This site contains the extensive research into the
AE1. Undertaken by
Peter Richardson over a period of
three decades, a wealth of historical data has been
Peter hopes that his website may prompt others to offer
information, eventually solving this mystery.
"I would like to hear
from any source further information about the movement
of German Shipping and in particular the relatives of
German Petty Officer (or Machinist Mate?) Wilhelm August
Ewald Reuschel of the SMS Planet
The AE1. A - for Australia;
E for 'E' Class submarine, and the number 1, as in
the first submarine for the Royal Australian Navy.
The submarine was built by Vickers Son & Maxim at
the Naval Construction Works, Barrow-in-Furness,
County Lancashire, England. Her keel was laid down
on the 14th November 1911.
Submarine to Australia - Read On
The Honourable Leopold Scarlett
outbreak of the First World War, the Australian
Government obliged the Allied war effort by organising a
Naval Squadron. The proviso by the British Government
was, " ....that the German Fleet is considered the
first objective... ".
this Squadron was the Military Expeditionary
Force. This contingent became known as the
Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary
Force (AN & MEF). In the Naval squadron were
Australia's first two submarines, the AE1
Expeditionary Force was assembled off the Papuan
Coast on 9 September 1914, arriving near Cape
Gazelle in the early hours of 11 September. The
ensuing events created an enigma that has not been
solved to this day.
After reading an old account of the loss of the
Australian Submarine AE1 in the mid 1980's, my
interest was re-ignited and I decided to conduct my
own research into the submarine that went down so
near my home town - Rabaul.
Richardson's notes - Read On
23: SOME WENT OUT TO SEA IN SHIPS,
THERE TO ENGAGE IN TRADE ON THE GREAT WATERS.
24: THESE WITNESSED THE WORKS OF THE LORD,
HIS WONDERS IN THE DEEP.
THIS WEB SITE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE AE1
CAPTAIN, LIEUTENANT-COMMANDER THOMAS FLEMING BESANT,
R.N. AND HIS CREW OF THIRTY FOUR SUBMARINERS.
THEY LOST THEIR LIVES ON THE AFTERNOON OF MONDAY, 14TH
SEPTEMBER 1914, WHEN THE AUSTRALIAN SUBMARINE AE1
DISAPPEARED WITHOUT TRACE.
names will be enshrined with those of heroes." quoted
from the supplemental press release from the Australian