For those in and around Sheffield this Friday, specifically Endcliffe Park at 8.45am, the planned flypast on Friday 22nd February, has now been confirmed.
Nearly 75 years ago, Mi Amigo was badly damaged by enemy fighters on a raid to Aalborg, Denmark. The raid was a diversionary mission, designed to confuse Luftwaffe defences as the main force targetted aircraft production facilities in Germany.
Having departed her base at Chelveston, Northants at 08.00, B-17G ‘Mi Amigo’ was part of the 305BG formation which joined up with the 92BG. The two groups reached the Danish coast at 24,000ft at 13.08 only to find the country covered in cloud. Shortly after, Luftwaffe fighters appeared, signalling the start of an aerial duel which was to last nearly two hours.
Arriving over Aalborg at 14.13, the formation is forced to circle the city twice in order to try to find breaks in cover. With no clear target and no secondary target issued, the abort is given and the B-17s turn for home, dropping their loads in the North Sea.
At 15.02 Luftwaffe pilot Erich Naujokat, flying his first interception mission, is reported as having engaged Mi Amigo in what his colleagues described as a ‘’spirited’’ attack, with strikes seen on the bomber’s wings and fuselage. Naujokat’s aircraft receives heavy defensive fire, particularly from the rear and waist gun positions. His aircraft was seen diving into clouds, seemingly out of control. Several days later, his body was recovered from a beach in Sweden.
Badly damaged, with one engine out and three mortally wounded crew members onboard, Mi Amigo slowly drops out of position from the formation. At 16.10 a signal is received from the stricken bomber requesting a vector to an emergency landing field in Yorkshire. At 16.59 she is seen emerging from low cloud above Sheffield.
It is thought that while attempting to put down in Endcliffe Park, a further engine cut out causing the aircraft to spiral down into a wooded knoll close to where local children were playing football.
Tony Foulds was one of many who witnessed the loss of the crew on that fateful day – a day in which The Mighty Eighth ultimately lost 43 aircraft. 82 year-old Tony has been remembering the 10-man crew every year since. Now his dedication has been rewarded with a fitting tribute involving both USAFE and the RAF.
Here at The People’s Mosquito, we salute the crew of Mi Amigo, Tony Foulds for his dedication to the crew and all those who have made this Friday’s flypast possible. A reminder, if needed, that ‘with all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.’
In memory of:
First Lieutenant John Glennon Krieghauser, pilot.
Second Lieutenant Lyle J Curtis, co-pilot
Second Lieutenant John W Humphrey, navigator
Second Lieutenant Melchor Hernandez, bombardier
Staff Sergeant Robert E Mayfield, radio operator
Staff Sergeant Harry W Estabrooks, engineer / top turret gunner
Sergeant Charles H Tuttle, ball-turret gunner
Sergeant Maurice O Robbins, tail gunner
Sergeant Vito R Ambrosio, right waist gunner
Muster Sergeant George U Williams, left waist gunner