Honouring AE1

By Emelia from St Dominic’s Priory College in South Australia

Good morning everyone.

Tonight we remember the 35 people on the AE1 submarine that disappeared on September 14th 1914. The mystery that surrounds this tragic loss has puzzled many for generations and will continue to be remembered for years to come. Just recently a small part of the wing of a Boeing 777 plane was found in the ocean off the coast of the French island Reunion. This wing is suspected to be a part of missing plane MH370, which like AE1 vanished without a trace. Even though the plane has been missing for over a year we still continue to search for it. The AE1 has been missing for over 100 and yet we are still searching for it.

But why? Why search for it, why still remember after so many years? I believe it is because tragedy unites us. A great loss is always remembered because of its impact and its significance. That is what MH370 and AE1 have in common. Though they may be separated by many years, they both united Australians in grief. The disappearance of AE1 was the first major loss Australia had experienced in WW1 since it was highly unexpected and the submarine was never found.

The submarine left Blanche bay on the 14th of September 1914 at around 7 am and were sent out to patrol the St Georges channel. But by 8 pm AE1 and her crew had not returned to Simpson Harbour. After three days of searching the submarine had still not been found and the search was concluded. These men lost their lives serving their country. Leaving their families and home behind, to fight in a great war so that future generations could live in a safe and free country.

These men were husbands, fathers and sons. They wrote letters, made jokes, obeyed orders and did their jobs. How ordinary they seem, yet how extraordinary have they become. September 14 touched the hearts of the entire country and still touches us now. We lost many good men and women in World War One over a conflict that spanned just over 4 years. Every country, every city, every suburb was effected. Both sides lost millions of lives. The soldiers who fought in this war fought for their values and ideals, but most of all they fought for freedom. The ANZACS are heroes because they loved their country more than anyone. They died for their country as did the members of AE1.

To remember them this beautiful sculpture ‘The Ocean Bed Their Tomb’ has been created. This fantastic artwork that has been so lovingly made does more than just honour the members of AE1, It gives us something to be proud of. We can be proud of the boys of AE1, their descendants, the amazing people who built this artwork and the ANZACS who served our country. To a quote a letter from Sydney Morning Herald article published in September 1914 ‘They obeyed their orders. And they died in that obedience. They gave their lives for King and for the Empire as surely and as unhesitatingly as though the AE1 had sunk, bows toward the enemy, rent and shattered from stem to stern beneath a crashing rain of shells.’

Thank you