Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 June 2019

Man's dream to honour 10 American servicemen realised with flypast

The ‘remember the ten’ memorial event held in Sheffield was down to the perseverance of Tony Foulds who said the plane was about to land on him but swerved and crashed 75 years ago

Thousands of people gathered in a British city park to watch a flypast honouring ten men who perished in an air crash 75 years ago, fulfilling a lifelong dream for one resident.

Tony Foulds, 82, secured the flypast over Sheffield’s Endcliffe Park to pay tribute to the American men who perished in the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber crash. He was just eight years old when he and his friends witnessed the plane, nicknamed Mi Amigo, crash in the park in 1944.

The campaign for a flypast began after a chance encounter between Mr Foulds and BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker, who was walking his dog in the park. Mr Walker was touched by Mr Fould’s story and began a social media campaign to raise money for the event and to install a flagpole at the memorial. Their efforts culminated in Friday’s event.

Held at dawn and attended by thousands of people, including the families of those killed in the crash and veterans from the British armed forces, the event included a roll-call of the names of the dead airmen. At 08.45am, F-15E Strike Eagles from the US Air Force AF and an Royal Air Force Typhoon flew over the northern city, returning to RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

Mr Foulds claims the plane swerved away from his group of friends and credits the crew with saving his life.

"It's more than bravery, what they did. They saved me, and I mean saved me,” Mr Foulds told the BBC.

"These are now part of my family, my ashes are going to be put by the memorial. I might as well stay with them, you know."

The accident affected Mr Foulds deeply and he spent much of the next few decades tending to the park’s memorial of the crash.

In the hours leading up to the flypast, Mr Foulds was praised on social media using the hashtag #TonyGotAFlypast.

Updated: February 22, 2019 05:05 PM