Australian Submarine That Vanished In WWI Located Off Papua New Guinea
The Royal Australian Navy's first submarine, which went down with all hands more than a century ago, has been located off Papua New Guinea in about 1,000 feet of water.
HMAS AE-1 vanished off Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, in the Duke of York islands on Sept. 14, 1914, less than three months after the start of World War I. The vessel had 35 crew aboard — Australians, British and one New Zealander.
Twelve previous government-funded searches over the years had failed to locate the submarine.
“Now we can properly mourn the deaths of those men who served in [HMAS] AE1, and commemorate their sacrifice in a meaningful and fitting way," said Director, Dr Brendan Nelson. Media release: https://t.co/kh9wzgXQ05 #AE1 #Myawm pic.twitter.com/dEA67T07PY— Aust War Memorial (@AWMemorial) December 21, 2017
"This is one of the most significant discoveries in Australia's naval maritime history," Defense Minister Marise Payne said Thursday. "It was the first loss for the Royal Australian Navy and the first Allied submarine loss in World War One; a significant tragedy felt by our nation and our allies."
"We will work closely with the Papua New Guinea Government in the coming weeks and months to consider a lasting commemoration in recognition of the crew, and, importantly, to preserve the site," she said.
The exact cause of the sinking remains unclear, but as Sky News reports "it has always been assumed it was not a victim of enemy action, since the only German vessel nearby at the time was a small survey ship."
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.