The Legend of Delaware

Hosted by The Filey Bay Bonhomme Richard Group

As part of our British History in America project the Filey Bay Bonhomme Richard Group came face to face with the legend of Delaware - the British warship of Dutch construction sunk of the American east coast - the HMS De Braak.  The true story of the HMS De Braak might have been borrowed from the pages of a Robert Louis Stevenson novel.  Few shipwrecks in American waters have generated more interest than that of the De Braak which was lost in1798 and she took the fortunes of many investors before she was finally recovered. Donald G Shomette has written extensively about this vessel and her loss in his award winning book The Hunt for HMS De Braak. 

De Braak was placed  in the capable hands of Charles Fithian and his team of the State of Delaware Historical and Cultural Affairs who manage a section of the hull and in excess of 20,000 artefacts.   The team have done sterling service to ensure that these excellent artefacts  have been preserved for the benefit of generations to come.

The De Braak project has similarities  with the Filey Bay Bonhomme Richard Group's own investigations into the Bonhomme Richard and representatives of the Initiative showed a keen interest in what Charles and his staff have achieved.  The De Braak was visited previously by Peter Weir and Don Shomette (expert on ships of this period) prior to Peter making the film Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World.  The artifactual evidence of the De Braak was an important contribution  in the making of the film and the Initiative have noticed striking similarities between the film's battle sequences and the written accounts of John Paul Jones's battle with the Bonhomme Richard in Filey Bay.

The Filey Bay Bonhomme Richard Group are honoured to have connections with this awe inspiring project.


In the picture on the left, Charles Fithian, Curator of Archaeology for Delaware explains the plans of HMS De Braak to members of the Group and in the picture on the right, Claudia Leister, Curator of Collections Management talks to Donald G Shomette, Marine Archaeologist of Maryland in the Artefact Room.  Included in the next pages are unique photographs of a section of the wreck in its coffer dam and a selection of the range of artefacts recovered and preserved.

Underwater archaeologist David Beard's excellent site plan of the De Braak before recovery
With reference of The Hunt for HMS De Braak by Donald G Shomette

The Filey Bay Bonhomme Richard Group are indebted to Charles, Claudia and their team for allowing them unreserved access to this valuable resource.

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