B-17 crew saves young British boy’s life



Graphic for Mi Amigo Crew story

Veteran’s Story graphic by Kimber Garland.

Seventy-five years after the fact, Tony Foulds from Sheffield, United Kingdom has devoted his life to honoring the American bomber crew that he says saved his life.

On Feb. 22, 1944, the 10-man crew of the B-17 “Mi Amigo” flew a bombing mission with the 305th Bombardment Group, 8th Army Air Force to Denmark, with the goal of destroying a Nazi air base. Due to weather conditions, the mission was not completed and the group returned to their base in England. On the return flight, the “Mi Amigo” sustained heavy damage from Nazi fighters. The crew lost contact with the bomber group and ended up flying nearly 80 miles off their route toward Sheffield.

That afternoon, Foulds was playing in Endcliffe Park with his friends when he saw the disabled bomber circling the field and the pilot, Lt. John Kriegshauser, waving to the boys hoping they would clear the field so he could safely bring the plane down. Instead, the plane ended up losing altitude and crashed into a forest. The B-17 exploded immediately, killing the ten Americans on board.

Foulds credits the pilot, who received the Distinguished Flying Cross, for saving his life. Lt. Kriegshauser’s decision to crash the plane into the trees saved the lives of the British children playing in the park that afternoon. Foulds vowed he would never forget what the men did for him.

In 1969 a memorial was established in the park with ten American oak trees, dedicated to the crew of the “Mi Amigo.” Since then, Foulds has dedicated countless hours of his time to preserving the legacy of the crew members.

For the 75th anniversary of the crash in 2019, Foulds, with the help of the British Broadcasting Company, planned an elaborate military flyover to honor the fallen men. Ten planes from the Royal Air Force and United States Air Force participated in the memorial ceremony. The planes circled the field three times like the “Mi Amigo” did before the crash. Four F-15 Strike Eagles also performed the missing man formation, an aviator tribute to lost aircraft crews.

The 75th anniversary tribute was a fitting way for Foulds to give thanks to those who serve. The little known story of the “Mi Amigo” crew is another important chapter to the countless stories of American servicemen giving their lives for the cause of freedom during World War II.


Contributors:

Graphic designer: Kimber Garland

Editor: Vincent Tran

Fact Checker: Andre Willey

Author

Ben Szalinski

Ben is a student at the University of Illinois at Springfield studying Political Science and Communication. He is originally from the Chicagoland area and is a writing intern at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Comments

  1. Dennis    

    Incredible story. RIP to the pilot & crew & God Bless You all‼️

  2. Naira Marley    

    This great…. The world need more people like this Naira Marley Biography

  3. Olamide net worth    

    Nice to hear, humanity come first before many things

  4. bob Windholz    

    There are many incredible stories of sacrifice and bravery from WWII. One of my favorites is depicted in the book “A Higher Call” by Adam Makos. It’s the story of a BF109 pilot who spared a B-17 at risk to himself if his deed had been discovered and the eventual reunion of the German and American pilots in Vancouver and the development of a life long friendship.
    Soon to be a movie. https://www.valorstudios.com/a-higher-call-book.htm

  5. Anders Straarup    

    Salute to the brave crew of Mi Amigo! More on http://www.airmen.dk/p271operation.htm including the BBC coverage of the flypast. Veteran Lester Schrenk still remembers how he was shot down on the same mission. He sent details about Mi Amigo and a lot about his own B-17 Pot O’Gold to my AirmenDK that mentions all planes of the USAAF shot down over Denmark.

    1. Paul Allonby    

      A good article by Ben (and an excellent graphic) but just a couple of points – ”Mi-Amigo” wasn’t 80 miles ”off-course” but 80 miles from base. And the suggestion the crew circled the park three times is not supported by the eye-witness statements made at the time; if the crew had done, then they would have seen the park was too small to make an emergency landing. The Aalborg raid was the 15th daylight mission for the Kriegshauser crew, who were attached to 364 Squadron (305th BG) at Chelveston in Northamptonshire, where Lt Kriegshauser was a flight commander. The British Broadcasting Corporation certain shone the spotlight on heroism and devotion arising from that day’s tragic events, and for further reading I would wholeheartedly direct people to Anders website, referred to in his comments.

  6. William Switzer    

    Just ne of many GOOD deeds done during that war.

  7. KELLY WOODRING    

    I have seen, viewed, read of the heroics of the MI AMIGO crew and what the young lad has done for so many years. I STILL CRY LIKE A BABY WHEN VISITING TRIBUTES LIKE THIS….AND I am not ashamed, at 74, to cry my eyes out. THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS! HM2 Kelly WOODRING, USN, 65-69. AND, DAMNED PROUD OF MY SMALL BIT FOR OUR COUNTRY!

  8. f_supinski@yahoo.com    

    A real moving tribute to the American Army Air Corps Flyers who did the right thing to save the lives of the children.

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