Hero of Free France
Author of a very successful book, "Le Grand Cirque" (The Big Show), Pierre Clostermann died on Wednesday, 22 March 2006 in Montesquieu-des-Albères. He was 85.
Born on 28 February 1921 in Curitiba, Brazil, son of a diplomat, Pierre Clostermann joined the Free French in England on 18 March 1942 and served in the "Alsace" fighter group.
Captain at the end of the war, he added up over 2,000 flying hours, nearly 600 battle flights, 33 recorded victories and 5 probable victories, as well as a large amount of material destruction: 225 lorries, 72 locomotives, 5 tanks, 2 motor torpedo boats.
Named “Companion of the Liberation” on 21 January 1946, he began a career in politics. He was re-elected 8 times, notably in the Bas-Rhin department. In 1951, he was elected MP for the Marne, then MP for the Seine (1956-1958), MP for the Seine-et-Oise (1962-1967) and for the Yvelines (1967-1969).
Promoted commander, Clostermann served in Algeria where he distinguished himself as lieutenant colonel of the French Air Force (1956-1957). He served as Vice President of the Commission of National Defence and the Armed Forces in the French National Assembly between 1963 and 1969.
Alongside his career as an engineer, he undertook a career as a successful author, notably telling the story of his experiences in World War II in “Le Grand Cirque” (The Big Show), in 1948, a book that sold over 3,000,000 copies.