Pierre Clostermann earned his pilot’s licence in 1937, aged just sixteen. Studying engineering in the USA when France fell in 1940, he made his way to Britain and joined the RAF. After the war he saw active service again in 1956-7 with the French air force in Algeria, eventually becoming France’s most highly decorated citizen. He was married, with three sons. He died in 2006.
‘As a fighter pilot and junior commander with a record of 420 operational sorties, first in the famous “Alsace” Squadron of the Free French Air Force in Great Britain, then with the Royal Air Force Units, Pierre Clostermann was second to none.’ A. M. Sir John Slessor CCB DSO MC Chief of the Air Staff
‘This officer has displayed outstanding courage and devotion to duty through his operational career in the course of which he has destroyed at least 11 enemy aircraft and damaged other military objectives.’ Citation made by Air Ministry on 26 August 1944
‘Since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) this officer has participated in 70 new operational missions during the course of which he has destroyed a further 12 enemy aircraft. Throughout Lieutenant Clostermann has displayed outstanding courage and ability and has proved to be an inspiration to all.’ To FAF from Air Ministry, 28 May 1945