SINKING OF THE AE2

Australian Navy (RAN) submarines AE1 and AE2, Australian War Memorial, H11559

Australian Navy (RAN) submarines AE1 and AE2, Australian War Memorial, H11559

On this day in 1915, The Brisbane Courier reported the unconfirmed sinking of the Australian submarine AE 2. A cable from the Admiralty stated:

 

'The Minister for Defence announced in the Senate to night that he had received a cable from the Admiralty stating that so far they were not in receipt of any information concerning the Turkish re- port that the Australian submarine AE2 had been sunk (Hear, hear.) He regretted that the news was not definite, but it left the hope that the submarine was safe.'

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20043473

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20043473

Known as the ‘Silent ANZAC’, AE2 was the first Allied submarine to penetrate the Dardanelles strait as part of the Gallipoli Campaign. She entered the Dardanelles at 2.30am on 25 April 1915, torpedoed the Turkish gunboat Peykisevket as she passed through the Narrows. Pursued by surface vessels, she ran aground twice, but evaded her pursuers to enter the Sea of Marmara on 26 April. Over the next four days she torpedoed Turkish ships, but without success. On 29 April AE2 met the British submarine E14, the first of several vessels intended to follow AE2 into the Sea of Marmara to effectively close it to Turkish ships bound for the Gallipoli Peninsula. As AE2 surfaced to rendezvous with E14 on 30 April, the Turkish torpedo boat Sultan Hissar opened fire, hitting it directly in the engine room. The crew had no choice but to abandon ship, and all were captured by Sultan Hissar, and became prisoners of war.

More information about the AE2 can be found at the Australian War Memorial, and the AE2 Commemorative Foundation. State Library also holds the papers of Able Seaman John Harrison Wheat, one of the crew of the AE2. His account records the construction of the submarine, her fit out and trip to Australia in company with the AE1, and the missions in which she was engaged, in particular the Dardanelles campaign. The second part of Wheat's account relates to his experiences as a prisoner of war in Turkey, and his release. We will be transcribing Wheat's papers over the coming months, and will make the transcriptions available via State Library's One Search catalogue.

Australian Naval submarine AE2 escorting the troopship Berrima in the Indian Ocean, some of the crew are on deck, Australian War Memorial, A01939

Australian Naval submarine AE2 escorting the troopship Berrima in the Indian Ocean, some of the crew are on deck, Australian War Memorial, A01939

Each week we will be sharing news stories from the week 100 years ago, and we invite you to add your thoughts and comments. We’re also on Twitter every day. Follow the hash tags #onthisday and #qanzac100

Want to join in and find and correct newspaper articles from 1914 and 1915? Here’s more information about how to get started text correcting newspaper articles on Trove as a Pitch In! digital volunteer.

If you find something you’d like to share we’d love to hear from you at discovery@slq.qld.gov.au

 

Robyn Hamilton - QANZAC100 Content Curator, State Library of Queensland

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