Monday, June 26, 2006


Experts seek to find famous wreck


June 22, 2006

Experts have expressed confidence that they can find the sunken wreck of the ship made famous by legendary Solway born sailor John Paul Jones next month.

The Bonhomme Richard went down in 1779 off Flamborough Head in East Yorkshire as Jones famously said: "Surrender - I have not yet begun to fight."

Several bids have been made to recover the ship captained by a man credited as the founding father of the US Navy.

Now underwater archaeology experts will use hi-tech methods to try to find it.

Dr Robert Neyland, head of the underwater archaeology unit at the US Navy Historical Centre, will head a team of six on a three-week search.

"We thought that one way to go about it would be to take the last historical information for locations of the fleet and the ship itself," he said.

"We put that together with the weather and tide information for that time period which have been recreated very well.

'Relatively deep'

"We then used modern computers to create a predictive model of where the ship went down," he added.

Dr Neyland is confident the wreck can be found despite the depth of waters involved.

"It is going to be in waters that are relatively deep - probably 150 to 200ft," he said.

"Divers are able to work in those waters - and archaeologists too."

Jones, a native of Arbigland on the Solway coast, engaged the British ship Serapis off Flamborough Head.

He captured Serapis but had to watch his own ship sink into the North Sea.

The battle on 23 September, 1779 is counted as one of the most memorable battles of the American Revolution.


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