Clostermann Pierre, Flight Lieutenant (DSO & DFC*)

clostermann-1

Pierre Clostermann was born on 28 February 1921 at Curitiba, Brazil, where his father worked as a French diplomat. At an age of only sixteen he aquired his pilot's licence in November 1937. He was educated in Paris and studied engineering in USA when France fell.

In 1941 he joined the Free French Forces (341 "Alsace" Squadron). The following year he was transferred to RAF and 602 Squadron, where he served in Spitfire. During this time he destroyed at least 11 enemy aircraft, 2 probable and seven damage.

On 4 March 1945 he joined No 274 Squadron and the Hawker Tempest. His first Tempest score was a Bf 109 on his second day during a "cannon test".
In the middle of March 1945 he was posted as a Flight commander to No 56 Squadron. With this unit he destroyed a Bf109 in the air. On 8 April he was transferred to No 3 Squadron as "A" Flight commander where he on 20 April scored two Fw 190D-9s'. 
Clostermann's final score in Tempest is at least 12 destroyed, 6 shared and 2 probables . He was awarded the DSO and DFC and Bar in addition to French, Belgian and American decorations.

After the war Clostermann went into politics and business, serving as Deputy in the French parliament and as aeronautics executive for Cessna and Dassault. Clostermann served briefly on operations in the Algerian war of early 1960's.

Pierre Clostermann passed away on 22 March 2006.

 

 

clostermann-2

Clostermann's Le Grand Charles, JF - E, from "4 o'clock". Actually he flew four aircraft marked JF-E with serial numbers NV994 (no 1) and NV724 (no 4). No 2 may have been SN222 and no 3 is not known.

clostermann-3

Photo autographed by Clostermann.

Note the 32 crosses: 23 black confirmed victories and 9 white probables. When this photo was taken all his victories were not definitively classified. 

 

clostermann-4

 

clostermann-5

Clostermann made his first Tempest kill in JJ-W (EJ893) on 5 March 1945.

clostermann-6

On 20 April Clostermann destroyed two Fw190s in JF-E (NV994) in one sortie.

clostermann-7

JF-E (NV724), "Le Grand Charles".

 

Clostermann's victories in Tempest

Date of Claim

Type Claimed

Aircraft Serial No.

Location of Claim

Unit

Note

5 March 1945

Bf 109

JJ-W (EJ893)

Nordhorn

274 Sqn

See note no.1

14 March 1945

Bf 109

 

Hannover

274 Sqn

See note no.2

14 March 1945

Bf 109

 

Hannover

274 Sqn

See note no.5

28 March 1945

Fi156

 

South of Munster

274 Sqn

See note no.4

28 March 1945

1/2 Ju88

 

Rheine Opstein

274 Sqn

See note no.1

2 April 1945

Fw 190D-9

US-G (NV968)

Aldhorn airfield

56 Sqn

See note no.1

5 April 1945

Ju88

 

Wunstorf

56 Sqn

See note no.1

5 April 1945

1/2 Bf109

 

Dummer Lake

56 Sqn

See note no.1

5 April 1945

1/2 Bf109

 

Dummer Lake

56 Sqn

See note no.1

20 April 1945

2 Fw 190D-9

JF-E (NV994)

Dummer Lake

3 Sqn

See note no.1

20 April 1945

1/2 Ju290

 

Skagerac

3 Sqn

See note no.2

3 May 1945

Fw 190D-9

 

Kiel

3 Sqn

See note no.1

3 May 1945

Ju252

 

Grossembrode

3 Sqn

See note no.1

3 May 1945

2 Do24

 

Fehmarn detroit

3 Sqn

See note no.1

3 May 1945

1/2 Bf109

 

Grossembrode

3 Sqn

See note no.3

3 May 1945

1/2 Bf109

 

Grossembrode

3 Sqn

See note no.3

 

 

Note 1:
Confirmed victories in Public Offical Record archives.
Note 2: 
Recorded on RAF combat report, and admited as confirmed victories with official citation by French Air Force.
Note 3: 
Shared with his 3 Sqn Australian wingman Bay Adams.
Note 4: 
Fi 156 admited by French Air Force as an air victory. In fact Clostermann´s report indicated that his attack against the Fi156 just taking off obliged the german pilot to make an emergency landing. After a first pass over the enemy aircraft, while the air crew jumped out of the "Storch", Clostermann finally destroyed this objective on another attack on the ground.
Note 5: 
Only recorded in personal logbook. Classifed as probable by French Air Force.

 

An interview with a Free Frenchman, Mr. Clostermann. By Alexandre Jaeg

 

Interview de Pierre Clostermann

 

Websites: 

The Big Show by Manuel Perales

Pierre-Henri Clostermann - Une vie pas comme les autres

 

Images:
Mike Lévellard
Phil Poffenbarger
Colour plates:
Graham Berry
Text sources:
Typhoon and Tempest Aces of World War 2 (Chris Thomas).
The Typhoon & Tempest Story (Chris Thomas & Christopher Shores)
Mike Lévellard
Manuel Perales