75 years ago today an American B-17 Flying Fortress of the 305th Bomb Group, call sign “Mi Amigo,” crashed in Sheffield’s Endcliffe Park. The crew’s mission on February 22, 1944 was to drop a 4,000 lb. bomb on a Luftwaffe station in Denmark. The plane sustained heavy damage over the North Sea during the mission after it was ambushed. The aircraft’s skilled pilot Lieutenant John G. Kriegshauser managed to fly the damaged plane back to England after discharging the bomb into the sea. But by around 5 o’clock they got into difficulties over the park. The engines failed, and they were forced to crash land.
The heroic crew chose to sacrifice themselves, steering the plane into the trees at the edge of the park so as to avoid a group of children. These 10 “Mi Amigo”heroes were Robert Mayfield, Vito Ambrosio, Harry Estabrooks, George Williams, Charles Tuttle, Maurice Robbins, John Kriegshauser, Lyle Curtis, Melchor Hernandez, and John Humphrey. Sadly all were killed in the crash. Pilot Lt Kriegshauser was posthumously awarded the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for minimizing the loss of life.
Tony Foulds was just 8 years old when he witnessed the “Mi Amigo” crash in Endcliffe Park. Feeling that it was his duty and responsibility to honor the men who died, Tony has since cared for a memorial in their honor at the crash site, erected by the Sheffield Branch of the Royal Air Force Association in 1969. By chance BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker TV met Tony while walking his dog in Endcliffe Park. Tony explained to Dan his routine to care for the memorial and his gratitude for the sacrifice the airmen made that day. This led to Tony’s story reaching an international audience. Tony had only one request, a fly-past on the 75th anniversary of the crash to honor the actions of the ten airmen and remember their sacrifice. The #GetTonyAFlypast campaign was born.
Our Ambassador Woody Johnson met Tony at the BBC Breakfast studio a few weeks later for a very special announcement… Colonel Will Marshall from RAF Lakenheath announced to Tony live to “look to the skies on 22 February for a very special flyby.” The special 75th anniversary fly-past would take place and #TonyGotAFlypast.
Today we are honoring these ten special airmen lost during the “Mi Amigo” crash and showing our appreciation to Tony for his dedication in remembering these heroes for the last 75 years. The flypast over Sheffield’s Endcliffe Park will be conducted by the United States Air Force and Royal Air Force pilots from RAF Lakenheath, RAF Mildenhall and Royal Air Force Coningsby. The fly-past will also travel over the Cambridge American Cemetery at Madingley, paying tribute to three of the airmen, Charles Tuttle, Harry Estabrooks & Maurice Robbins, who rest there along with nearly 4,000 other U.S. servicemen.
February 22, 2018