A British Pensioner and American Heroes

Tony Foulds. Pic by The Star

by Neil Bamforth

A story going viral in the UK and beyond concerns British pensioner, Tony Foulds, 82, who has been quietly tending the memorial site for 10 American airmen who died when their B17 Flying Fortress crashed near Sheffield in Yorkshire, England.

His story is this: The crippled B17 was coming down but was too low for the airmen to bail out. If not for the skill of the pilot it would have crashed into the place Tony and his childhood friends were playing.

Despite knowing they were likely to die in the crash, the aircrew managed to keep the aircraft aloft until it had safely avoided the children. It came down and all 10 crew died on impact.

He says he still feels guilty over the airmen’s deaths because he believes the stricken American bomber, known as Mi Amigo, may have landed safely if he and his friends were not playing football in the park.

Tony has tended the memorial ever since it was erected but, prior to that, placed flowers on the spot. He has been quietly doing this for 74 years.

He even admits to talking to the aircrew as he stands over their memorial.

Ever since the crash he has devoted his spare time to looking after the war memorial to honor the men, saying they are ‘like family’ to him.

He firmly believes that they saved his, and his friends lives by sacrificing the chance of a safe emergency landing that would have probably killed them.

He has called for a flypast to honor their memory on the anniversary of the crash next month and is being backed backed by BBC presenter Dan Walker.

A series of tweets using the hashtag #GetTonyAFlyPast were liked more than 6000 times in a matter of hours.

Mr Walker told his followers: ‘

‘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.’

The ten airmen who died were Robert Mayfield, Vito Ambrosio, Harry Estabrooks, George Williams, Charles Tuttle, Maurice Robbins, John Kriegshauser, Lyle Curtis, Melchor Hernandez and John Humphrey.

BBC presenter Dan Walker continued :

‘He couldn’t even get his phone out of his pocket this morning because of the shakes but still sweeps, cleans and tends the memorial (Tony Foulds has Parkinsons hence the shaking).

‘Let’s mark his 75 years of service with something special.’

Speaking to the Sheffield Star, Mr Foulds said:

‘I can remember seeing the plane circling above and the airmen waving at us.

‘But being young boys we just thought they were being friendly. Then it went over the trees and there was a huge explosion’.

‘It is only later in life that it dawned on me they were waving for us to get out of the way so they could land on the grass.

‘They avoided us and I owe everything to them. I have had 75 years of life since then thanks to their brave actions.

‘A flypast would be a fitting way to remember them. It would be a very, very emotional moment.’

He added:

‘I am not in good health now but come rain or shine I will always go there because of what they did.

‘They should never be forgotten.’

They never will be forgotten Tony. Because of you we will always remember them.

Heroes every one of them.

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Posted by on January 7, 2019. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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3 Responses to A British Pensioner and American Heroes

  1. Michael John Scott Reply

    January 7, 2019 at 10:19 am

    A wonderful story and you didn’t once mention immigrants 🙂

    • Cherries Reply

      January 8, 2019 at 8:13 am

      Yes it is a wonderful story and I take your point !!

  2. Glenn R. Geist Reply

    January 8, 2019 at 8:44 am

    And when he’s gone, who will remember? To so many people it’s all as irrelevant as the Trojan war and to some, it’s all been re-written. At least there’s one man who is preserving the memory of a tiny bit of it all. Is he one of the last heroes of that war?

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