After the flight (18 April) Flt Lt Clostermann lights a cigarette alongside

NV994 JF-E. No name or scoreboard evident.

‘JF-E’ markings

Identification of ‘JF-E’ as NV994 from

mid-April through to 1 July 1945 prompted

a re-assessment of the available photos;

in particular the photo of ‘JF-E’ previously

thought to be SN222. But first a couple of

general points must be considered.

In response to an increasing number

of ‘friendly fire’ incidents over the battlefields of NW Europe, the 2nd TAF decided

to change the markings on all its combat

aircraft. The order was issued on 2nd January 1945 and decreed that all wing roundels (both above and below to the wing)

would be National Marking III (the type now

known as ‘C1’) i.e. the same as the fuselage

roundels already carried – with narrow white inner ring and a narrow yellow outer ring.

At the same time all remaining ‘invasion’

stripes were to be removed, the rear fuselage ‘Sky’ bands were over-painted with camouflage and the ‘Sky’ spinners were painted ‘Night’ (black). Some units had already

adopted coloured spinners and these too

had to be painted ‘Night’. These markings

had been applied to all 2nd TAF aircraft by

5 February 1945 and were strictly enforced

until the end of hostilities.

Tempests received their camouflage paint

at the Hawker factory before delivery to the

Two views of NV994 JF-E from Clostermann’s personal collection. Probably

dated May or June 1945 it appears to have acquired it’s famous red spinner

but there is still no sign of the name or scoreboard. These photos were previously thought to show SN222 (see text). In the front view the Tempests in

the background are all displaying 3 Squadron’s badge on the fin.

RAF. The upper surface pattern was created

using rubber mats cut to the shape of the

prescribed camouflage pattern; the mats

were not placed with absolute precision –

the position could vary by a few inches in

any direction – which means that it is often

possible to identify specific aircraft by the

small variations in their camouflage. This

detail has helped to confirm that the photographs reproduced here all feature NV994.

It can be seen from the photos that JF-E/

NV994 wore this standard 2nd TAF scheme

whilst on operations, the red spinner, scoreboard, and name ‘Le Grand Charles’ (to

honour General Charles De Gaulle) were all

added post war. There is no indication that

the ‘Cross of Lorraine’ was carried on this


Flt Lt Clostermann with NV994 JF-E, now carrying it’s famous name and scoreboard. Note how the positioning of the ‘E’ (especially the line of rivets through

the central arm) and the camouflage pattern match the previous photos.

There are two photos, see below, which

show Clostermann’s ‘scoreboard’ and you

can see that the score has increased between the two photos. The reason for this

is that Clostermann was able to ascertain,

post war, that two of his claims, previously

credited as ‘damaged’ were in fact destroyed and four more had been damaged. It has

also been possible to account for the difference between the scoreboard and the RAF

record of his claims is largely due to him

including aircraft destroyed on the ground

in his score (this was USAAF practice but not


No photos have come to light that confirm NV994 carried the 3 Squadron badge

on the fin, it is however, almost certain. It

is known that the badge was applied to the

squadron’s Tempests soon after hostilities

The revised scoreboard is evident in this photo of Clostermann in the cockpit of NV994 JF-E, taken at Kastrup in late June 1945, shortly before the

accident which required its return to the UK for repair. Note that SN221

JF-Z, in the background has 3 Squadron’s cockatrice (a mythical beast)

and obelisk badge on the fin.

ceased and is visible in several photos of

their Tempests at that time.

On 1 July 1945 3 Squadron was part of 122

Wing at Kastrup, Denmark, and took part

in a large display organised for the Danish

people. Afterwards most of the Tempests

landed at nearby Vaerlöse but Clostermann

had an accident in NV994. The aircraft was

declared ‘Category B’ which meant it had to

be returned to Hawker for repair. It was later seen at the Hawker factory, while awaiting attention, still carrying it’s ‘JF-E’ codes.

Flt Lt Clostermann would receive a new

‘JF-E’, collecting it from 83 GSU at RAF

Dunsfold six days after his accident, namely NV724. With a scoreboard similar to

the final one on NV994, it was not named

‘Le Grand Charles’, but carried a Cross of

Lorraine on the radiator fairing (possibly

both sides?) and the 3 Squadron badge on

the fin. The spinner appears to have been

gloss black.

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