His short life was not easy: at the age of four he lost his father, who belonged to the dynasty of counts, and his mother took all the cares in upbringing. During his entire pilot career, he suffered 15 accidents, was seriously injured several times while on the verge of death. However, despite all this, Exupery could leave his mark on history not only as an excellent pilot, but also as a writer who gave the world, for example, the “Little Prince”.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born in the French city of Lyon to Count Jean-Marc Saint-Exupery, who was an insurance inspector, and his wife, Marie Bouaé de Foncolomb. The family came from the old kind of Perigord nobles.
First, the future writer studied in Mansa, in the Jesuit College of St. Croix. After that - in Sweden in Friborg in a Catholic guesthouse. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in the department of architecture. In October 1919 he enrolled as a volunteer at the National High School of Fine Arts in the department of architecture.
1921 was the turning point in his fate - then he was drafted into the army in France. At first he was assigned to a work team at repair shops, but he soon managed to pass an exam for a civilian pilot.
In January 1923, the first plane crash occurred to him, he received a head injury. After Exupery moved to Paris, where he indulged in writing works. However, in this field he initially had no success and was forced to take on any job: selling cars, was a seller in a bookstore.
Only in 1926, Exupery found his vocation - became the pilot of Aeropostal, which delivered mail to the northern coast of Africa.
On October 19, 1926, he was appointed head of the Cap Jubi intermediate station, at the very edge of the Sahara. Here he writes his first work - "Southern Postal". In March 1929, Saint-Exupery returned to France, where he entered the highest aviation courses of the navy in Brest. Soon the publishing house of Gallimara published the novel “Southern Post”, and Exupery leaves for South America.
In 1930, Saint-Exupéry was made a holder of the Order of the Legion of Honor for his contribution to the development of civil aviation. In the same year, Saint-Exupéry wrote The Night Flight and met his future wife Consuelo from El Salvador.
In the spring of 1935, Antoine became a correspondent for the newspaper Paris-Suar. He was sent on a business trip to the USSR. After the trip, Antoine wrote and published the essay "Crime and Punishment in the Face of Soviet Justice." This work was the first Western publication in which the author attempted to comprehend and understand the strict regime of Stalin.
Soon Saint-Exupery becomes the owner of his own aircraft, the S. 630 Simun, and on December 29, 1935, he attempts to set a record for the flight Paris-Saigon, but suffers an accident in the Libyan desert, barely avoiding death.
In January 1938, Exupery went to New York. Here he proceeds to work on the book "Planet of the People." February 15, he begins the flight New York - Tierra del Fuego, but suffers a serious accident in Guatemala, after which he regains his health for a long time, first in New York and then in France.
During World War II, Saint-Exupery made several combat sorties on the Block-174 aircraft, performing aerial photography missions, and was presented to the Military Cross award. In June 1941, after the defeat of France, he moved to his sister in an unoccupied part of the country, and later left for the United States. He lived in New York, where, among other things, he wrote his most famous book, The Little Prince.
On July 31, 1944, Saint-Exupery departed from the Borgo airfield on the island of Corsica on a reconnaissance flight and did not return. For a long time nothing was known about his death, and they thought that he had crashed in the Alps. And only in 1998, one fisherman discovered a bracelet in the sea near Marseille.
The bracelet of Saint-Exupery, found by a fisherman near Marseille
In May 2000, diver Luke Vanrel said that at a 70-meter depth, he discovered fragments of an aircraft, possibly belonging to Saint-Exupéry. The remains of the aircraft were scattered on a strip length of a kilometer and a width of 400 meters.
Monument to Antoine de Saint-Exupery in Tarfay
In 2008, the German Luftwaffe veteran, 86-year-old Horst Rippert, said that it was he who, in his Messerschmitt Me-109 fighter, shot down Antoine de Saint-Exupery. According to Ripper, he confessed in order to clear the name of Saint-Exupéry from charges of desertion or suicide. According to him, he would not shoot if he knew who was at the helm of the enemy plane. However, the pilots who served with Rippert doubt the veracity of his words.
The French Air and Space Museum is the oldest aviation museum in the world.
The now raised wreckage of the Exupery aircraft is in the Museum of Aviation and Cosmonautics at Le Bourget.