Everything you need to know about the Mi Amigo flypast over Sheffield's Endcliffe Park
The spotlight will be on Sheffield today as a crowd of thousands - plus millions more watching live on TV - are set to witness a military flypast to honour lives lost in the wartime Mi Amigo plane crash.
All 10 crew on board the badly damaged B-17 Flying Fortress, known as Mi Amigo, were killed when it plummeted from the skies and crashed into Endcliffe Park in 1944.
Now their memory is to be honoured 75 years to the day since the tragedy, with what promises to be an impressive display of air power from both the Royal Air Force and United States Air Force.
The story of the Mi Amigo and Sheffield pensioner Tony Foulds – who witnessed the crash as a schoolboy and has campaigned tirelessly to keep their memory alive – has captured the hearts of the nation in recent weeks.
The 82-year-old from Lowedges said: “It has been a long time coming but I cannot wait for the flypast. It will be a very emotional day.”
The Mi Amigo had completed a daring day time raid on the Aalborg airfield in occupied Denmark but was hit in the attack and limped back over the North Sea.
On returning to base it suffered catastrophic engine failure over Sheffield and plummeted towards Endcliffe Park.
It is believed the crew was aiming to make an emergency landing on the field, but upon witnessing Tony and his friends on the grass, diverted and crashed into a nearby wooded area.
The tragedy left Tony with feelings of deep-seated guilt and he has spent the best part of seven decades tending to a memorial dedicated to the crew.
The grandfather-of-four’s call for a flypast was supported by thousands of people and organisations, including BBC presenter Dan Walker and The Star, and all of the hard work will come to fruition this morning.
The BBC is broadcasting live from around 6am to 9.15am and there will be a big screen close to the cafe.
Members of the public are advised to arrive at the park from 7.15am.
There will be limited parking with visitors advised to use public transport.
Veterans and serving military personnel are being offered free bus and tram travel.
A memorial service will take place from around 8am led by Ian Jennings, padre for the Frecheville branch of the Royal British Legion.
There will be a reading from St John’s Gospel, while a bugler is to play one verse of Amazing Grace plus the Last Post and Reveille.
The US and British national anthems will also be observed.
The flypast is due to follow at 8.45am, dependent on weather conditions and mission requirements, but the USAF and RAF are anticipating using a unique variety of aircraft from bases in Lakenheath, Mildenhall and Coningsby.
This included four F15 Strike Eagle fighter jets which will perform a missing man formation as an aerial salute to the Mi Amigo victims.
A Dakota, CV-22 Osprey, MC-130, KC-135 Tanker and two RAF Typhoons are due to complete the flypast.
The aircraft are due to arrive in the city from the south-east and, alongside Endcliffe Park, other suggested vantage points included Bolehills Park in Crookes, Park Hill flats, Skye Edge playing fields and the Botanical Gardens.
Pat Davey, chairman of the Frecheville branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “Tony has lovingly maintained their memorial and he is responsible for this magnificent tribute to their heroism, both on the ground and in the air.”
Coun Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure at Sheffield Council, anticipated a ‘truly memorable day in Sheffield’s history.’
There will also be an act of remembrance on Sunday, February 24, which will include the laying of a wreath at the memorial from 1.15pm, followed by a service at St Augustine’s Church on Brocco Bank at 2pm.