The Gallipoli Campaign of 1915–16 is most commonly associated with the invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula by Allied forces, including the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), in an effort to weaken the Central Powers and take control of the Ottoman Empire. The invasion was the beginning of seven months of costly land battles, ending with the evacuation of Allied forces. However, another campaign was fought beneath the waters surrounding the Gallipoli Peninsula, one in which honours for both sides were even, with victories and disasters for both Allied and Ottoman forces.
HMAS AE2 (AE2), also known as the ‘Silent ANZAC’, was the first Allied submarine to penetrate the Dardanelles strait in 1915 as part of the Gallipoli Campaign, on the very morning the ANZAC soldiers landed at Anzac Cove. AE2 became the first Royal Australian Navy (RAN) warship to conduct a torpedo attack against an enemy warship. But after five days she finally fell to Ottoman gunfire and was scuttled, or sunk. Her commander, HG ‘Dacre’ Stoker, and crew were captured and spent the rest of the war as prisoners of the Ottoman Empire. The AE2 lay in the Sea of Marmara, unseen, until 1998 – when she was discovered, intact, 73 metres underwater in what is now Turkey.
The story of HMAS AE2, the Silent Anzac, can be divided into three main phases:
The story is not just about a submarine and its fate, however. This website also includes information about the vessel’s Commanding Officer and Crew, as well as about contemporary Australians and Turks who are committed to remembering the story and its historical significance. This includes the activities of the AE2 Commemorative Foundation Ltd (AE2CF) and the Submarine Institute of Australia (SIA).