- Lieut-Commander (A)
- Date of Death:
- Royal Navy
- H.M.S. Daedalus (825 Sqdn.)
- V C, D S O
Naval Reservation. Grave 187. R.C.
GILLINGHAM (WOODLANDS) CEMETERY, KENT
- Additional Information:
- Son of John Joseph and Eily Esmonde, of Drominagh, Co. Tipperary, Irish Republic.
The following details are given in the London Gazette of 3rd March, 1942 : The King has been graciously pleased to approve the grant of the Victoria Cross, for valour and resolution in action against the enemy, to Lieut.-Comdr. Eugene Esmonde, D.S.O., R.N. On 12th February, 1942, Lieut.-Comdr. Esmonde was in command of a squadron of six Swordfish ordered to attack the German battle-cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the cruiser Prinz Eugene, which were entering the Straits of Dover strongly escorted by some thirty surface craft. After ten minutes'' flight his squadron was attacked by a strong force of enemy fighters. Touch was lost with his fighter escort and all his aircraft were damaged. Nevertheless, cool and resolute, challenging hopeless odds, he flew on towards the target through the deadly fire of the battle-cruisers and their escorts. The port wing of his aircraft was shattered, but still he led his squadron on, only to be quickly shot down. His high courage and splendid resolution will live in the traditions of the Royal Navy and remain for many generations a fine and stirring memory.