New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson has a serious interest in the Great War. This includes owning some 60, often period, WWI aircraft. In one of these, he recently discovered a rolled-up portrait of a Commonwealth flyer of the era.
Adam Savage is putting the word out about the image to try to find out if anyone can ID the aviator.
More details below.
Antoine Jean-Baptiste Marie Roger de Saint Exupéry was born to a wealthy family with ties to old France in 1900. At 21 he joined the army in a cavalry regiment but quickly transitioned to the fledging inter-war era French Air Force. After leaving the army in the mid-1920s he became a pioneering mail serve aviator and the author of many books including the Little Prince Le Petit Prince.
When war broke out in WWII and his country was overrun he joined the Free French Air force. As a reconnaissance pilot in an American made P-38 Lightening he was lost on a flight over the Mediterranean from Corsica July 31, 1944. His flight was to inspect the southern French coast for the coming allied invasion. For more than sixty years his ultimate fate has been a mystery. A drinker and branded a traitor by the Petain government in France it was thought that the author may have even committed suicide.
Now apparently it has been solved. In 1998 a fisherman found a bracelet given the author-aviator by his wife. Using that fisherman’s location a wrecked P-38 verified as being Saint-Ex’s plane was found in 2000. Now a researcher has found the man who shot down that plane, a German fighter pilot by the name of Horst Rippert. Antoine Jean-Baptiste Marie Roger de Saint Exupéry died a warrior’s death