Tony Foulds back at memorial day after thousands witnessed Mi Amigo flypast in Sheffield’s Endcliffe Park

The day after 10,000 people gathered in Sheffield for a flypast to salute the crew of an American bomber, pensioner Tony Foulds was back tending the memorial to the 10 men who died.

Sunday, 24th February 2019, 09:03 am
Updated Sunday, 24th February 2019, 09:12 am

On Saturday, Mr Foulds travelled his usual seven miles, on foot and by bus, from his Lowedges home to Endcliffe Park, where he witnessed the B-17 Flying Fortress Mi Amigo crash in front of him on February 22, 1944.

Tony Foulds talks with well-wishers in front of the memorial to the crew of, an American bomber, in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday February 23, 2019. The B-17 Flying Fortress Mi Amigo crash on February 22, 1944. See PA story MEMORIAL Flypast. Photo credit should read: Dave Higgens/PA Wire

Any plans the 82-year-old had to perform any essential maintenance to the memorial on the crash site, where he spends six days a week, were dashed by a constant stream of well-wishers hugging him, shaking his hand and asking for selfies as they congratulated him on Friday's spectacular event.

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Many of those stopping to talk to Mr Foulds in the Saturday sunshine echoed growing calls for the pensioner to be honoured by the Queen for his dedication to keeping the memory of the Mi Amigo crew alive. 

Mr Foulds was aged just eight when the badly-damaged bomber limped over the roofs of nearby houses and crashed into a wooded area, apparently to avoid him and his friends who were on the grass.

Tony Foulds has his photo taken with well-wishers in front of the memorial to the crew of, an American bomber, in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday February 23, 2019. The B-17 Flying Fortress Mi Amigo crash on February 22, 1944. See PA story MEMORIAL Flypast. Photo credit should read: Dave Higgens/PA Wire

He has since dedicated his life to tending to the crew’s memorial, as he felt deep-seated guilt over the crash. 

However, scores of people who stopped to talk to him yesterday urged him to stop feeling guilty.

One elderly man said to Mr Foulds: "You need to stop this talk of feeling guilty.

"It was the Germans who killed those men, not you. You were a kid. It wasn't your fault."

The Mi Amigo crew.

Another shook him briskly by the hand and said: "You deserve a knighthood. It'll be travesty if they don't give you one."

Mr Foulds said: "It's just amazing. They've not stopped just coming up and shaking my hand.

"I had a letter from an American this morning. It said this proves what we've always thought, that you Brits do love us."

The flypast, which included fighter jets from the United States Air Force and the Royal Air Force, was broadcast around the world and watched by a massive crowd in the park which has been estimated at 10,000 people.

Clear skies meant that the assembled audience were able to perfectly see the tribute to the men, who were limping back from a bombing raid in Denmark on the day of the fateful crash.

The event to mark the 75th anniversary of the crash followed a campaign, supported by The Star and BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker, who also lives in Sheffield.

Walker, who is currently in Tanzania preparing to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief, tweeted: "The next step is getting Tony an honour from the Queen. Please retweet and like this and I'll use this in the submission."