2LT John W. Humphrey

2LT John W. Humphrey

Birth
Stark County, Illinois, USA
Death 22 Feb 1944 (aged 23)
Sheffield, Metropolitan Borough of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
Burial Wyoming, Stark County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 31217810 · View Source
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Son of Marion G. & Cecilia (Kinsella) Humphrey.

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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.

1st Lt John Glennon Krieghauser Pilot
2nd Lt Lyle J Curtis Co-pilot
2nd Lt John W Humphrey Navigator
2nd Lt Melchor Hernandez Bombardier
S/Sgt Robert E Mayfield Radio Operator
S/Sgt Harry W Estabrooks Engineer / Top Turret Gunner
Sgt Charles H Tuttle Ball-Turret Gunner
Sgt Maurice D Robbins Tail Gunner
Sgt Vito R Ambrosio Right Waist Gunner
Sgt George M Williams Left Waist Gunner

On 22 Feb 2019, on the 75th anniversary of this tragic Second World War crash of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress 42-31322 (‘Mi Amigo’) a flypast over Endcliffe Park took place, with a huge crowd of cheering onlookers, to honour the ten American airmen who lost their lives. The flypast involved military aircraft from both Britain and the United States, which set off from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk - home to the largest US Air Force base in the UK.

There is a memorial in Sheffield’s Endcliffe Park, where the Fortess crashed, to commemorate the ten American aircrew who perished in that crash on 22 Feb 1944. The memorial has always been respectfully tended by a local citizen who, as an eight-year-old boy, witnessed the aircraft come down into some trees in order to avoid a group of children playing in the park. It was this British citizen who’d always dreamed that one day a military fly-past might take place in order to recognize the service and the sacrifice of the ten young Americans—on Thursday his ‘fly-past dream’ became real.


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Illinois
2 Lieut 364 AAF Bomb Sq
World War II

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  • Maintained by: Stephen Cantrell
  • Originally Created by: Genie Queenie
  • Added: 7 Nov 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 31217810
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 2LT John W. Humphrey (17 Jul 1920–22 Feb 1944), Find a Grave Memorial no. 31217810, citing Saint Dominics Cemetery, Wyoming, Stark County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Stephen Cantrell (contributor 48212706) .