The name the Bonhomme Richard is well-known in Filey. In 1779 the American War of Independence arrived in Filey Bay, when the USS Bonhomme Richard, captained by John Paul Jones, fought the Royal Navy in a battle that is viewed as the birth of the United States Navy.
A ship named the USS Bonhomme Richard serves in the United States Navy to this day. She is an amphibious assault ship and is usually based in San Diego. There were tentative plans for the ship to one day visit Filey Bay. The crew of the USS Bonhomme Richard have been enthusiastic followers of the hunt for the wreck of the 1779 Bonhomme Richard which sank in our Bay following the historic battle.
Therefore, the news that the USS Bonhomme Richard has suffered a serious fire will be met with concern in Filey. We may be thousands of miles away, but we do feel a bond with the USS Bonhomme Richard and its crew.
The ship was undergoing a maintenance period in her home port of San Diego when an internal explosion caused a fire to brake out on Sunday morning. Around 160 people were on board the ship at the time of the explosion and fire. Thankfully all the crew and civilian contractors on board have been accounted for. But, according to US Navy’s official website, seventeen sailors and four civilians suffered non-life threatening injuries. The majority are thought to be suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.
Latest reports state that the fire is still burning. In the longer term there has to be some doubt as to whether the ship will be salvageable, but for the moment everyone in Filey will be thankful that no lives were lost in the incident and we send our thoughts and prayers to our friends on the USS Bonhomme Richard.