USAAF B-17 42-31322 ‘Mi Amigo’, Endcliffe Park, Sheffield

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USAAF B-17 42-31322 ‘Mi Amigo’, Endcliffe Park, Sheffield

On 22 February 1944 Flying Fortress ‘Mi Amigo’ crashed in this public park in Sheffield with the loss of all 10 crew men on board.

The B-17 had been on a raid on the German airfield at Ålborg in occupied Denmark (apparently Ålborg has the unwanted distinction of being the first city in the world to be taken by paratroopers). The airfield was home to Fw 190s and Bf 109s.

These attacked the B-17s overhead, and pursued ‘Mi Amigo’ as bombardier Second Lt Hernandez, aware of the Danish civilians below, was unable to release the bombs due to cloud cover obscuring the target.

Pilot First Lt Krieghauser’s aircraft was badly damaged by the attacking fighters. The bombs were released harmlessly over the North Sea as the B-17 limped back towards base in Northamptonshire.

It is probable the navigation and communication equipment was out of service, and that some of the crew were dead or wounded from the attack. For whatever reasons, ‘Mi Amigo’ ended up 80 miles off course and circling low over the city of Sheffield.

In Endcliffe Park, kids playing football watched as an engine finally cut, a wing dipped and the aircraft spiralled down into a wooded knoll next to the playing field. It is possible First Lieutenant Krieghauser was considering a crash landing on the playing field. This might also account for why some of the crew at least didn’t bail out. Eye witness accounts at the time (and there were many) are extremely harrowing and there seems no point in repeating them here.

The memorial is surrounded by 10 American oaks planted in 1969, one for each crew member.

Cunningham notes that day, 22 Feb 1944, 43 American bombers were lost on operations with the deaths of 430 men.

Crew;
First Lieutenant John Glennon Krieghauser, pilot.
Second Lieutenant Lyle J Curtis, co-pilot
Second Lieutenant John W Humphrey, navigator
Second Lieutenant Melchor Hernandez, bombardier
Staff Sergeant Robert E Mayfield, radio operator
Staff Sergeant Harry W Estabrooks, engineer / top turret gunner
Sergeant Charles H Tuttle, ball-turret gunner
Sergeant Maurice O Robbins, tail gunner
Sergeant Vito R Ambrosio, right waist gunner
Muster Sergeant George U Williams, left waist gunner

Details from
Peakland Air Crashes – The Central Area, Pat Cunningham, 2006.

Detail on the memorial.

DSC_0009fdf

20 comments on “USAAF B-17 42-31322 ‘Mi Amigo’, Endcliffe Park, Sheffield
  1. Keartona says:

    Different to see one which is not high on the moors.

  2. Tech Owl says:

    Nice memorial Ian – I was also straining to see the plaques … until I scrolled down :))

  3. Neal. says:

    That’s a lot of men to lose.

  4. redrocker_9 says:

    That is a very touching story Ian, amazing the history.

  5. pasujoba says:

    The usual great background info Ian .
    The losses of the allied airforces were far larger than most people realise.

  6. andyholmfirth says:

    Obviously a well tended memorial.Good to see.

  7. ​favourite waste of time​ says:

    Chilling… in a public park means that so many probably witnesses the terror and the dying..

  8. mick cooke says:

    another part of history kept alive by your photos on flickr ,

  9. het broertje van.. says:

    ………………..such a sad sad story man!!

    Thanks for your so funny comment Ian, I almost laughted my balls of!!!

    Janwillem

  10. Highy says:

    Thanks for posting Ian, I’m reading Kevin Wilson’s Bomber Boys at the moment; the rate those lads were dying at is staggering.
    Makes me so sad and angry that their sacrifice was never recognised officially.

  11. Kingsdude/Dave says:

    Very sad story Ian although its good to see the crew are not forgotton.

    Today I came across the photostream of davydutchy`s which you might find of interest ?

  12. Pleasureprinciple2012 says:

    Lot of men in those machines, seeing inside of a B17 makes you realise just how small and compact these things are, especially when you are kitted out with all the high altitude gear, masks, flak jackets and helmets, not forgetting the parachutes that they would have had to have donned in a bale out situation. Not for the claustraphobic.

  13. sidewinder54 (Closed For Business) says:

    Very sad story Ian… Excellent narrative & a fabulous image to accompany it.

  14. Dave says:

    A guy who I worked with in the early 60’s recalls seeing the crash from his bedroom in Banner Cross, he was aged 4 at the time.

  15. wayne foulds says:

    Hi how do I get to contact any relatives of the fallan. As my dad was there when the crash happened.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Wayne, a good source might be the American air museum in Britain, if you had a query about a crew member they might have the records and might be able to forward a leter or email from you?
      aamwebsite@iwm.org.uk

      or you could also try the Museum of the Mighty 8th Air Force

      Ian

    • Paul Allonby says:

      Hi Wayne, I’m in touch with most families so if you wish to contact me please e-mail me at miamigoresearch@gmail.com

      Thanks,
      Paul Allonby – author ”Courage Above the Clouds – the true story of ‘Mi-Amigo’ and her crew” (UK print edition available via lulu.com)

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