Emotional pensioner watches flypast tribute to US airmen who 'saved his life' as he played 75 years ago

It was the moment Tony Foulds has been waiting for for 75 years.

The emotional pensioner saw his lifelong dream fulfilled in the form of a special flypast to pay tribute to 10 airmen who lost their lives in the Second World War.

The 82-year-old was just a boy when he saw the B-17 Flying Fortress, nicknamed Mi Amigo, crash at Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, on February 22, 1944.

The pensioner, who believes the pilot deliberately steered away from him and his friends, dedicated his life to looking after a memorial to the men at the park, tending it six days a week and getting his son to fill in whenever he was away.

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US Airforce flypast in Sheffield
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US Airforce flypast in Sheffield
Four USAF F-15 Strike Eagle jets fly over the graves of three US aircrew buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery in Coton, Cambridgeshire, who perished when their B-17 Bomber, named 'Mi Amigo', crashed in Sheffield's Endcliffe Park in 1944. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
Tony Foulds, 82, watches from Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, as warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast tribute to ten US airmen 75 years after he witnessed the crash that killed them.
A KC-135 Stratotanker seen from Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, as warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast tribute to ten US airmen 75 years after he witnessed the crash that killed them.
Tony Foulds, 82, waits in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, to see his lifelong dream fulfilled today when warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast over the memorial to salute the 75th anniversary of a crash which claimed the lives of 10 American airmen.
John McCarthy from the Royal British Legion pays his respects at the grave of Sergeant Maurice Robbins and Sergeant Charles Tuttle, who perished along with eight others when their B-17 Bomber, named 'Mi Amigo', crashed in Sheffield's Endcliffe Park in 1944, at the Cambridge American Cemetery in Coton, Cambridgeshire.
(left to right) Jim Kriegshauser, nephew of John Kriegshauser, Megan Leo, cousin of airmen George Williams (who both died in the Mi Amigo crash), Tony Foulds, with BBC presenters Charlie Stayt and Steph McGovern as they watch from Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, as warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast tribute to ten US airmen 75 years after the crash that killed them.
Tony Foulds, 82, watches from Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, as warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast tribute to ten US airmen 75 years after he witnessed the crash that killed them.
A Battle of Britain Douglas C-47 Dakota seen from Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, as warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast tribute to ten US airmen 75 years after he witnessed the crash that killed them.
F-15s seen from Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, as warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast tribute to ten US airmen 75 years after he witnessed the crash that killed them.
A Hercules (left) and an Osprey, seen from Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, as warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast tribute to ten US airmen 75 years after he witnessed the crash that killed them.
Tony Foulds, 82, is in tears after he watches from Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, as warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast tribute to ten US airmen 75 years after he witnessed the crash that killed them.
Tony Foulds, 82, watches from Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, as warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast tribute to ten US airmen 75 years after he witnessed the crash that killed them.
A floral tribute on the memorial in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, where Tony Foulds, 82, will see his lifelong dream fulfilled today when warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast to salute the 75th anniversary of a crash which claimed the lives of 10 American airmen.
A crew photograph on the memorial in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, where Tony Foulds, 82, will see his lifelong dream fulfilled today when warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast to salute the 75th anniversary of a crash which claimed the lives of 10 American airmen.
The grave of Staff Sergeant Harry Estabrooks, who perished along with nine others when his B-17 Bomber, named 'Mi Amigo', crashed in Sheffield's Endcliffe Park in 1944, is decorated with sand from Omaha beach in Normandy before a wreath laying ceremony at the Cambridge American Cemetery in Coton, Cambridgeshire.
A woman pays her respects at the grave of Sergeant Maurice Robbins and Sergeant Charles Tuttle at the Cambridge American Cemetery in Coton, Cambridgeshire, who perished along with eight others when their B-17 Bomber, named 'Mi Amigo', crashed in Sheffield's Endcliffe Park in 1944.
Flowers on the nameplates on the memorial in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, where Tony Foulds, 82, will see his lifelong dream fulfilled today when warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast to salute the 75th anniversary of a crash which claimed the lives of 10 American airmen.
A crew photograph on the memorial in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, where Tony Foulds, 82, will see his lifelong dream fulfilled today when warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast to salute the 75th anniversary of a crash which claimed the lives of 10 American airmen.
Tony Foulds, 82, waits in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, to see his lifelong dream fulfilled today when warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast over the memorial to salute the 75th anniversary of a crash which claimed the lives of 10 American airmen.
Tony Foulds, 82, waits in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, to see his lifelong dream fulfilled today when warplanes from Britain and the United States stage a flypast over the memorial to salute the 75th anniversary of a crash which claimed the lives of 10 American airmen.
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After a chance meeting with BBC Breakfast presented Dan Walker as he walked his dog, a social media campaign began to hold a special flypast to remember the men on the 75th anniversary of the crash.

The dream came true on Friday as thousands of people gathered in the part with Mr Foulds to watch the impressive flypast, which included F-15E Strike Eagles from the US Air Force and a Typhoon from the RAF.

The pensioner, who broke down in tears after the names of the dead men were read out at the memorial, said of the airmen: "If it hadn't been for them, I wouldn't be here with my family."

"It's more than bravery, what they did. They saved me, and I mean saved me."

Mr Foulds thanked the crowd for coming and joked that he would like to receive £10 from all of them.

In the days before the flypast, he was also able to meet the families of the airmen that lost their lives as the plane returned from a bombing raid 75 years ago, describing them as "lovely, lovely people".

The phrases '#TonyGotAFlypast' and '#RememberTheTen' were top trends on Twitter in the aftermath of the event, which was backed by Mr Walker.

Speaking from Tanzania as he prepares to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief, the BBC presenter told Mr Foulds: "The last six weeks have been remarkable from my point of view.

"From you and I meeting on a dog walk in the park in the first week of January to me asking how you were – that's how it all started – you telling me this unbelievable story and saying you'd love a flypast for the 75th anniversary, and here we are now.

"I know you jokingly asked everybody for a tenner who are there at the park today, but it's not about the money, it's never been about you.

"Tony, it's always been about those 10 men who you think saved your life 75 years ago."

Mr Foulds responded: "Well I know they saved my life, I didn't just think it. If it hadn't have been for them, I wouldn't be here with my family."

Taking to Twitter after the flypast, Dan Walker said: "I knew Sheffield wouldn't let us down. Wow!

"This is the most incredible thing I have ever been involved in."

He later added: "The next step is getting Tony an honour from the Queen. Please retweet & like this and I'll use this in the submission."

- This article originally appeared on Yahoo UK

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