The governor of Missouri has commended Sheffield pensioner Tony Foulds for helping to keep the memory alive of 10 American airmen who died in a wartime plane crash in the city.
Around 10, 000 people gathered last Friday to witness a flypast to mark 75 years since the badly damaged B-17 Flying Fortress, known as Mi Amigo, crashed into Endcliffe Park.
The plane was hit during a bombing raid over Europe and after limping back over the North Sea suffered catastrophic engine failure over the city.
It is believed the crew was attempting to make an emergency landing on the field – but when they spotted a young Tony Foulds and his friends on the grass they diverted and crashed into nearby woods to avoid them.
All 10 crew on board the plane died and Tony, now aged 82, became consumed with guilt and pledged to tend to a memorial in the park almost daily for the best part of 70 years.
The pilot that day was a lieutenant John Kriegshauser, aged 23, of St Louis, Missouri, who was awarded a posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross for minimising loss of life.
Missouri governor Mike Parson has now issued a proclamation to thank Mr Foulds, in which he praised him for his “profound devotion to remembering and commemorating the Mi Amigo crew.”
He added: “Now in his ninth decade, on an almost daily basis, (he) continues to maintain the memorial as a tribute to the noble courage and concern exhibited for human life 75 years earlier.”
He added: “Today, the people of Missouri say thank you for so many decades of honouring noble service and fostering a spirit of cooperation among peoples and nations.”
There was a unique variety of aircraft that made their way to the city from bases in Lakenheath, Mildenhall and Coningsby to complete the flypast.
This included four F15 Strike Eagle fighter jets, which performed a ‘missing man formation’ as an aerial salute to the Mi Amigo, along with a Dakota, CV-22 Osprey, MC-130, KC-135 Tanker and two RAF Typhoons.
Calls are now growing for Mr Foulds, a grandfather-of-four from Lowedges, to receive an MBE for ‘services to remembrance’.