This is a name that you may not have heard yet also a name that has likely surrounded you in the UK over the past few days. Tony Foulds is not a big iconic celebrity; he is a rather lovely man, entirely deserving of cake, and one who has occupied my thoughts over the last week.
Tony Foulds was 8 years old when a B-17 Flying Fortress named the Mi Amigo crashed in woodlands, not far from where he was playing with friends, killing all 10 airmen on board.
At 8 years old, Tony did not know that the waving from those on board had likely been for the children to move away from the grassy area where they were playing so that the plane could crash land there. When the children waved back and did not move, the pilot steered the plane away from them.
Tony has dedicated his entire life to honouring and preserving the memory of the crew’s sacrifice because he knew that they had risked their own lives to save those of the children playing beneath them.
I think you would need to have a heart of stone to not admire Tony’s dedication to remembering the 10. The pilot and crew of the Mi Amigo were:
Lt John Kriegshauser (pilot, Missouri)
2nd Lt Lyle Curtis (co-pilot, Idaho)
2nd Lt John Humphrey (navigator, Illinois)
Melchor Hernandez (bombardier, California)
Harry Estabrooks (engineer/gunner, Kansas)
Charles Tuttle (gunner, Kentucky)
Robert Mayfield (radio operator, Illinois)
Vito Ambrosio (gunner, New York)
Malcolm Williams (gunner, Oklahoma)
Maurice Robbins (gunner, Texas)
Special thanks to the BBC for listing the names and information above. I wanted to list the men here in order to remember them, as per Tony’s wishes.
A remarkable thing happened over the past six weeks – BBC news anchor Dan Walker was out with his dog when he met Tony who was tending the memorial. They got chatting and Dan was so moved by his story that he made it into a story – Tony was on the news telling his story and speaking of his desire to remember the 10 on the 75th anniversary of the crash.
Then the magic happened and a flypast was scheduled to take place over the crash site in Sheffield on Friday 22nd February. I watched it live on the news. It was incredibly moving not only to see Tony watching the planes fly overhead but also because the crowds who had gathered in their thousands to watch burst into a spontaneous three cheers for Tony afterwards. You just know that Tony has gone right back to his daily routine of tending the memorial after all of this excitement.
You can see the full story unfold here:
This is remarkable. I would love to bake a cake for Tony Foulds to thank him for a life spent in such devotion to thanks. I’ve said before that I think the act of saying thank you is incredibly powerful and having given his entire life in thanks to those who gave theirs to save him, I think it is entirely right that we have the opportunity to say thank you to Tony. At the flypast, Tony was thanked by members of the crew’s families who had travelled from the US to be a part of the day; to be a part of a commemoration that would not have occurred without Tony’s remarkable story.
What a lovely lovely human.