Bram Stoker Estate



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Henry Hew Gordon Dacre Stoker

Page Updated 2 March 2012

"Black Wood’s Magazine”  1919

Volume 206 Page 118

The Story of Our Submarines – VI

By Klaxon (pseudonym of John Graham Bower)

I have mentioned the fact that Submarine "AE2" (Lieut. -Commander Stoker) was the first boat to get into the Sea of Marmora. Her experience is worth relating, especially in view of the fact that she was an Australian Navy boat, and that her trip was made simultaneously with the Gallipoli landing.

She entered the Straits at 2.30 A.m. on 25th April 1915, and continued upon the surface till, being fired on from the northern shore, she dived at 4.30 A.M., and proceeded at 70 feet depth through the mine - field. Her dispatches say:—

"During the ensuing half-hour or 80 the scraping of wires against the vessel's sides was almost continuous, and on two occasions something caught up forward and continued to knock for some considerable time before breaking loose and scraping away aft."

Off Chanak she torpedoed a small Turkish gunboat in passing, and dodged the stem of a torpedo-boat that attempted to ram the periscope. "AE2" then ran aground (her compass having developed defects) under the guns of Fort Anatoli Mejidieh. She got off, and proceeded on at 90 feet, till she ran aground again on the Gallipoli shore for five minutes. This second bump damaged the hull somewhat. She got off and went on, pursued by all the miscellaneous small craft of the Narrows, all of them firing at and trying to ram her periscope. At 8.30 A.M., the pursuit being close, she intentionally ran aground on the Asiatic shore to wait, at a depth of 80 feet, till the chase should have passed on overhead. She waited there, listening to the propellers passing to and fro, until 9 P.M., when she rose and found nothing in sight. At 4 A.M. on the 26th she went on, having charged up her batteries and unsuccessfully attacked two unknown men-of war (one of them probably the battleship Hairedin Barbarossa) near Gallipoli. At 9 A.M. she entered the Sea of Marmora. Unfortunately, "A E 2" carried no gun, and had to rely on her torpedo armament, which at 9.30 A.M. failed her when she endeavoured to sink a transport— one of four coming towards the Peninsula. On 27 th April she had more bad luck with torpedoes, and another transport (escorted by a destroyer screen) escaped her. On the 28th another torpedo failed to hit a small ship convoyed by two T. B. D. 's, and in the evening her sixth torpedo missed on "two men-of-war approaching at high speed from westward." On the 29th, being chased by torpedo-boats and gunboats, she was forced to fire a chance shot in order to discourage the pursuit. The torpedo missed a yard ahead of a gunboat, and "pursuit then ceased." In the evening she met "E 14" at a rendezvous, the latter boat having followed her up the Straits. On the 30th, "AE2" met her end:—

"10.30 A.M.: Boat's bow suddenly rose, and boat broke surface about one mile from T.B. Blew water forward, but could not get boat to dive. Torpedo-boat got very close, firing, and a gunboat from Artaki Bay began firing at a range of about three miles; flooded a forward tank, when boat suddenly took a big inclination down by bows and dived rapidly. The 100-feet depth was quickly reached and passed. Went full speed astern, and commenced to blow main ballast. After some interval boat came back to 100-feet depth, so reflooded and went ahead, but boat broke surface stern first. Within a few seconds the shots fired holed the engine-room in three places. Owing to the great inclination down by the bow it was impossible to see the torpedo-boat through the periscope, and I considered that any attempt to ram her would be useless. I therefore blew main ballast, and ordered all hands on deck. Assisted by Lieut. Haggard, I then opened the tanks to flood and went on deck. The boat sank in a few minutes. . . ."

All the officers and men were saved, being picked out of the water by the Turkish torpedo-boat after "AE2" had sunk.

The rest of the article may be found at:

Blackwoods Magazine Volume 206

HMAS AE2-HHG Dacre Stoker-Dardanelles-Gallipoli