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Australian submarine AE2 with crew on deck at Portsmouth

Date: 1914
Overall: 90 x 138 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Mrs D Smyth
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00015862
Place Manufactured:Portsmouth

User Terms

    This photograph made into a postcard shows the crew of the newly completed submarine, HMAS AE2 in Portsmouth probably sometime in early 1914.
    SignificanceLieutenant Haggard, his Commander Henry Stoker and the rest of the crew from the submarine AE2 were picked up by the Turkish boat SULTAN HISSAR after scuttling their submarine on 30 Aptril 1915 in the Sea of Marmora. The whole crew then spent the next 3 1/2 years as prisoners of war throughout Turkey and four crew members later died as a result of illness due to the harsh conditions experienced.
    HistoryThe postcard was sent by Lieutenant Haggard to a relative. On the reverse is written "HMA Submarine AE2, at sea March 11th, hoping this will catch you, am now in the Mediterranean 1/2 way to Malta. Had an a1 time at Gib. Hope your having a good time. Isnt the sub topping. Ive got a big photo of the boat if youd like it. What do you think of this. Yours Geoff, will write when time. Please forward, Miss Haggard, 25 Pelham Cresent, S. Kensington, London SW". It was written by Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Haggard 2nd officer on board AE2 from England to Australia and during the submarine's final days in the Sea of Marmara.

    After an initial attempt by Lieutenant Brodie on April 17 in the submarine E15 failed, it was agreed that AE2 under Commander Henry Stoker would attempt to get through the Dardenelle Straits and into the Sea of Marmara. It was hoped that dominance here would stop or severely hamper Turkish troop and supply movements to the Peninsular and Gallipoli and also allow the Allies a supply route direct to Russia.

    On April 25, AE2 started her second attempt at the Dardenelles Strait. On that first day she successfully negotiated the minefields, shelling from forts on the shore and pursuit by enemy ships who had detected her whilst she surfaced. Having made this initial progress, 26 April saw her relatively undeterred although the enemy was still searching for her and she did suffer an attack by anti-submarine vessels. Over the next two days AE2 managed to avoid the ships hunting her from above but had also narrowly missed her own torpedoed targets. On the 29 April, now in the Sea of Marmora, she encountered HMS E14 who had also successfully passed through the Dardanelles behind her.

    On the morning of April 30 however, AE2 unavoidably surfaced too close to a Turkish torpedo boat, SULTANHISAR. AE2 was immediately spotted and was fired on. During what must have been a desperate half hour, AE2 could not stabilize and after the engine room was hit and holed in three places, Commander Stoker focused on saving the crew and ensuring AE2 did not fall into enemy hands. He ordered all men on deck and assisted by Lieutenant Haggard, the Commander opened all tanks and the submarine was flooded and sunk six kilometres north of Kara Burnu.

    All members of the AE2 crew survived that final encounter and the scuttling of their vessel. They were subsequently imprisoned in Turkish prisoner of war camps for the next 3 1/2 years where four crew members lost their lives through illness.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Australian submarine AE2 with crew on deck at Portsmouth

    Primary title: A.E.2 Australian submarine arrival at Portsmouth to prepare for voyage to Australia

    Related People
    Photographer: Stephen Cribb

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