Saturday, 25 February 2012

The Battle of Filey Bay

The occasion of my friends in Filey selling their house on Friday has prompted this post about the Battle of Filey Bay, also known as the Battle of Flamborough Head, a naval engagement that saw Britain lose a battle and then go on to lose the war (as I paraphrased it when setting a quiz question).

The engagement took part during the American War of Independence (or the American Revolution if you prefer). John Paul Jones had been in France buying arms and was given a ship, the Duc de Duras, that he re-named the Bonhomme Richard.

He was sailing up the coast of Britain when he encountered two Royal Navy ships, HMS Countess of Scarborough and HMS Serapis. In the ensuing battle the Bonhomme Richard and the Serapis became entangled and finally Jones managed to board the Serapis. The Bonhomme Richard sank and Jones escaped in the British ship. The actual wreck of Jones’ ship has never been located.

The name Bonhomme Richard is still remembered in Filey today as it is the name of a pub just off the sea front.