AN EMOTIONAL pensioner has seen his lifelong dream fulfilled as a special flypast has taken place to honour ten airmen who died 75 years ago.
Tony Foulds, 82, was just a boy when he saw the B-17 Flying Fortress, nicknamed Mi Amigo, crash at Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, on February 22 1944.
PA:Press Association Mr Foulds campaigned for the flypast along with BBC presenter Dan Walker
Alamy Live News A Fly past took place earlier today to commemorate the ten men who lost their lives 75 years ago
Mr Foulds had a meeting with BBC Presenter Dan Walker which prompted a social media campaign to commemorate the men on 75th anniversary of the tragic accident.
He believes that the pilot had deliberately steered away from him and his friends, and has dedicated decades of his life to looking after a memorial to the men at the park.
What happened to the B-17 bomberThe horror crash took place on February 22, 1944 when ten airmen in a US bomber died.
The B-17 was returning from a raid in Denmark when it flew hundreds of miles off course.
The pilot went to land in Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, but pulled up when he saw Tony, then eight, and pals playing football. The bomber then crashed into a hill.
If it hadn’t been for them, I wouldn’t be here with my family.”Tony Foulds
Earlier today, thousands of people gathered in the park to see Mr Foulds, who has tended to the memorial six days a week and got his son to fill in whenever he has been away, watch the planes, including F-15E Strike Eagles from the USAF and a Typhoon from the RAF, fly over.
Mr Foulds said: “If it hadn’t been for them, I wouldn’t be here with my family.”
“It’s more than bravery, what they did.
“They saved me, and I mean saved me.”
The pensioner, broke down in tears after the names of the dead men were read out at the memorial.
In the days before the flypast, Mr Foulds was also able to meet the families of the airmen that lost their lives as the plane returned from a bombing raid 75 years ago.
The pensioner described them as “lovely, lovely people”.An emotional moment for the pensioner
Overcome by emotion, Mr Foulds wiped away tears as he reacted to the flypast.
He said: “Thank you, I can’t believe all this. This is unbelievable to me.”
A crowd of thousands of people in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, cheered following the flypast on Friday morning.
A clear day meant that the assembled audience had a good view of the planes flying over.
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Mr Foulds waved as the planes started to fly over, making his dream come true some 75 years after the crash.
Shortly before the flypast started, he said: “This is not for me, it’s for them – my lads.
“They’re family, they are family to me.”
PA:Press Association As the fly past took place Mr Foulds waved at the planes fulfilling a life-long dream
PA:Press Association It was an emotional moment as the fly past took place on the 75th anniversary
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