The Royal Australian Navy celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the arrival into Sydney of its first submarines, HMA Ships AE1 and AE2 on Saturday with a commemorative event at the Navy Heritage Centre in Sydney.
With the first surface ships arriving in Australia on 4 October 1913, the arrival of AE1 and AE2 on 24 May 1914 completed the Royal Australian Navy’s original fleet.
“100 years ago today, that the Royal Australian Navy’s first two submarines – AE1 and AE2 – arrived into Sydney Harbour to much fanfare,” said Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, speaking at the event.
“They, too, were far from their home having made the long journey from Scotland to Sydney – at the time, the longest journey ever undertaken by a submarine,” he said.
AE2 achieved remarkable things—the determined efforts of Rear Admiral Peter Briggs means we now know exactly where AE2 is, and the Australian and Turkish Governments are working together to protect her, and her remarkable story as the only Allied ship to successfully penetrate the Dardanelles in April 1915.
AE1 was lost without a trace near Rabaul on 14 September 1914, which was the first loss for the Royal Australian Navy and the first Allied submarine loss.
AE2 was lost in combat on 30 April 1915 during the Gallipoli Campaign, having become the first Allied submarine to penetrate the Dardanelles and ‘run amok’ in the Sea of Marmara.