Naval Aviation Heroes

The history of Naval aviation includes four Victoria Crosses for valour in the air. Two were awarded to the Royal Naval Air Service in the First World War and two were posthumously awarded during the Second World War. Numerous other acts of conspicuous bravery and gallantry have been recognised over the past 100 years.

Lieutenant Commander Eugene Kingsmill Esmonde VC DSO

Lieutenant Commander

Lieutenant-Commander Esmonde joined the newly formed Royal Naval Air Branch in 1939 and led a key attack against the Bismarck in 1941. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his valiant attack on the German Battle Cruisers in the Channel Dash. read more

Robert Hampton “Hammy” Gray VC, DSC


Robert Hampton "Hammy" Gray VC, DSC (November 2, 1917 – August 9, 1945) was one of only two personnel in the Fleet Air Arm to receive the Victoria Cross in World War II for sinking a Japanese destroyer when his aircraft was already in flames. read more

Flight Sub Lieutenant Reginald Warneford VC

Flight Sub Lieutenant

Flight Sub Lieutenant Reginald Warneford was the first naval aviator to be awarded the Victoria Cross when, in 1915, he brought down a German Zeppelin airship in a moonlit attack read more

Richard Bell-Davies VC CB DSO AFC

Flight Lieutenant

Richard Bell-Davies was a Royal Navy officer and World War I fighter pilot who received the Victoria Cross for rescuing a fellow officer downed behind enemy lines in World War I. read more

Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown

Captain Naval Officer and Test Pilot

Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown CBE DSC AFC FRAeS Royal Navy, was one of the most celebrated aviators and test pilots in history. He flew a record 487 types of aircraft and carried out 2,407 aircraft carrier deck landings. read more