Home   News   Article

Military aircraft fly over American Cemetery at Madingley in tribute to Second World War Mi Amigo crew


By Newsdesk Cambridge


Military aircraft flew over the American Cemetery at Madingley on Friday morning (February 22) as part of a tribute to 10 Second World War heroes who died on this day 75 years ago.

The memorial flypast by four USAF F15 jets from RAF Lakenheath over the American Cemetery in Madingley. Picture: Richard Marsham
The memorial flypast by four USAF F15 jets from RAF Lakenheath over the American Cemetery in Madingley. Picture: Richard Marsham

Three of the crew who perished when their B-17 Flying Fortress came down in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, are interred at the cemetery.

The headstones of Staff Sgt Harry W Estabrooks, Sgt Maurice D Robbins and Sgt Charles H Tuttle were dressed with sand from Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, for Friday’s memorial flypast.

At Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, 10,000 gathered to mark the event, which the BBC helped to organise to fulfil the lifelong dream of Tony Foulds, 82, who was eight when he saw the bomber - nicknamed Mi Amigo - crash and explode.

Tony and his friends were playing in the park that day, and he believes the pilot tried to avoid them as the plane came down.

He told the BBC: "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.”

Visitors gather for the memorial flypast by four USAF F15 jets from RAF Lakenheath over the American Cemetery in Madingley. Picture: Richard Marsham
Visitors gather for the memorial flypast by four USAF F15 jets from RAF Lakenheath over the American Cemetery in Madingley. Picture: Richard Marsham

Wracked by a guilty conscience all his life, Tony has been tending to their memorial in the park for decades. But today was the first occasion he had met members of their family as he watched the planes soar past.

A chance meeting with BBC presenter Dan Walker in the park led to a successful social media campaign, which went transatlantic, calling for the flyover.

Among those taking part in today’s event were aircrews from RAF Mildenhall and Lakenheath, which hosts American operations.

Captain Benjamin Coffey, of RAF Lakenheath, which contributed F-15 Strike Eagles said on Wednesday (February 20): “We are going to take our jets out of formation and point them up towards the heavens.

“It’s a symbolic gesture, an aerial salute, to the aircrew who have fallen. It’s dear to our hearts to acknowledge the Mi Amigo aircrew, and all the aircrew leading up to D-Day.

The memorial flypast by four USAF F15 jets from RAF Lakenheath over the American Cemetery in Madingley. Picture: Richard Marsham
The memorial flypast by four USAF F15 jets from RAF Lakenheath over the American Cemetery in Madingley. Picture: Richard Marsham

“It is a huge honour. My family, just like many others, has World War Two veterans and a few of those never made it back home. So for me to look back and see where the heritage came from is deeply humbling. We are really blessed to be able to do it.”

RAF Mildenhall also contributed, with its KC-135 Stratotanker, MC-130J Commando II and CV-22 Osprey all being used.

A spokesman from RAF Mildenhall added: “We were proud to take the opportunity to participate in this event to honour some of the fallen.

“We want to recognise their sacrifice and demonstrate the relationship between the two countries.”

Meanwhile, Tony - who was greeted by applause from the crowd in Sheffield - says he wants his ashed by the memorial as he considers the men to be like family.

The 10 men killed in the crash:

Pilot Lt John Kriegshauser, pilot from Missouri

2nd Lt Lyle Curtis, co-pilot from Idaho

2nd Lt John Humphrey, navigator from Illinois

Melchor Hernandez, bombardier from California

Harry Estabrooks, engineer and gunner from Kansas

Charles Tuttle, gunner from Kentucky

Robert Mayfield, radio operator from Illinois

Vito Ambrosio, gunner from New York

Malcolm Williams, gunner from Oklahoma

Maurice Robbins, gunner from Texas

Planes that took part in the flypast:

F-15E Strike Eagles from RAF Lakenheath

KC-135 Stratotanker

MC-130J Commando II

CV-22 Osprey from RAF Mildenhall

Typhoon from RAF Coningsby

Dakota from RAF Coningsby

Read more

Veterans' Day held at Cambridge American Military Cemetery



COMMENTS
()


Iliffe Media does not moderate comments. Please click here for our house rules.

People who post abusive comments about other users or those featured in articles will be banned.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.

 

Terms of Comments

We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules.

If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More