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Henry Hew Gordon Dacre Stoker

Commander Henry Hew Gordon Dacre Stoker D.S.O., R.N.

1885-1966

Son of Dr. William Stoker of Dublin


Decorated submariner, who upon retiring from the military, enjoyed a successful career on the London stage and screen. As a sportsman, Dacre played polo, tennis at Wimbledon, and was Irish Croquet Champion.


"Considerable doubt existed as to the possibility of a submarine passage

through the Dardanelles; two unsuccessful attempts already had been made; submarines diving in the entrance of the Strait had frequently run ashore owing to the current. What is any, steps the enemy had taken to guard against a submarine passage were uncertain, and generally the task seemed to be both difficult and dangerous. "

- Lieutenant Commander H.H.G.D. Stoker

HMAS-AE2-submarine-Australia-Henry-Hew-Gordon-Dacre-Stoker

Page Updated 5 March 2012

Bravery Facing Death

Lieutenant Commander Henry Stoker was a British naval officer who commanded the Australian submarine AE2 when it successfully penetrated the Dardanelles at the same time as Australian troops went ashore at Gallipoli. AE2 sank in the Sea of Marmara and all aboard were taken prisoner. British commander Norman Holbrook who also penetrated the Dardanelles but escaped was awarded the VC. Stoker died in London aged 81.

Read the entire article on Australian servicemen being considered for the Victoria Cross....

The Times, Tuesday 11 October 1921

Capt. H. G. Stoker

The Times

February 13, 1966


    Captain H. G. Stoker, the actor, who died on Wednesday, his 81st birthday, will be equally well remembered as Captain H. G. D. Stoker, D.S.O., R.N., commander of the first submarine to travel half-way round the world and to dive through the Dardanelles during the course of operations against Turkey in 191. Hew Gordon Dacre Stoker, a younger son of William Stoker, was born in Dublin on February 2, 1885, entered the Royal Navy in 1900, and joined the newly formed submarine headquarters in 1906. He was lent to the Australian Navy as Captain of the submarine AE 2, but the offer of this ship for service in home waters was accepted by the Admiralty soon after the outbreak of war. AE 2 joined the Fleet off Gallipoli in February, 1915, dived through the strait on the day of the troops' disembarkation. but was hit and holed in the Sea of Marmora. Stoker remained a prisoner of var in Turkey for the next three and a half years.

    On his return to England he felt unhappy in the postwar Service, and in 1920, while waiting for a naval appointment. he improved his acquaintance with the theatre, hitherto limited to a few performances in prisoner of war camps, by taking a small part in H. M. Harwood's The Grain of Mustard Seed. As Norman McKinnel his first director. had warned him, the question was not whether Stoker had talent-----McKinnel was satisfied on that score-but whether he would get engagements. Luckily he proved to be a "natural" for his next part, that of a country squire, a Philistine but no fool, in Harwood's A Social Convenience: a part of a type common in plays of that period and thenceforward, since he continued to show a flair for it, entrusted to Stoker on many occasions between the two wars. He made it seem especially plausible and at the same time comic in such small-scale performances as his Colonel in Journey's End and his Admiral in The Flashing Stream. His elaborately casual manner sat authentically on those characters. He gave the weight of whole speeches to their monosyllabic replies.

    Stoker was in management when the Second World War began, but he rejoined the Navy and served for the duration, reverting to the Retired List with the rank of captain in 1946. He was back in the theatre that same year, and soon afterwards appeared in two of the last plays of Lonsdale and James Bridie respectively. In addition to publishing his autobiography Straws in the Wind, Stoker had collaborated in a play with a naval background Under the Surface and himself taken a part in it in 1932.

    He married Miss Dorothie M. Pidcock, the actress, in 1925.

Note to Publishers and interested parties:

We have two scrapbooks which were compiled by Lt. Commander Stoker, and bequeathed to his godson, Dacre Stoker. The scrapbooks detail his military and acting careers, as well as his sporting life. The scrapbooks along with a re-issue of Lt. Commander Stoker's autobiography,

Straws in the Wind, will be a fitting addition to the

100th anniversary of Anzac Day in 2015.

Contact Dacre Stoker: bramstokerestate@aol.com

Henry-H-G-Dacre-Stoker-AE-2-submarine

MORE INFORMATION ON HMAS AE 2 IS ACCESSIBLE THROUGH

NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA

Read an excerpt about AE 2 from "Blackwood's Magazine" 1919

"The Story of Our Submarines"

AE1-Prof. M.Bashir, Governor, New S. Wales; Vice Admiral Ray Griggs; Rear Admmiral Steve Gilmore; ms. Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of Australia; Dr. Michael White, QC
AE1 & AE2 Window-Chapel Garden Island-Australia-credit, John Stoker, Southport
Governor General of Australia, Ms. Quentin Bryce & Vice Admiral Ray Griggs unveiling memorial to A.E.1 -Credit-John Stoker, Southport

Window in the Naval Chapel at Garden Island Dockyard, Sydney, commemorating both AE1 and AE2.

Ms. Quentin Bryce, Governor General of Australia and Vice Admiral Ray Griggs unveiling the memorial to AE1 on 14 September 2011

at the Naval Heritage Centre, Garden Island, Sydney.

Dignitaries pictured below:

Prof. M.Bashir, Governor, New S. Wales; Vice Admiral Ray Griggs;

Rear Admiral Steve Gilmore; ms. Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of Australia;

Dr. Michael White, QC

In 2011, John Stoker of Southport, England  attended the unveiling of the memorial to AE1 (the sister ship of AE2) in Sydney, Australia, and provided these photographs.

AE1-Prof. M.Bashir, Governor, New S. Wales; Vice Admiral Ray Griggs; Rear Admmiral Steve Gilmore; ms. Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of Australia; Dr. Michael White, QC