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USAF Flypast Confirmed for Sheffield Memorial
RAF Lakenheath confirms Flypast for Feb 22 after a remarkable social response to the story of Tony Foulds
US Ambassador Johnson appeared on the BBC Breakfast show earlier this week to confirm a USAF Flypast commemorating 75 years since the crash of a B-17 Bomber in Sheffield, Yorkshire which claimed the lives of 10 American Airmen in 1944. The announcement followed a remarkable story which was brought to light through social media and the BBC Breakfast show of a man named Tony Foulds, and his dedication to the memorial in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, commemorating the incident.
Just met an amazing man in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield. Tony Foulds was an 8-yr-old playing in the park when a US plane crashed in Feb 1944. He has diligently maintained the memorial ever since. He was planting new flowers. Almost 75 yrs of service. What a man. I’m in bits 😢👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/DpdDmSZ0F3— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) January 2, 2019
The story emerged when BBC Breakfast presenter, Dan Walker, tweeted pictures of a meeting with Tony Foulds, a Sheffield local who was tending the memorial, and explained that he had been for over 70 years. Mr Foulds was 8 years old at the time of the crash, and was watching in the park with friends. Describing the crash, Mr Foulds explained to CBS News that the B-17 - named the Mi Amigo - "was full of holes. Some of the holes were really big, shell holes". He went on to say that "If I hadn't have been on the park, they could have landed on the park ... This is my life now literally. I just come down here because I've nothing else".
The touching story of Tony's almost 75-year dedication to tending the memorial sparked remarkable responses on both sides of the Pond. In the UK, Dan Walker began a campaign to encourage a Flypast, highlighting the story through Social Media and the BBC Breakfast show.
Right... I’ve been back to talk to Tony. He doesn’t want a medal. All he wants is a fly-past on the 75th anniversary on the 22nd Feb 2019. Can anyone help? Who has contacts in the Royal Air Force or Red Arrows?— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) January 2, 2019
The campaign culminated in a truly touching moment earlier this week when Tony visited the BBC Breakfast show studio and met US Ambassador Woody Johnson, who confirmed that a Flypast was being arranged for February 22, the 75th anniversary of the incident.
The men of the #MiAmigo landed away from the park in order to save the children. Tony has been maintaining a memorial for the men ever since. Now, we’re honoring them w/ a special flypast – a thank you to Tony, and a tribute to the brave Americans lost. #TonyGotAFlypast 🇺🇸🇬🇧 2/2 pic.twitter.com/7YvjmBapTU— Ambassador Johnson (@USAmbUK) January 22, 2019
Dan Walker confirmed on Twitter that the BBC would cover the Flypast on 22 Feb, or if you can make it, Endcliffe Park is located in the City of Sheffield, Yorkshire.
A hearty congratulations to Tony for his years of dedication to the Endcliffe Park memorial, Dan Walker for raising awareness of an important Transatlantic story, and to Ambassador Johnson, the US Embassy and RAF Lakenheath for making it possible to remember the 10 American Airmen who tragically lost their lives almost 75 years ago.
You can see the BBC Breakfast coverage of Tony's meeting with the US Ambassador below: