Copyright © Lakewood 4th of July Parade Committee
The Serapis Flag:
He was born John Paul in Scotland in 1747 and went to sea when he was only twelve years old. By the time he arrived in Philadelphia in 1775 as an experienced sea captain, he had changed his name to John Paul Jones.
After conducting sea raids on the coast of Britain, he took command in 1779 of a rebuilt French merchant ship, renamed the U.S.S.Bonhomme Richard to honor Benjamin Franklin. On September 23, 1779, Jones engaged the British frigate Serapis in the North Sea, daringly sailing in close, lashing his vessel to the British ship, and fighting the battle at point-blank range. During the fight two of his cannon burst, and the British captain asked Jones if he was ready to surrender. Replied Jones: "Sir, I have not yet begun to fight." The American crew finally boarded the Serapis after the British had struck her colors, and from the deck of the Serapis they watched the U.S.S.Bonhomme Richard sink into the North Sea.