I'm working on a signage design for a display of uniforms to commemorate the anniversary of the end of WWII next year here at the Cradle of Aviation. I'm putting together a number of little timeline biographies (inspired by the ones I saw at the Military History Museum in Dresden, Germany.) to go with each of the uniforms. The uniforms we will be getting are 1 Soviet, 1 Japanese, 1 German, 3 British (bomber command, fighter pilot, and eagle squadron fighter pilot) 3 American ( USAAF fighter and bomber, and USN fighter) and 1 WASP. Each of these write ups would be a timeline of maybe 10-20 bullet points.
I'm looking for suggestions of what pilots to do write ups of, especially for the Japanese and British. I am not particularly looking for the best pilots or the most heroic, I want a broad variety of individuals, with either interesting careers during the war, or points of interest in life after. I've made prototype designs of signs for Anna Yegorova and Alexander Pokryshkin for the USSR, and have ideas for other nations. For Germany I am considering Erich Hartmann (being the highest scoring fighter pilot in history worth mention of course, and his captivity in the USSR and career with the Bundesluftwaffe are intersting touchstones as well) and perhaps Joseph Beuys, if I can find enough info about his wartime career. The American fighter pilots will almost certainly be Francis Gabreski (with our museum being dedicated to aviation on long island, he is a good choice) and likely one of the Tuskegee pilots. Otherwise I'm open to suggestions of those with interesting stories, especially for the Japanese, as I am not to familiar with Japanese pilots.