Submarine Loss Commemorated 100 Years On
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has commemorated the 100th anniversary of the disappearance of its first submarine, HMAS AE1, with memorial services in Papua New Guinea and across Australia.
In a ceremony held in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, close to where the ship was last seen, Navy members, local dignitaries, traditional land owners and descendants of the crew gathered to remember the ship lost on September 14, 1914.
Director of Navy Submarine Capability Commodore Peter Scott, CSC, RAN officiated in a service held on the shores of Simpson Harbor.
“As the first ship loss for the fledgling Royal Australian Navy and the first Allied submarine loss in the First World War, the impact was felt in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom,” Commodore Scott said. “Her final resting place is still unknown, but being here where she was last seen is important to the relatives of those onboard, as well as to historians and current serving personnel.”
On September 14, 1914, HMAS Parramatta and AE1 left Blanche Bay together to patrol off Cape Gazelle. Parramatta returned; AE1 did not. Three officers and 32 sailors perished in one of the most persistent mysteries of Australian naval history. The crew consisted of 18 Australians, 16 British and one New Zealander.