Australian Navy To Hunt For Lost Sub from WWI.

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
Australian Navy To Hunt For Lost Sub from WWI.
February 26, 2007 - 9:40AM

The navy is to conduct a search for the wreckage of the submarine AE1, lost with all hands off New Guinea at the start of World War One.
Veterans Affairs Minister Bruce Billson said the survey ships HMAS Benalla and HMAS Shepparton would conduct a search for the submarine during routine survey operations off PNG late this month.
Mr Billson said the search would be conducted using side scan sonar, which provides a visual representation of the ocean floor, and a magnetometer to detect the presence of metallic items on the ocean floor.
"I am hopeful that this search will shed some light on to the whereabouts of the AE1 and provide some answers to the relatives of the crew members who were lost," he said.
Mr Billson said retired navy Commander John Foster had played a key role in researching AE1 and the search would be based on information he had gathered over the past 30 years.
He said he had lobbied for government support to search for the AE1 over a sustained period.
"In recognition of his efforts, Commander Foster has been invited to observe the search," he said.
The disappearance of AE1 with all 35 crewmen was Australia's first major loss of the Great War.
Like the loss of HMAS Sydney in World War Two, the sinking of AE1 remains a complete mystery.
AE1's sister ship AE2 is far better known. This vessel managed to penetrate the Dardanelles during the Gallipoli campaign and was lost in the Sea of Marmara on April 30, 1915. EA2's wreckage was located in 1998.
Australia purchased both vessels from Britain before WWI and they were commissioned into Australian service at Portsmouth on February 28, 1914. Both were commanded by British officers with a mixture of British and Australian crew members.
Both set sail for Australia in March and arrived in Sydney on May 24, 1914.
On August 11, 1914 - five days after Australia declared war on Germany - AE1 was dispatched to support operations against German forces on New Britain, then a German possession.
Patrolling off the east coast of the Duke Of York Island group on September 14, AE1 vanished without trace. A brief search revealed no sign of the vessel.
Commander Foster's research on German fleet movements suggest it was highly unlikely AE1 was the victim of enemy action.
The most likely cause was a breach of the pressure hull caused by running aground or striking a submerged object.
Commander Foster believes AE1 lies in about 90 metres of water. He has identified a particular search area south of Mioko Island, not far from an area searched by a team from the Maritime Museum of Western Australia in 2003.
I think from memory that they have now actually identified where it lies and are conducting research on the submarine to find out why it sank and various other information. It certainly is unique as it is in service condition, and thus gives a better idea of what the submarines looked like inside.

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