony has been for all of these years in looking after the memorial, and we hope it will inspire other young people to be determined in life.”

In addition, Tony revealed that he wants to have his ashes scattered at the memorial when he dies.

He said: “I have spoken to the family about it and it is important to me that this happens. It is a special place for me.”

Weather permitting, aircraft from the Royal Air Force and United States Air Force, including an F-15 fighter jet, plus  Ospreys, Typhoons and a Dakota, will roar over the skies of Sheffield to mark the 75th anniversary on the morning of Friday, February 22.

Scores of people, including senior military personnel, are also set to gather for a memorial service in the park.