After being lost for 103 years, the wreck of Australia’s first submarine, HMAS AE1, has finally been located in almost 1,000 feet of water east of Rabaul, not far from Duke of York Islands in Papua New Guinea. The submarine, built in the Vickers yard at Barrow-in-Furness, England arrived in Sydney Australia in May of 1914, just a few months before the outbreak of World War I. In September, HMAS AE1 participated in an operation to capture German New Guinea and helped secure the surrender of Rabaul in East New Britain. The next day, however, the submarine and its crew disappeared without a trace. It was the first submarine to be lost in World I.
Thirteen searches have been undertaken to locate the lost submarine. The search vessel Fugro Equator located the wreck earlier this week. The exact location of the wreck has been withheld to attempt to prevent “unauthorized salvage attempts”. The submarine sank with the loss of 32, a mix of Australian and Royal Navy personnel. The wreck is considered to be a war grave.