HMAS AE1 & AE2 (originally known as AE1 & AE2) were an E-class submarine of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The two submarines were ordered for the fledgling navy and were built by Vickers Armstrong in England and commissioned into the RAN in 1913. Both submarines then sailed to Australia in what was, at the time, the longest voyage ever undertaken by a submarine.
After the start of World War I, AE1 & AE2 were sent to German New Guinea with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force. Both boats took part in the operations leading to the occupation of the German territory, including the surrender of Rabaul on 13 September 1914.
The AE1 departed Blanche Bay, Rabaul 07:00 on 14 September, to patrol off Cape Gazelle with HMAS Parramatta. When she had not returned by 20:00, several ships were dispatched to search for her. No trace of the submarine found and was listed as lost with all 35 hands.
It is probable that she was wrecked on a reef or other submerged object. As well as Lieutenant Commander Thomas Besant, 2 other officers and 32 sailors were lost in this disaster. The disappearance was the first major loss for Australia of the World War.
In recent years a number of searches have been carried-out to locate the AE1 – all without success. Until in December 2017 the wreck of the AE1 was discovered – a truly historic event in Australian Naval history.
The AE2 was assigned to the Dardanelles Campaign in January 1915. At 02:30 on the 25 April 1915 – the day of the Gallipoli Landings – the AE2 successfully penetrated the Narrows of the Dardanelles and entered the Sea of Marmara. With orders to “run amok” inside Turkish territory, AE2 operated for five days before mechanical faults forced her to the surface, where she was damaged by the torpedo boat Sultanhisar. The submarine was scuttled by her crew, all of whom were captured.
AE2 was the only RAN vessel lost to enemy action during World War I. The Rahmi M. Ko Museum began searching for the AE2 wreck in 1995, and found it in 1998. After another expedition in 2008, the Australian and Turkish Governments decided to leave the boat in place. The AE2 is the last tangible relic of that conflict.
The kit of the AE Class submarine is unique in its construction being plank on bulkhead rather than a preformed resin or plastic hull. The kit comes complete with all parts and fittings, limewood planking and laser cut keel and bulkheads as well as highly detailed written building instructions with large colour photos.
The kit comes with two name plates so the model can be presented as either the AE1 or AE2.
This is a unique and important model to Australian naval and maritime history.
Modellers Shipyard offer historically accurate Wooden Model Ship Kits and Wooden Model Boat kits which are faithful interpretations of the original vessels. The comprehensive instructional DVDs, plans and highly detailed English instructions will assist you throughout the whole construction process. All ship model kits are double plank on bulkhead construction and only use the highest quality parts.