After the flight (18 April) Flt Lt Clostermann lights a cigarette alongside
NV994 JF-E. No name or scoreboard evident.
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