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Emotional flypast for grandad who blames himself for airmen’s deaths | UK News

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A great grandfather whose dedication to a WW2 memorial inspired a unique anniversary flypast has told Sky News he wants his ashes to be scattered in the same spot.

Tony Foulds has dedicated his life to honouring the memory of 10 US airmen who died when their aircraft came down in front of him 75 years ago.

The 82-year-old from Sheffield spends time at the memorial on at least 270 days of the year.

Mr Foulds waits in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, to see his lifelong dream fulfilled
Image:
Mr Foulds waits in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, to see his lifelong dream fulfilled

As an eight-year-old he had been playing in Endcliffe Park when the bomber came overhead, the pilot waved at the children to get out of the way and then deliberately crashed into a wooded area to avoid them.

Mr Foulds’ dedication has been hailed as “awe-inspiring” by relatives of the US airmen.

Typhoons seen from Endcliffe Park during the flypast
Image:
Typhoons seen from Endcliffe Park during the flypast

His efforts were saluted as part of the 75th anniversary commemorations that featured a special flypast involving British and US aircraft.

Mr Foulds told Sky News: “People keep saying why do I feel guilty and I always say to them, ‘what would you feel if you killed someone with a car? How would you feel?’ Multiply that 10 times and that’s how my guilt is.

Tony Foulds watches warplanes from Britain and the US stage a flypast
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Tony Foulds watches warplanes from Britain and the US stage a flypast

“Some of my family didn’t even know that I have decided to have my ashes spread next to these… it’s what I want when I go.”

One of the 10 men on board was 2nd Lt Melchor Hernandez from Los Angeles.

His great niece Megan Leo, 23, told Sky News: “It is absolutely spectacular what he has done and how much of his time he has dedicated to these men that he never met but that he is forever entwined with.”

A KC-135 Stratotanker flies over Endcliffe Park in Sheffield
Image:
A KC-135 Stratotanker flies over Endcliffe Park in Sheffield

“I’m in awe, he says the men are part of his family and we agree.”

Up to 10,000 people gathered to watch the flypast, among them local Barry Haynes, who hoisted the American flag up on his telescopic fishing pole.

Mr Hayne told Sky News: “All gave some and some gave all… we should teach this story to kids in every school.”

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