AE2 Commemorative Foundation chairman Peter Briggs unveils a plaque dedicated to the Australian First World War submariners at the Kabatepe Gallipoli Simulation Centre.
AE2 Commemorative Foundation chairman Peter Briggs unveils a plaque dedicated to the Australian First World War submariners at the Kabatepe Gallipoli Simulation Centre. Stuart Cumming

Australian submariners given Turkish museum honour

A CREW of Australian submariners who destroyed Ottoman vessels in the lead up to the Gallipoli landing have taken pride of place in a Turkish museum.

The 32 people on board Royal Australian Navy submarine AE2 sank Turkish transports and warships for five days in the Sea of Marmara before taking on a mission that led to their capture.

AE2 Commemorative Foundation chairman and retired Royal Australian Navy officer Rear Admiral Peter Briggs said the crew surrendered after deliberately giving away their position to create a diversion for troops landing at Anzac Cove on April 25, 1915.

They drew the attention of a battleship away from the troops' entry point.

"But they attracted also a huge following," Rear Admiral (Ret) Briggs said.

"Every Turkish vessel was chasing AE2 instead of looking to get reinforcements across the peninsula."

FOLLOW STUART'S JOURNEY TO GALLIPOLI

The unveiling of a plaque at Kabatepe Gallipoli Simulation Centre was an important milestone in a decade-long project to protect and preserve the submarine.

"This plaque today is about telling the story to the current and future generations of young Turks and young Australians."

He said the project had been called Silent Anzac, due to the lower level of public awareness of the brave deeds.

"It is very nice to be here at the centenary and see the attention that is now being paid to it."

He said the vessel should remain at the bottom of the sea.

"We have installed protection by way of a buoy to stop trawlers coming through and damaging it."

Electrodes have also been attached to the sunken wreck to stop corrosion.

He said it was generous of the Turkish government to show such strong recognition of the submariners' sacrifices.

"I'm really very happy, as one of the final steps in the project, to see the plaque unveiled and they accept ownership and will look after that."

 


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