Friday, February 15, 2008

 

And up she rises

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North-West Evening Mail
February 15, 2008



A FIRST World War Barrow submarine commanded by the cousin of Dracula author Bram Stoker, may rise from the dead after 90 years.

The AE2 sub was scuttled off Turkey in April, 1915, after being holed by enemy gunfire while on the surface.

Its voyage proved allied submarines could make it through the narrow, mine-infested Dardanelles straits linking the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmora.

Her successful voyage to Gallipoli on the Turkish coast helped pave the way for other subs and ships which went on to sink more than 220 Turkish vessels during the disastrous allied troop landings at Gallipoli.

HMAS AE2’s mixed Australian and British crew was commanded by Irishman Henry Stoker.

The AE2 which had a crew of 34, was launched on June 18, 1913. Since being scuttled on April 27, 1915, she lay unseen until found in 73m of water in 1998 largely intact.

BAE shipyard history and heritage representative, Tony Salter-Ellis said: “HMAS AE2 was the second of two E Class submarines built at Barrow for the Royal Australian Navy.

“Yard No 419, AE1, became the first casualty of the First World War when she was lost without trace off German New Guinea on September 14, 1914. A private diving company claimed to have found the AE1 last year but this has yet to be confirmed.”

Mr Salter-Ellis said that in the Dardanelles AE2 faced mines, submarine nets and groundings underwater and searchlights, shelling and ramming by gunboats and shelling from cliff forts whenever they had to surface to recharge batteries.

Mr Salter-Ellis added: “BAE Systems is pleased to hear of the intention of the Submarine Institute of Australia to raise and preserve AE2, so that the key role played by the Vickers Barrow-built submarine and her crew in the Gallipoli Campaign can be honoured.”

The boat is 181ft long, 22ft 6in wide, with a range of 3,225 nautical miles, and a displacement of 800 tons.

Now the Submarine Institute of Australia, where AE2’s exploits are nationally known, and the Turkish Institute of Nautical Archaeology are discussing proposals to raise her.


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