Memoir of Charles Suckling
Memoir relating to the First World War service of 2148 Stoker Charles George Suckling, Royal Australian Navy. This account was written at some stage after the First World War and before its donation in 1975. It covers: the building of submarines AE1 and AE2 at Barrow-in-Furness; the journey of both submarines from Portsmouth, England to Sydney, Australia, constituting the longest submarine journey in history; arrival in Sydney on 24 May 1914; deployment to Rabaul as part of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF); details of the loss of AE1 and possible causes; deployment to Fiji after it had been realised that the German East Asia Squadron under Vice Admiral Maximilian Reichsgraf von Spee had fled east; the Battle of Coronel; the destruction of the German squadron at the battle of the Falkland’s; the destruction of the SMS Emden at the hands of HMAS Sydney;
It also covers: the end of the German naval threat in the region and the transfer of the AE2 to the Mediterranean after refitting in December 1914; the arrival of the AE2 at the Dardanelles in February 1915; difficulties in sending a submarine up the Dardanelles Strait; admiration of the crew for the captain Lieutenant Commander Henry Hugh Gordon Dacre Stoker; Stoker’s attempts to persuade his British superiors that a raid into the Sea of Marmora was possible; damage to the AE2 and repairs at Malta; Admiral of the Fleet John Michael de Robeck’s approval of submarine raids through the strait; the attempt by and loss of the Royal Navy submarine E15; first attempt of the AE2 on 24 April 1915; the second attempt and successful attempt on 25 April; attempted raids in the Sea of Marmora; rendezvous with Royal Navy submarine E14; encounter with the Ottoman torpedo boat Sultanhisar and scuttling of the AE2 on 30 April; capture and transfer of the crew, now prisoners of war, to Constantinople and then Afyonkarahisar; living conditions and experiences as a prisoner of war in Turkey, including labour duties; work of the Turkish Red Crescent Society; return to Fremantle after the end of the war on 19 February 1919.