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 flotilla arriving in Australia on 4 October 1913, the arrival of AE1 and AE2 on 24 May 1914 completed the fleet originally planned for the Royal Australian Navy.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, said the Navy’s early submariners were brave pioneers who fought valiantly in World War I.
“The spirit of bravery and adventure exemplified by Navy’s first submariners is reflected in the dedication and spirit of the men and women who serve in Navy submarines today.
“Our submarine force continues to make a significant contribution to the security of the nation and is a vital component of Australia’s Defence strategy into the future.
“In the one hundred years since the arrival of AE1 and AE2, Australian submarines, and those men and women who serve in them, have continued to build on the traditions that started with the arrival of the first submarine force,” said Vice Admiral Griggs.
AE1 was lost without a trace near Papua New Guinea 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.
Remembrance services will be held in 2014 and 2015 to commemorate the losses of AE1 and AE2.
Press Release, May 26, 2014; Image: Australian Navy