|THE VICTORIA CROSS AWARDED TO LIEUTENANT COMMANDER EUGENE ESMONDE, 825 SQUADRON, FLEET AIR ARM, HAS BEEN LOANED TO THE IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM|
|1 November 2007|
( select to enlarge )
|Medal entitlement of Lieutenant Commander Eugene Esmonde
Royal Navy ( 825 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm )
|The Victoria Cross awarded to Lieutenant Commander Eugene Esmonde, 825 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, a Second World War award, has been loaned to the Imperial War Museum in London.
For the award of the Victoria Cross.
[ London Gazette, 3 March 1942 ], Straits of Dover, English Channel, 12 February 1942, Lieutenant Commander Eugene Kingsmill Esmonde, Royal Navy ( 825 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm ).
On the morning of Thursday, 12th February, 1942, Lieutenant-Commander Esmonde, in command of a Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm, was told that the German Battle-Cruisers 'Scharnhorst' and 'Gneisenau' and the Cruiser 'Prinz Eugen', strongly escorted by some thirty surface craft, were entering the Straits of Dover, and that his Squadron must attack before they reached the sand-banks North East of Calais. Lieutenant-Commander Esmonde knew well that his enterprise was desperate.
All six Fairey Swordfish aircraft were shot down. Five survivors were fished out of the Channel waters and only one of these men was unwounded. Four of them were awarded the DSO, the other the CGM. About seven weeks later Eugene Esmonde's body, still in his lifejacket, was washed ashore in the Thames Estuary near the River Medway. Esmonde was buried at Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham, Kent, on the 30th April 1942.
[ London Gazette, 12 September 1941 ], To be a Companion to the Distinguished Service Order ( DSO ), Lieutenant Commander Eugene Kingsmill Esmonde, Royal Navy, ( HMS 'Victorious' )
Awards to Officers and Men of HM Aircraft-Carriers and Naval Air Stations for gallantry, daring and skill in operations in which the German Battleship Bismark was destroyed.
Iain Stewart, 1 November 2007