Bonhomme Richard Expedition

image of divers in a cage being lowered into the ocean
A deep water dive launch from
Photo: Alexis Catsambis, July 2011

July 2011 - The NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) conducting its most recent remote-sensing survey expedition in the North Sea in search of one of the Navy's most prized historic vessels, Bonhomme Richard (BHR). Captained by the legendary John Paul Jones during the Revolutionary War, BHR was one of the US Navy's first commissioned fighting ships and engaged HMS Serapis at the Battle of Flamborough Head. Although defeating Serapis, BHR was irreparably crippled and, after Jones safely transferred all men and supplies to the captured Serapis, sank nearly 36 hours later in an unknown location. UAB, in partnership with the Ocean Technology Foundation, Naval Oceanographic Office, SUPSALV, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, and the US Naval Academy, is endeavoring to discover and document the remains of the vessel.

Working aboard USNS Grasp, amid high seas and unpredictable weather, the team continues to make progress and has thus far investigated several possible archaeological targets utilizing cutting-edge remote-sensing technology and the expertise of Navy divers. With each survey, the team is moving steadily closer to discovering the final resting place of Bonhomme Richard.

Stay tuned for more field updates routinely posted on the Naval History Blog.

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