Last known image of AE1, 9 Sep 1914 with Yarra & Australia in the background. Photo: Aus Navy

Australian Government informed that it would match private investment to fund an expedition to search for the missing WWI submarine HMAS AE1.

HMAS AE1 was lost without a trace on September 14, 1914, while patrolling waters off then German New Guinea, with the cause of the disappearance still unknown.

Marise Payne, minister for Defence and senator, said the Government would provide $500,000 to allow Find AE1 Limited to proceed in its attempt to find the submarine and its crew.

HMAS AE1 is one of the world’s great maritime mysteries and this expedition will be one of the most comprehensive searches for the submarine,” minister Payne said.

“We owe it to the men of AE1, their descendants and the entire navy community to continue to look for those who are forever on patrol.

“It is a story that captivates the maritime community and the Government is proud to join The Silentworld Foundation, Australian National Maritime Museum and Fugro Survey in supporting Find AE1. We are also grateful for the cooperation of the Papua New Guinean Government for allowing the expedition in their waters.”

The loss of AE1 with its entire complement of three officers and 32 sailors was the RAN’s first major tragedy and it marred an otherwise successful operation to seize the German possession in New Guinea and the South Pacific.

It is not known what caused AE1 to disappear without trace and since its loss several unsuccessful searches have been conducted to establish its whereabouts.

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