AE1 (AWM P01075041).jpg
HMAS AE1 underway in 1914
Builder:Vickers Limited
Laid down:14 November 1911
Launched:22 May 1913
Commissioned:28 February 1914
Honours and
  • Battle honours:
  • Rabaul 1914
Fate:Lost at sea, 14 September 1914
Notes:Wreck located at a depth of 300 metres off the Duke of York Islands
General characteristics
Class and type:E-class submarine
Displacement:750 long tons (760 t) surfaced
Length:181 ft (55 m)
Beam:22 ft 6 in (6.86 m)
Draught:12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
Installed power:
  • 2 × 8-cylinder diesels, 1,600 hp (1,200 kW) surfaced,
  • battery-driven electric motors, 840 hp (630 kW) submerged
Propulsion:2 × propeller shafts
  • 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) surfaced
  • 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) submerged
  • 3,000 nmi (5,600 km; 3,500 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surfaced
  • 65 nmi (120 km; 75 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged
Test depth:200 feet (61.0 m)
Armament:4 × 18-inch torpedo tubes

HMAS AE1 (originally known as just AE1)[citation needed] was an E-class submarine of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). She was the first submarine to serve in the RAN, and was lost at sea with all hands near what is now East New Britain, Papua New Guinea, on 14 September 1914, after less than seven months in service. Search missions attempting to locate the wreck began in 1976. The submarine was found during the 13th search mission near the Duke of York Islands in December 2017.

Design and construction

The E class was a version of the preceding D-class submarine enlarged to accommodate an additional pair of broadside torpedo tubes.[1] AE1 was 181 feet (55.2 m) long overall, with a beam of 22 feet 6 inches (6.9 m) and a draught of 12 feet 6 inches (3.8 m).[2] She displaced 750 long tons (760 t) on the surface[3] and 810 long tons (820 t) submerged. The E-class boats had a designed diving depth of 100 feet (30.5 m), but the addition of watertight bulkheads strengthened the hull and increased the actual diving depth to 200 feet (61.0 m).[1] The complement consisted of 34 men: officers and ratings.[2]

The boat had two propellers, each of which was driven by an eight-cylinder,[3] 800-brake-horsepower (600 kW) diesel engine as well as a 420-brake-horsepower (313 kW) electric motor. This arrangement gave the E-class submarines a maximum speed of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) while surfaced and 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) when submerged.[2] They carried approximately 40 long tons (41 t)[1] of fuel oil, which provided a range of 3,000 nautical miles (5,600 km; 3,500 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) while on the surface[2] and 65 nmi (120 km; 75 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) while submerged.[1] AE1 had four 18-inch torpedo tubes, one each in the bow and stern, plus two on the broadside, one firing to port and the other to starboard. The boat carried one spare torpedo for each tube. No guns were fitted.[2]

AE1 was built by Vickers Limited at Barrow-in-Furness, England,[4] having been laid down on 14 November 1911 and launched on 22 May 1913 and commissioned into the RAN on 28 February 1914.[5] After commissioning, AE1, accompanied by AE2, the other of the RAN's first two submarines, reached Sydney from England on 24 May 1914. Officers for the submarines were Royal Navy (RN) personnel, while the ratings were a mix of sailors drawn from the RN and RAN.[6]

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