City set for 'Mi Amigo' 75th Anniversary Flypast
21 February 2019
Sheffield is set to look to the skies this week, to see a unique flyover of US and Royal Air Force aircraft – to mark 75 years since the Mi Amigo disaster on Friday 22 February.
'Mi Amigo', a US Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress returning from a bombing raid, crashed at Endcliffe Park on the morning of 22 February 1944 killing her crew of 10 American servicemen.
Local boy Tony Foulds witnessed the crash as a boy and has been tending the Mi Amigo memorial in Endcliffe Park for many years. Tony's story was picked up by BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker as he walked his dog and bumped into Tony in the park and it's captivated the world’s media ever since.
As a result, the US Airforce and Royal Air Forces are organising a unique flypast featuring several of its aircraft in the park on Friday 22 February, with the event being captured live on BBC Breakfast 7am - 9am, to an audience of millions.
With so many people having been moved by the story, Shefield City Council have been coordinating the occasion as a major event, with big crowds expected to turn out in support.
Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “This is going to be a truly memorable day in Sheffield’s history and we are looking forward to welcoming our friends from the US to pay tribute to this remarkable crew who gave their lives so bravely during the Second World War.
“Sheffield owes the Mi Amigo crew a huge debt of gratitude for their sacrifice 75 years ago. We have honoured their memory for all these years and this flypast will be a fitting tribute. It’s also a tribute to Tony who has tended the memorial for all these years.
“We want as many people as possible to see the flypast and would urge them to take the following steps to ensure they have a day to remember on 22 February.”
Members of the public are welcome to attend the event and are advised to arrive at the park from 7:15am. A memorial service will be held before the flypast at 8am, with a bugler playing one verse of Amazing Grace. There will be a reading from St John's gospel by a Royal British Legion and a bugler will play the Last Post and Reveille. The flypast set to follow at 8.45am.
There will be no parking available at Endcliffe Park so attendees are being advised to use public transport where possible.
While final aircraft participation will be driven by weather and mission requirements, the US Airforce is anticipating a unique variety of aircraft from U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force installations including RAF Lakenheath, RAF Mildenhall and RAF Coningsby.
Due to airspace regulations, these aircraft will not fly in one combined formation together but will still put on a fantastic show of airpower in tribute to the fallen crew of the Mi Amigo.
The council is advising people to plan their journeys to Endcliffe Park carefully and in advance so they can arrive in time for the flypast. See below for detailed information.
Plan your journey:
Please try to avoid travelling to the event by car. Organisers are expecting a lot of visitors to this event and parking around the park is extremely limited and the event is taking place during an already busy traffic period. We recommend arriving at the park from around 7.15am. A memorial service will take place from around 8am with the flypast set to follow at 8.45am.
Free travel is valid for current and ex-service personnel carrying identification cards or in uniform on First, Stagecoach, Sheffield Community Transport and TM Travel bus services operating within the Sheffield boundary, and on Stagecoach Supertram services, between start of service and 12 noon on 22 February 2019.
On the tram the customer should show a current forces ID card or wear a HM Armed Forces Veterans badge to get free travel on the day.
Services 81, 82, 83, 83a and 88 provide a bus at least every five minutes from the city centre to Endcliffe Park, with a journey time of approximately 15 minutes. There will be no parking at Endcliffe Park with people advised to allow plenty of time and travel by public transport or on foot wherever possible. Park responsibly and allow plenty of time to get to the park.
It is worth checking weather forecasts and local radio announcements prior to the flypast. The flypast may not take place in extreme weather conditions.
Wear sensible footwear and bring your own seating if needed as it won’t be possible to provide seating in the park.
You are advised not to bring wreaths to the Friday event but an area of the park will be able to take flowers if you choose to bring them on the day.
Arrive in plenty of time, but not oo early:
The BBC will be broadcasting live from the park from around 6am to 9.15am on the morning of the 22 February. However, there is no need to arrive at this time. People are encouraged to arrive at the park from around 7.15am. A memorial service will take place from around 8am with the flypast set to follow at 8.45am.
Due to the location of the memorial on the other side of the Porter Brook, there will be no immediate access to the memorial area during the BBC filming, from 6am to 9.15am, and access to the memorial and that side of the river may be limited afterwards.
The best viewing area will be in the large field close to the Endcliffe Park café, which will be serving teas and refreshments. A big screen will be there to relay events to the crowd.
On the Friday, a memorial service will take place, starting at approximately 8am, with a Bugler playing one verse of Amazing Grace. There will be a reading from St John’s Gospel by a Royal British Legion and a bugler will play the Last Post and Reveille.
The annual memorial service is on Sunday 24 February at 2pm at St Augustine’s Parish Church, Endcliffe. Prior to the service, at around 1.15pm, a group of USAF personnel, RAFA officers, the Lord Mayor, Lord-Lieutenant, High Sheriff and members of the public will hold a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial site.
Vantage Points of potential aircraft route:
It is believed that the flypast will arrive in Sheffield from the south-east before arriving in Endcliffe Park, although this route may be subject to change. The city has a number of lofty vantage points which might provide a spectacular back drop for the flyover, such as Bolehills Park, Park Hill flats, Skye Edge playing fields and the Botanical Gardens.
Of course, the flypast will also be broadcast on BBC Breakfast if you can’t make it into Sheffield on the day.
Plan your day out:
It’s half-term when the flypast takes place and there are a number of events taking place in the city.
Head to our the Vist Sheffield events page for more info: www.welcometosheffield.co.uk/visit/events