The Battle of Flamborough Head in Filey Bay


Local Historical Advisor   Legal Consultant    Cultural Resource Management
Dr David Pendleton.  James Hodgson Donald G Shomette

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The Yorkshire Coast has had its fair share of organisations and people searching for the elusive wreck of the Bonhomme Richard.  Here are a few of them.  

Merlin Burrows

Merlin Burrows have announced the discovery of the Bonhomme Richard in Filey Bay.  They  have been liaising with Historic England and the Receiver of Wreck over the last couple of years in regard to processing the formalities involved in the registration, protection and ongoing analysis of wreck inventory recovered by Merlin Burrows to date.

In addition to this, Merlin Burrows have presented the find and have generously donated their ongoing expertise and support to Filey and the Filey Town Council who are working with them to deliver this discovery and its educational and economic benefits to the community of Filey, the surrounding community and the broader North Yorkshire coastline.

Merlin Burrows is a UK based technological research company that has developed a proprietary system called “SATSCAN” that is capable of deep scans of both land and sea. The capability of this technology enables Merlin Burrows to find and locate anything that has been lost, forgotten or hidden worldwide.  And in thier own words, they sum up their technology:

"In layman’s terms we turn the LandSat5 and LandSat8 image data similar to that which Google used for Google Earth & Maps into x-rays. So basically, if something is there - lost, forgotten or hidden - we can find it.

Our technology and methodology is disruptive and generally unwelcome to the heritage and treasure community and so we have been largely concerned with our own (in-house) find inventory across the globe that we are adding to on a daily basis. If it is there we will find it provided we are supplied with the right target area in particular data formats.

By combining this technology, together with an intelligent and forensic approach to research, Merlin Burrows can support a multitude of applications and meet the requirements of clients that all have one thing in common, they are fed up of looking for something and they now want to find what they are looking for, quickly and in an efficient and cost effective way.

Merlin Burrows integrate Satellite Imaging with Hi-Tech Analysis using:

- Combined satellite scanning from various international sources, public & restricted

- Up-to-the-minute, scaleable, high-resolution digital imaging technology & processing.

- Our own proprietary adjustable software for 3-D pinpointing & interpretation & analysis.

- Our experience & know-how & partnered skills (– see also www.merlinburrows/com/finds)" .

Don Shomette

Don Shomette and his work is covered elsewhere in these pages, however it has to be said that there is no greater friend  to Filey than Don.  He has worked tirelessly for the benefit of the local project and for the community and has donated a substantial amount of personal resource over the years.  Don has donated a considerable amount of his resources and expertise under his organisation, Cultural Resource Management, Dunkirk, Maryland .  We can not thank Don enough for his generous and invaluable work.

Clive Cussler

Clive Cussler and his organisation NUMA have been searching in the North Sea for many years.  Originally using Bridlington as a base for his operations, he has moved to Whitby Whitby in recent times.  Not much is known about his operation other than the postings on his website, but he is known to favour an offshore location for the wreck of the Bonhomme Richard.

Ocean Technology Foundation

Another organisation known to believe the wreck to be in an offshore location. OTF with their representative Melissa Ryan and Naval archaeologist Robert Neyland have visited the Yorkshire coast employing the most sophisticated equipment available Searching off shore.  2010 saw OTF working in conjunction with the US Hydrographic Survey vessel Henson  and an element of the French NavyOTF have an excellent website in which they detail the work that they have completed to date.

Peter Reavely

No mention of organisations searching for the Bonhomme Richard would be complete by acknowledging the work completed by Peter Reavely.  Peter has devoted much of his life to detailed analytical research of the Battle of Flamborough Head and his detailed battle plans are widely referred to today. From the early days of searching offshore with the famous Welsh archaeologist Sidney Wignall to the current searches by OTF, Peter has participated in them all, mostly as a major partner.  Again, Peter advocates an offshore location for the wreck of the Bonhomme Richard.

 © Anthony Green April 2021