What would the years since the war been like? The time as a civilian engineer. Years as a member of the French Parliament. The years of being the most popular author – the book has sold 3 million copies have been sold and going strong. Even with the accolades, the medals, a coat of honours and other things but nothing can live up to the privilege of flying in the skies with life and death ever-present. There is nothing that can compare to the thrill of flying off towards the blue sky and fighting the adversaries. Only you along with them.And on the 22nd March, we commemorate thirteen years since the passing of France’s most famous air-ace, Pierre Clostermann (1921-2006).
Clostermann was born in Brazil to a family of diplomats. As his father was a diplomat, when the Second World war broke out and he was not a part of the French air force. Maybe because he’d only a professional pilot at the time in LA was a reason for them to stay away. However, when France collapsed and he was embraced without hesitation into the RAF as a member of the Free French. He became a cult.
It was a challenge to even shoot down one plane of an enemy. Many pilots perished before even a single shot. However, not Clostermann. He scored his two first kills on only one day, the 27th June 1943. Successes in the future followed. In the final days in the conflict, he had claimed 33 deaths, however, this number has been the subject of a lot of discussion. No matter what, and even if his numbers were lower the fact is that he was a sensation. He was a victor.
He was so excellent that the French requested him to return and he was sent to a boring HQ position. He could not bear it and returned into the RAF and actively serving. It was beginning to appear like he was borrowed time and at the end of his peak. He suffered a terrible leg injury. He was forced to leave when a stunt went badly. It is possible that he will not make it through the conflict. He did, and a lot of public praise followed. However, it was not like being in the air. The memoir of his, The Great Show, was hailed by William Faulkner as the finest aviation-related book that came out of the war. It is. In one instant we witness Clostermann crying in his cockpit to find his friends who have gone missing. On the other hand, he’s living his life to the fullest when he is on leave. The book is a humbling insight into the everyday life (often brief) of a fighter pilot. Friends are made and disappear. Heartbreak is normal, and the pilot continues to fly the skies in a staggering 432 times. He is lucky and can make it through.
As he bids farewell for the conflict and excitement from it thinks”I was that morning gone to say goodbye to Broadhurst as well as the RAF. I’d made a point of visiting HQ in Schleswig in my “Grand Charles’. When I returned I had taken him up high in the clear summer sky since it was in that place where I was able to officially depart. We climbed together for the final time, straight to the sun. We looped onceor maybe twice; we then threw in some slow, precise rolls to allow me to remove in my fingers the gentle vibrations of his and gentle wings.’ He was complicated. The war caused scars that no one else was able to discern. He was adamant about his experiences during the Gulf War and war in general. The aging process had altered his views regarding certain issues, maybe. Pierre Clostermann was a genuine hero. Maybe we could spend a few minutes expressing an oblique thanks to someone who conquered the skies, but was difficult to return to the earth.