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Australia's first submarine HMAS AE1 found after 103 years! - video

The official website of the Royal Australian Navy has announced that the wreck of the submarine HMAS AE1 has been found. This is an extremely significant discovery for Australians, as AE1, which sank on 14 September 1914, was the first vessel ever lost by the Australian Navy. The fate of the ship and its 35
Published: December 22, 2017 - 15:01
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 16:13
Australia’s first submarine HMAS AE1 found after 103 years! – video

The official website of the Royal Australian Navy has announced that the wreck of the submarine HMAS AE1 has been found. This is an extremely significant discovery for Australians, as AE1, which sank on 14 September 1914, was the first vessel ever lost by the Australian Navy. The fate of the ship and its 35 crew members remained shrouded in mystery for more than 100 years.

The ship HMAS AE1 was lost without trace at the height of the town of Rabaul, located in Paupi-New Guinea. Despite efforts, the wreck has not been located until now. A search expedition aboard the research vessel R/V “Fugro Equator” found the missing ship and began writing the final chapter of this tragic story.

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HMAS AE1??s helm.

The first photographic and film documentation shows that the AE1 wreck, despite having spent over 100 years on the ocean floor, is in surprisingly good condition and is most likely in one piece.

The Royal Australian Navy joined forces with a number of search groups in the latest expedition, funded by the Commonwealth Government and the Silentworld Foundation, with support from the Submarine Institute of Australia, the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Fugro Survey and the Government of Papua New Guinea .

Survey data showing HMAS AE1 on the sea bed.

The Australian Government will work closely with the Government of Papua New Guinea to consider a permanent memorial for the crew of AE1 and to secure the site where the wreckage rests. As a war grave, the vessel will be placed under full protection.

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With the information gained and the documentation carried out, further work will be possible to explain the mystery of the sinking of HMAS AE1.

A small ceremony was held on the research vessel after the discovery of the shipwreck, in memory of the fallen crew members who lost their lives 103 years ago. Efforts were also launched to contact the descendants and relatives of the crew.

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AE1 was one of the first two submarines in the Australian Navy, a modern E-class for the time. The vessel measured 54.2 metres long and 6.9 metres wide. On the surface she could develop a speed of 15 knots, while submerged it was 10 knots. On the surface at economy speed – 10 knots – the operational range was 3000 Mm.

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The armament of the ship consisted of four 450 mm torpedo launchers. They were placed one on the bow and one on the stern and one on each side. Apart from the torpedoes in the launchers, the crew had 4 additional torpedoes at their disposal. Units of this type were also equipped with a 76 mm cannon, but it was not installed on the AE1.

Source: navy.gov.au

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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