Honour - 'Bonhomme Richard' 1779

Date - 23-September
Type - Single Ship or Boat Service Actions
Conflict - American War of Independence; 1776-83

Description The action took place off Flamborough Head in the North Sea.

An American Squadron comprising the USS Bonhomme Richard, Alliance and Pallas, plus smaller vessels encountered a 44-ship, British Baltic convoy, escorted by HMS Serapis and a sloop HMS Countess of Scarborough. These two ships successfully covered the convoy's escape to the north. The USS Pallas captured HMS Countess of Scarborough while USS Alliance took little part in the action.

Serapis and Bonhomme Richard engaged each other closely for about 2 hours, by which time the American ship had only two working guns and was near defeat. Then Serapis suffered an explosion and struck her colours having lost 128 killed and wounded. The Pallas suffered 150 casualties.

The Bonhomme Richard was so badly damaged she sank two days later. Her captain and crew transferred to Serapis and made it to Texel.

Having lost his ship the Captain of Serapis, Richard Pearson was later court martialled, cleared and Knighted.


HM Ships
This page last edited - 25 July, 2012.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.