John Paul Jones and Filey Bay

Local Historical Advisor 
Michael Fearon M.Sc.
Legal Consultant
James Hodgson
 Cultural Resource Management
Donald G Shomette

 

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BENEATH THE WATERS OF TIME

A SEARCH FOR HISTORY BENEATH THE SEA

The long  search for the enigma of the Yorkshire Coast - the wreck of Commodore John Paul Jones's warship - the Bonhomme Richard.

"I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast  for I Intend to go in harm's way" - John Paul Jones 

The Bonhomme Richard

During the American War for Independence John Paul Jones commanding the Bonhomme Richard of the newly formed Continental Navy, dared to take on the might of the Royal Navy, and dared to win...

Sailing down the British coastline in September 1779 Jones encounters the Baltic Fleet and  HMS Serapis off the coast of Yorkshire.  For several hours in a deadly sea battle of classic proportions the battle unfolds with the Richard and the Serapis lashed together. At the height of the battle the Richard is on fire and starting to sink, when asked if he wishes to surrender, Jones replies with the immortal words "I have not yet begun to fight!", in a move of daring audacity Jones captures the British warship and watches as the Richard - shattered and on fire - sinks below the cold waters of the North Sea.

For many years investigators have searched the cold dark waters off the Yorkshire coast for Commodore Jones's elusive flagship, this the most sought after artefact of the American War for Independence  The discovery of the wooden wreck in Filey Bay heightened expectations that it had finally been located, but the wreck has provided more questions than answers.  All those who commit men, machines and resources to this dangerous quest continue their work in the hope of solving one of the greatest enigma's of our time, and take the opportunity to shake hands  with history.

This site has been created and donated by Tony Green 09/10/01, updated September 2010.