Thursday, March 09, 2017

Quote of the day 9th March 2017

As he actually attacked Whitehaven, it is not often that one quotes John Paul Jones in West Cumbria.

However, following on from the Clinical Commissioning Group's decisions about West Cumberland Hospital yesterday, the only possible response from those of us who want to see consultant-led maternity and children's services retained at WCH on a permanent basis is to respond with the words which American naval commander John Paul Jones is supposed to have used during the Battle of Flamborough Head in 1799 during the War of American Independence.

Asked if he was surrendering, Jones is supposed to have replied,

Historical Note.

In the 18th century, the symbol of surrender during a naval battle was to haul down your country's flag (or colours) which was referred to as striking the colours: a ship which had done so was said to have "struck."

One version of the story has it that the flag on John Paul Jones' ship, the Bonhomme Richard, was shot away by Royal Navy gunfire, and the British commander thought that Jones might be surrendering and asked if he was, receiving the above reply.

Another account records that in the early stages of the battle, in which the British frigate HMS Serapis was escorting a British convoy that Jones wanted to attack, the Royal Navy ship placed herself between the American attacker and the convoy.

While the two vessels were attempting to outmanouver each other they collided, with Bonhomme Richard ramming the stern of HMS Serapis. According to this version Captain Pearson of the Serapis called out "Has your ship struck?" at this point as a joke, and Jones responded "I have not yet begun to fight." 

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