AE1 (1914-1914)

The AE1, the Royal Australian Navy’s first submarine, was commissioned in the United Kingdom on 28 February 1914. After commissioning, AE1 accompanied by AE2, sailed to Australia crewed jointly by British and Australian sailors, arriving at Sydney in May 1914.

Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, both submarines proceeded to New Guinea for operations against the German colonies. On 14 September, AE1, accompanied by HMAS Parramatta, left Blanche Bay, New Britain, to patrol off Cape Gazelle. She was last seen by Parramatta at 3.30 pm that day and no trace has been found of her, or her company, since. It has been presumed that AE1 struck an uncharted reef and sank.



Class:   E Class light submarine
Launched:   22 May 1913
Commissioned:   28 February 1914
Complement:   35
Length:   181 feet [55.16m]
Beam:   22 feet 6 inches [6.85m]
Draught:   12 feet 6 inches [3.81m]
Displacement:   660 tons surfaced, 800 tons submerged
Speed:   15 knots surfaced, 10 knots submerged
Armament:   four 18 inch torpedo tubes
Armour:   not applicable

Ship photograph

AE1 (1914-1914) P01075.041

Pendant Number(s)

  • 80, AE1

Battle Honours

  • Rabaul 1914


  • RAN: 16 dead, RN: 19 dead

For more information please see the Roll of Honour, Wounded and Missing, First World War Nominal Roll and Embarkation Roll databases.


  • Nil

For more information please see Honours and Awards database

Collection Items

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  • M.W.D. White, Australian submarines: a history, (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1992).