Bonhomme Richard, found

“BONHOMME RICHARD” Ex ‘DUC DE DURAS’ 1779 By artist E. Tufnell NH 72802-KN

Built in 1765 for the French East India Company as an armed merchantman the 152-foot Duc de Duras was placed at the disposal of one John Paul Jones of the American Continental Navy on 4 February 1779, by King Louis XVI of France by an agreement with French shipping boss Jacques-Donatien Le Ray. Less than eight months later the 42-gun frigate, under the name Bonhomme Richard, had taken 16 British merchant ships and was in turn practically destroyed by the 44-gun fifth-rate ship HMS Serapis off Flamborough Head, Yorkshire.

The battle between Continental Ship Bonhomme Richard and HMS Serapis, 23 September 1779 Oil on canvas, 21 x 28, by Thomas Mitchell (1735-1790), signed and dated by the artist, 1780. It depicts Bonhomme Richard (center), commanded by Continental Navy Captain John Paul Jones, closely engaged with HMS Serapis, commanded by Royal Navy Captain Richard Pearson, off Flamborough Head, England. Firing at right is the Continental frigate Alliance, while at left the British sloop-or-war Countess of Scarborough is engaging the French frigate Pallas. The original painting is in the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis, Maryland. It was donated by the U.S. Naval Institute in 1949. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

John Paul Jones bids goodbye to his victorious ship, Bonhomme Richard, from the deck of the captured Serapis. Painting by Percy Moran

As for Jones, he transferred his flag to the battered and captured Serapis, which he sailed to the Netherlands and handed over to the French– who commissioned her as a privateer. Serapis was lost under a French flag off Madagascar in 1781 to a fire and her remains were discovered there in 1999.

Speaking of remains, there has been a multinational effort to find Bonhomme Richard for decades and it has finally turned up the storied wreck off the English coast.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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