23 February 2019

Commemoration

Yesterday morning, thousands gathered in our local park to remember ten young American men who died there on February 22nd 1944. They were the crew of the "Mi Amigo" flying fortress. Tragically, it crash landed in our park following an aborted bombing mission to Denmark. I blogged about it back in November 2015. Go here.
That day an eight year old boy was playing football in the park with his friends. He was called Tony Foulds and he never forgot what he witnessed that fateful  day.

Ever since a memorial was established at the crash site, Tony has tended it. For decades his quiet weekly acts of remembrance and care continued without fanfare or acknowledgement. Then one day, by chance, he met a BBC journalist who was walking his dog in the park.
Tony Foulds on the big screen
They got talking and the rest, as they say, is history. Yesterday morning an estimated ten thousand Sheffielders gathered in the park to witness a memorial fly-past arranged by the American Airforce in conjunction with the The Royal Air Force. And Tony Foulds appeared on a giant TV screen - a humble and unlikely hero. He wiped away his tears for his dream had come true - a fly past on the 75th anniversary of the tragedy.. As he said, "It's not about me".

Lest we forget.

16 comments:

  1. So sad...still. Lest We Forget...

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    1. It was heartening to see so many children there... it was their half term holiday week.

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  2. Thank you for blogging about this. When I read about this in our local paper I was touched by the heroism of the crew and the gratitude of Tony Foulds. ❤

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    1. Yes. It is a good news story that has spread around the globe.

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  3. John Grey at "Going Gently" just posted about this too - it's the first I'd heard of it - what a testament to this man and his quiet tribute all these years.

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    1. As I say Margie - a very unlikely hero who was not seeking acclaim. It just happened to him.

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  4. I am so very pleased that you have blogged abot thie story.

    I was astonished when you said that you had previously blogged about it and Tony because it struck such a note with me when the BBC journalist who was instrumental in getting the fly-past was originally telling the story on BBC Breakfast where he works. Anyway I've discovered I was away when your first post appeared and didn't catch up at the time.

    Having got that off my chest I have to say that this story has pressed my emotional button very hard indeed. Every time the story has appeared I've found it hard to hold back the tears and never more so than yesterday when I delayed leaving the house for my morning walk until the flypast etc had been completed. Tony has to be one of the most selfless of men. Even thinking about the story now the tears well up.

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    1. We should cry. Tony's story and indeed the story of those unfortunate airmen has struck a chord with so many people.

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  5. I do remember your original post, because I'm not sure I'd ever heard the story before. Tony's selflessness in dedicating himself to the memorial and keeping the mens' memories alive is truly impressive.

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    1. Such a simple, shy man. Not you...Tony!

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  6. Such a wonderful story. We have grown up hearing all these war time stories but it all was so far away . However when we visit England we realise how close it was, how real and personal and how well you remember those you fought and gave their lives.

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    1. It is important to hang on to the feelings and the remembrance of wartime martyrs.

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  7. I wasn't reading your blog when you posted on this previously. It's a heartbreaking story, but followed by the heartwarming response of Mr. Foulds. I think that only the second can ever help with the first, as many times as heartbreak unfolds around the world, which of course will be forever. Well done to this gentle soul, and to the ten souls lost long ago. Thank you for posting about it.

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    1. And thank you for your reflections Jenny.

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  8. Tony Foulds is a fine man and a quiet hero to tend the memorial so faithfully all these years. That fly over was a great tribute to the crew and to his efforts.

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    1. And also I think a tribute to the character of Sheffield people. We got behind Tony.

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