'We just didn't want them to be forgotten': Sheffield residents lead small Mi Amigo memorial service for 77th anniversary
A small group of Sheffield residents held a socially-distanced memorial service this afternoon in remembrance of the 77th anniversary of the Mi Amigo crash.
Ian Lonnia, 54, who runs the Courage Above the Clouds Facebook page – which pays tribute to the Mi Amigo crash – was joined by around half a dozen residents in Endcliffe Park today to pay their respects for the men who lost their lives while saving innocent Sheffield civilians.
Tomorrow, (February 22) it will be 77 years since the heavily damaged US B-17 aircraft named ‘Mi Amigo’ was flying over Sheffield, when the pilot decided to sacrifice his crew and crash in the woodland next to Endcliffe Park to save children playing down below.
The story of the American aircrew’s bravery made headlines when the 75th anniversary of the crash was marked by a special flypast from both the British and the US air forces, after journalist Dan Walker met Tony Foulds, one of the children who was playing in the park at the time the plane went down.
Ian, who lives in the city centre and has been attending the Mi Amigo memorial site since he was a child, led a short, 20 minute service at the site where the plane crashed, this afternoon and read The Airmen’s Prayer to pay tribute to the crew who lost their lives.
The names of the men who died were read out and residents listened to The Last Post before the group held a two minute’s silence in remembrance of the Mi Amigo crew and laid down flowers.
While the official service to remember the 1944 plane crash was cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, residents felt it was important to hold a small ceremony to honour their sacrifice.
Ian said: "We wanted to keep the service low-key and we didn’t advertise the ceremony to the group to avoid a mass gathering, but we just didn't want them to be forgotten this year.
"It is just that feeling of respect and remembrance and for what they did, they gave their all to save the lives of a few Sheffielders.
"They will never be forgotten, even though times are hard for us at the moment we are just showing our respect that they are still in our hearts."