The ship's company of submarine, HMAS Rankin took a moment out of their busy deployment schedule recently to remember the crew of lost First World War submarine, HMAS AE1.
Rankin was transiting past the Duke of York Islands near Rabaul, Papua New Guinea and held a memorial service on her casing in the approximate location of AE1’s last known position, paying tribute to the 35 men lost on 14 September 1914.
Commanding Officer, Commander Doug Theobald, said the service was particularly meaningful for a submarine navigating the region.
“The crew of AE1 would have faced severe challenges operating in this area and it is a reminder of how vigilant we must be operating in difficult terrain,” Commander Theobald said.
“These currents, reefs and channels would present continual hazards to the boat and crew without the use of modern navigational equipment.”
Leading Seaman Marine Technician Submarine Brendan Hunt began the service with the naval prayer, before Able Seaman Electronic Warfare Submarine Jayden Schell delivered the story of AE1.
“Poor weather and visibility, the confined waters she was operating in and the confusion as to her whereabouts during the operation led to the tragic loss of AE1, 102 years ago,” Able Seaman Schell said.
The service featured the passages Jonah’s Prayer and Faith Brings Joy Able Seaman Electronic Warfare Submarine Tawhi Eru had chosen for the occasion.
Leading Seaman Brendan Hunt finished proceedings with the Lord’s Prayer while Leading Seaman Combat Information Systems Submarine Marlon Perez cast a sprig of rosemary into the ocean in remembrance of the British, Australian and New Zealand crew who remain on eternal patrol.
The history of HMAS AE1 is available at http://www.navy.gov.au/hmas-ae1