In these days of selfishness, acrimony and downright nastiness, here’s a story to help you regain faith in that humans can behave selflessly and honorably:
Tony Foulds was an 8 year old kid in 1944, playing with friends in Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, England. Overhead he saw a U.S. B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft returning from a final mission in Denmark, where the Luftwaffe left it badly damaged. He witnessed the plane crash, killing all 10 on board. The plane was called Mi Amigo. Tony later learned the aircraft had been attempting a crash landing in the park – the only green space for miles – but diverted course for fear of harming him and his friends.
The 10 airmen on board were:
- Pilot Lt John Kriegshauser, from Missouri
- Co-pilot 2nd Lt Lyle Curtis, from Idaho
- 2nd Lt John Humphrey, a navigator from Illinois
- Sgt Melchor Hernandez, a bombardier from California
- Sgt Harry Estabrooks, an engineer and gunner from Kansas
- Sgt Charles Tuttle, gunner from Kentucky
- Sgt Robert Mayfield, radio operator from Illinois
- Sgt Vito Ambrosio, gunner from New York
- Sgt Malcolm Williams, gunner from Oklahoma
- Sgt Maurice Robbins, gunner from Texas
A memorial to the men was erected in the park and Tony has quietly tended to it ever since. Years later, a BBC journalist, Dan Walker, saw Tony one day placing flowers at the memorial. He was so impressed with this story that he began an online campaign to make Tony’s dream to properly commemorate the air crew who died with a flypast, come true.
Last Friday, British and US military aircraft were dispatched from the UK’s largest US air force base in Suffolk, before flying over Endcliffe Park in Sheffield at 8.45am. Tony and a large group, including the deceased’s relatives and U.S. military representatives were on hand for the occasion – his dream had been fulfilled. Another flypast of four F-15 jets was simultaneously conducted over the graves of three of the US aircrew who are buried in Coton, Cambridgeshire.
God bless Tony for his efforts and dedication and may the memory of the airmen be eternal.