Charlie Vaughan was the senior ranked crew member of the AE2. At 40 years, he was also one of the oldest, a top RN submariner who was personally selected by Captain Martin Nasmith for loan to the RAN in 1913 to man their new E class submersible. Vaughan signed on with the RAN on 4 December 1913 for a period of five years.
After the initial shock of capture and internment after the sinking of the AE2 in the Sea of Marmara, during which he displayed great courage and discipline, Vaughan adapted to the grim struggle for survival in POW camps, first at Afion Kara Hissar and then at Belemedik. He was one of the petty officers who continued to keep a weather eye out for his young ratings during these difficult years, and like Charlie Varcoe mixed with them socially in order to do so.
Vaughan was lucky to have the physical and mental strength to last the distance until the end of 1918, when he was released from the camp and began the long voyage home. He arrived safely in London via Alexandria on 18 December 1918. On 22 April 1919, a month after he was demobilised, Vaughan was eventually awarded a mention in despatches, ‘For miscellaneous services in HM Australian submarine AE2’.