Pierre Henri Clostermann

One of the most famous French Fighter Aces of WW2, he fought with the RAF.
He wrote the book "Le Grand Cirque"  relating the details of his long fighting experience as well as those of his colleagues.

He flew Spitfires Mk Vb , VII , IX and Tempest Mk V fighting mainly against Fw190s and Me262s.

He later joined De Gaull's party after the war and became a prime minister of France.

He was the only child of French parents, born on the 28th of February 1921 in Brazil . When he was still 9 he was sent to Paris to study . It was in 1935 that he first experienced flight and immediately fell in love with aviation.  On returning to Brazil he joined a local flying club . He was instructed by a German named Karl Benitz , an already famous air acrobat. Obtaining his license in 1937 he was awarded a scholarship to the Air College of Engineers 'Ryan' in USA . He flew as a commercial pilot in San Diego California while undertaking his studies.
On outbreak of WW2 he tried to join the French air force but was considered too young. When 21, he joined the FAFL ( Forces Aériennes des Français Libres) the Free French Air Force under the British RAF in Squadron 'Alsace' commanded by another famous French fighter Rene Mouchotte . 

He was given the rank of a non commissioned officer and went under the nickname of "Clo-Clo". Transferring to a squadron of British and foreign pilots, he flew Mk V Spitfires, specialising in ground attack over occupied France.

He was grounded due to stress after two years of service where he had gained several 'kills'. Insisting a return to active duty, despite the reservations of general De Gaul he was sent to Holland where he flew the Tempest Mk V,  the top RAF fighter at that time.

By the end of the war he had claimed the following victories :

In the air he shot down :
19 FW-190
7 ME-109
2 Dornier 24
1 Fieseler 156
1 JU-252
1 JU-88
1 JU-290
1 Heinkel 111
On the ground he destroyed :
7 JU 88
6 DO-18
4 HE-177
2 Arado 323
1 JU-252
1 Blom-Voss

Add to it some 72 locomotives , 5 tanks , 1 submarine and 2 destroyers
He was awarded the DFC Distinguished Flying Cross and DSO Distinguished Service Order

The last paragraph of his book "The Great Circus" is representative of the spirit of those days and stands as 'a grand finale' of an heroic era:-

"The Circus is over. The public was satisfied . The menu was rich and not so bad , except that the lions have torn apart the tamer. 
We'll remember them again later and even when all will be forgotten , the music , the fireworks and their nice costumes , at the centre of the square the trace of the big tent will remain , until the following rain shall erase it for ever.
My friends that survived the Big Circus have , luckily , not realised it - me neither for that matter- and that will be our final reward."