Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

HMAS AE1 World War I submarine found after century-long search

The HMAS AE1 disappeared off the New Guinean island of New Britain on Sept. 14 1914 with 35 crew members aboard from Australia New Zealand and Britain 'FOUND' - Australian Navy Submarine HMAS AE1 located after 103 years | Navy Daily - Royal Australian Navy
Andrew Cummings | 23 December, 2017, 01:48

The fate of the 800-tonne vessel was Australia's longest-running naval mystery after it vanished on 14 September 1914 without a distress call.

There have been numerous attempts-13 in all-to find the vessel, reported Sydney Morning Herald. Marine archaeologists have now discovered the historic wreck, ending a mystery that has endured for over a century. Incredibly, the latest search for the missing vessel started only last week.

The search led by Find AE1 Limited, and was funded by the Royal Australian Navy and the Silentworld Foundation, with assistance from the Submarine Institute of Australia, the Australian National Maritime Museum, Fugro Survey and the Papua New Guinea Government. "It was the first loss for the Royal Australian Navy and the first Allied submarine loss in World War I".

"This is one of the most significant discoveries in Australia's naval maritime history", Defense Minister Marise Payne said Thursday.

A WWI Aussie sub which went down 103 years ago has been found by the team hunting for MH370. Upon further inspection, confirmed the object to be AE1.

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Efforts are being made to contact the crew's descendants, the Navy said.

Australia's fleet pushed Germany out of its New Guinea territories in 1914, and in September of that year, it joined the HMAS Parramatta on patrol. Commanded by Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander Thomas Besant, the sub participated in actions that eventually led to the capture of New Guinea. The vessel was located by the survey ship Fugro Equator.

Images captured during the expedition suggested the submarine was well preserved and still in one piece.

Speaking to The Australian, retired Rear Admiral Peter Briggs said the sinking likely happened as a result of a diving accident, saying, "The submarine appears to have struck the bottom with sufficient force to dislodge the fin from its footing, forcing it to hinge forward on its leading edge, impacting the casing".

The exact location of the wreck will be kept under wraps for now, with the Australian Government working with the Papua New Guinea Government to preserve the underwater site and to form a plan for a lasting commemoration.

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