Bonhomme Richard

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This Month in Naval History
Bonhomme Richard

Bonhomme Richard I

(Fr: T. 998; 1. 152'; b. 4.0'; 4ph. 1g'; cpl. 376; a. 28
12-pdr.S. B., 6 18 pdrs SB,, 8 9-,pdr. S. B.,)

The first Bonhomme Richard, formerly Duo de Dura~ was a frigate built In France for the East India Co., in 1765, for service between France and the Orient. She was placed at the disposal of John Paul Jones 4 Februnry 1779 by the French King and renamed Bonhomme Richard.

On 19 June 1779 Bonhomme Richard sailed from L'Orient accompanied by Alliance, Pallas, Vengeance, and CerJ with troop transports and merchant vessels under convoy to Bordeau,: and to cruise against the British in the Bay of Biscay. Forced to return to port for repair, the squadron sailed again 14 August 1779. Going northwest around the west coast of the British Isles into the North Sea and then down the east coast the squadron took 16 merchant vessels as prizes.

On 23 September i779 they encountered the Balttle Fleet of 41 sail under convoy of HMS Seraps~ (44) and Countess Scarborough (22) near Flamborough Head. After 1900 Bonhomme Richard engaged Serapis and a bit.ter engagement ensued during the next four hour~ before Serapis struck her colors. Bonhomme Richard shattered. On fire, and leaking badly defied all efforts to save her and sank at 1100 on 25 September 1779. John Paul Jones sailed the captured Serapis to Holland for repairs.

 

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