Mystery solved, apparently. From the Telegraph (“German pilot shot down Little Prince author,” by Henry Samuel):
A former German World War II fighter pilot has claimed he shot down French literary hero Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince, 63 years after the event.
However, Horst Rippert, 88, said he would have held his fire on July 31, 1944, had he known his victim was one of his favourite authors.
“If I had known it was Saint-Exupéry I would never have shot him down,” said Mr Rippert.