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Remembering Australia's heroic Gallipoli submarine HMAS AE2

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THE HON. WARREN SNOWDON MP Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

Wednesday, 22 April 2009 058/2009


The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon. Warren Snowdon MP, today unveiled a plaque commemorating the Royal Australian Navy’s WW1 submarine, HMAS AE2.

Mr Snowdon was joined at Garden Island Sydney by the Sydney Consul General for Turkey, Mr Renan Sekeroglü and the AE2 Commemorative Foundation Chairman, Rear Admiral Peter Briggs RAN (Rtd) to remember the submarine that was scuttled on 30 April 1915 after being fatally damaged in battle by the Turkish Torpedo Boat, Sultanhisar.

“As the first boatloads of ANZAC soldiers were approaching Gallipoli on the dawn of 25 April 1915, HMAS AE2, under fire from shore bombardment, dived into the heavily mined waters and against all odds succeeded in penetrating the Dardanelles,” said Mr Snowdon.

“AE2 was the first Allied submarine to penetrate the strait in an heroic effort that significantly affected the course of events of the Gallipoli Campaign.”

AE2 departed Fleet Base East just over 94 years ago. She was escort to the 2nd contingent of the AIF sent to the Middle East. Upon arrival in the Mediterranean, she was assigned to the Allied naval expeditionary force gathering off the Dardanelles. Her campaign ended on 30 April 1915 when she was hit in the engine room by gunfire from Sultanhisar. All of the crew was taken as prisoners of war.

AE2’s wreck was found in 1998, beneath the waters of the Sea of Marmara, by the Turkish ‘wreck hunter’ Mr Selçuk Kolay OAM, in cooperation with an Australian team led by Dr Mark Spencer and Mr Tim Smith.

The AE2 Commemorative Foundation was established in 2006 to preserve and protect the wreck of the AE2 and to ensure survival of the story of her role of AE2 and her crew in the Gallipoli campaign.

Media Contact: Martin Callinan (Warren Snowdon): 02 6277 7620 or 0400 646 985 Public Affairs Operations Centre 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664