On the 22nd of February 1944 an American B17 Flying Fortress bomber crash landed in a Sheffield park. The ten airmen on board were killed. The plane was part of the huge American Eighth Airforce operation. During the 1008 days that the 8th took part in the war 45,000 of their men were killed or injured and 5000 planes were lost. The average life expectancy for the crew of a B17 was fifteen missions. The Mi Amigo, as the plane was nicknamed, was based at Chelveston in Northamptonshire. In February 1944 it was involved in high level daylight bombing raids against strategic targets. Vast quantities of high explosive were dropped yet despite the efforts of the bombardiers only 14% of the bombs landed within 1000 feet of their targets. These missions were extremely dangerous for the airmen and losses were high. On the worst day of the campaign 68 Flying Fortresses, each with a crew of ten were lost. The Mi Amigo was damaged by enemy fire and finally failed over Sheffield. Without radio contact the pilot's intentions will never be known but he probably saw the park as a possible last chance to land safely. The plane overshot the open space where children were playing and crashed into the adjoining woods. A ferocious fire broke out and attempts to rescue the crew were futile. The pilot Lt. John C. Krieghauser was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the citation for which praises him for avoiding the houses which lay in his path. The site of the crash is marked by a small memorial which was erected at the time of the 25th anniversary of the crash. I became interested in the event after chancing upon this memorial. My work surrounding this subject was shown at the Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield to coincide with the 50th anniversary. A limited edition pack of cards was a further development, serving its own way as an alternative memorial.
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