French RAF Ace Dead...

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by Pisis, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. Pisis

    Pisis Active Member

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    A former Free French member of the WWII Royal Air Force, Pierre Clostermann, a top scoring French ace, has passed away on 22nd March 2006.

    Pierre Clostermann, DFC and bar (February 28, 1921 - March 22, 2006 [1]) was a French pilot, flying ace, author, engineer, politician, and sport fisherman.

    Born in Brazil and a graduate of Ryan College in Los Angeles, California, Clostermann joined the Free French Air Force in Britain in 1942. He scored his first two victories on July 27, 1943, destroying two Focke-Wulf Fw 190 over France, while flying a Supermarine Spitfire in No. 341 Free French "Alsace" Squadron. Exactly one month later, he fell under a cloud at "Alsace" due to his role in the death in action of 341 Squadron's leader, Commandant (Squadron Leader) René Mouchotte, one of Free France's most famous aviators. Because Clostermann was Mouchotte's wingman that day and was as such tasked with covering his leader at all times, he was blamed by his wing commander, Battle of Britain hero Alan Deere, for losing contact with Mouchotte during the engagement in which he was shot down.

    Clostermann was reassigned in October 1943 to No. 602 Squadron RAF where his career rebounded successfully. He flew a variety of missions including fighter sweeps, bomber escorts, high-altitude interdiction over the Royal Navy's Scapa Flow base, and strafing or dive-bombing attacks on V-1 launch sites on the French coast. Clostermann served through D-Day and was one of the first Free French pilots to land on French soil on a temporary landing strip in Normandy on June 18, 1944, four years to the day after Charles de Gaulle's famous radio address calling the French to resistance. Clostermann was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross shortly afterwards, then was ordered off active duty on medical grounds and was reassigned to French Air Force Headquarters.

    In December 1944, yearning for action, Clostermann returned to the front lines on secondment to the RAF against the formal orders of Charles de Gaulle, who wanted to preserve Clostermann as a living role model for newly liberated France. He flew the new Hawker Tempest Mk V with No. 274 Squadron RAF in fighter sweeps, airfield attacks, "rat scramble" interceptions of Messerschmitt 262 jet fighters, and rail interdiction missions over northern Germany. On March 24, 1945, Clostermann was wounded in the leg by German flak and was hospitalized for one week after belly-landing his badly damaged aircraft. From April 8, he became the leader of No. 3 Squadron RAF, and on April 27, the provisional commander of No. 122 Wing RAF. Clostermann participated in the RAF attack on the "Cap Arcona" on May 3, 1945.[2] He was awarded a Bar to his DFC for his successful tour of duty. However, he was not awarded the Distinguished Service Order, as wrongly stated in most references. Clostermann continued as Wing Commander Flying, 122 Wing, until he left the military altogether on July 27, 1945.

    In 432 sorties Pierre Clostermann was credited officially with 23 victories (most of them against fighters) and 5 probables. He also destroyed 225 trucks, 72 locomotives, 5 tanks and 2 torpedo boats. Many references credit him with 29 to 33 victories. These probably include his "ground" kills, which were not recognised by the RAF. However, recent, more detailed analysis of his combat reports and squadron accounts indicate his true score was 11 destroyed , with possibly another 7 , for a total around 15 to 18.

    On 6 June 2004 a road in Longues-sur-mer, near the place in Normandy where he had landed his Spitfire sixty years ago on temporary airstrip B11, was named after Clostermann in his presence.

    Clostermann wrote a very successful book, The Big Show (Le Grand Cirque), on his experiences in the war. William Faulkner commented that this is the finest aviation book to come out of World War II. The book was reprinted in both paperback and hardcover editions in 2004. Another, somewhat less known aviation book by Clostermann is Flames in the Sky (Feu du Ciel) (1957), an astonishing collection of heroic air combat exploits from both Allied and Axis sides. Some stories have proved to be inaccurate, but as a piece of literature this little book too is a masterpiece.

    After the war, Clostermann continued his career as an engineer, participating in the creation of Reims-Aviation, acting as a representative for Cessna, and working for Renault. In parallel, Clostermann had a successful political career, serving eight terms as a député (Member of Parliament) in the French National Assembly between 1946 and 1969. He also briefly re-enlisted in the Armée de l'Air in 1956-57 to fly ground attack missions during the Algerian War.

    During the 1982 Falklands War between Argentina and the UK, Clostermann apparently praised Argentine pilots for their courage, perhaps as a result of personal ties formed while Argentinian Air Force pilots were being trained in France in the 1970s. As a result of this perceived "betrayal" of the RAF, Clostermann attracted much Anglo-Saxon antipathy. He also attracted controversy in France for his vehement anti-war stance in the run-up to the 1991 Gulf War.

    Clostermann was also a sport fisherman of international repute.

    Medals and honours

    * Reserve colonel in the French Air Force
    * Grand-Croix of the French Légion d'Honneur, the order's highest rank
    * Compagnon de la Libération
    * Médaille Militaire
    * Croix de Guerre 1939-45 with 19 palmes (the most)
    * Croix de la Valeur Militaire with 2 citations
    * Distinguished Flying Cross with bar
    * Silver Star
    * Air Medal


    source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Clostermann


    Pierre Clostermann was credited officially with 23 victories (most of them against fighters) and 5 probables. He also destroyed 225 trucks, 72 locomotives, 5 tanks and 2 torpedo boats. Many references credit him with 29 to 33 victories. These probably include his "ground" kills, which were not recognised by the RAF. However, recent, more detailed analysis of his combat reports and squadron accounts indicate his true score was around 15 to 19.
     
  2. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    this's the third topic saying this.........
     
  3. Pisis

    Pisis Active Member

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    ah, i didn't see it... my fault.
     
  4. kiwimac

    kiwimac Active Member

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    RIP Pierre.

    Kiwimac
     
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