Airmen at RAF Lakenheath 'deeply moved' by Sheffield pensioner's call for flypast
PUBLISHED: 19:00 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:59 22 January 2019
A Suffolk airbase is in talks over the possibility of a flypast to honour the victims of a US bomber crash in Sheffield 75 years ago after a moving campaign was launched.
Pensioner Tony Foulds was eight-years-old when he witnessed the B-17 Flying Fortress – known as Mi Amigo – crash in Endcliffe Park in the South Yorkshire city on February 22, 1944.
All ten men on board the aircraft, which was returning from an intended bombing raid, were killed.
A heart-warming campaign for a flypast is now gathering pace after BBC presenter and Sheffield resident Dan Walker met Mr Foulds in the park last week and posted the story on social media.
A spokesman for RAF Lakenheath, which houses US Air Force units and personnel, said servicemen at the base were “deeply moved” by the story.
He said: “The airmen at RAF Lakenheath have been deeply moved by Mr Foulds’ efforts to preserve the legacy of our nation’s fallen heroes.
“We would like to recognise his dedication, as well as our soldiers’ sacrifice, in some way and are coordinating with various organizations to see if a fly-past will be possible.”
It is believed the aircraft was attempting to make an emergency landing on the field in the park, but due to a group of children playing, the bomber diverted and crashed into trees nearby.
Mr Foulds said how he felt guilty over the incident and has maintained the park’s memorial at the scene of the crash for decades.
He now wants a flypast to honour the victims of the 75th anniversary on February 22.
In a series of tweets after meeting Mr Foulds, BBC Breakfast and Football Focus presenter Walker said: “Just met an amazing man in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield.
“Tony Foulds was an eight-year-old playing in the park when a US plane crashed in February 1944.
“He has diligently maintained the memorial ever since. He was planting new flowers. Almost 75 years of service. What a man. I’m in bits.”
“He re-told the story of the day so vividly and knew the names of all ten who died. ‘They are like family to me even though I never knew them’.
“He doesn’t want a medal. All he wants is a flypast on the 75th anniversary on February 22, 2019. Can anyone help?”