AE1 was a British E-class submarine. The designation ‘AE’ was to indicate ‘built for Australia’, as distinct from the standard British E Class. In practice, they were built as two of the first eight of the class, with very few modifications from the British boats.

AE1 and AE2 were fitted with the latest Marconi Mk 10 wireless telegraphy sets and a very early Sperry gyro compass just prior to departing from Portsmouth for Australia. Later boats in the class (fifty-two built in all) had some significant modifications from the earlier designs, including twin bow tubes, etc.

  • Displacement: 660 tons surfaced – 800 tons submerged
  • Length: 181 ft (55 m) overall; 171 ft (52 m) between the perpendiculars
  • Beam: 22 ft 6 in (6.86 m) at the extreme width of the saddle tanks
  • Draught: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
  • Propulsion:
    • 2 × 8 cylinder, in-line, non-reversing Vickers Diesel Engines, producing 1750 hp each when surfaced,
    • 2 × Battery-driven electric propulsion motors, 550 hp when submerged.The propulsion motors could also be re-configured to act as DC charging shaft generators for the main batteries.
  • Propulsion Configuration: The submarine had two shaftlines and propellers. The sequence of the equipment (front to rear) was: diesel engine – engine clutch – electric motor/generator – motor clutch – tailshaft and propeller.
  • Speed:
    • Surfaced: 15 knots (28 km/h) on 2 shafts; 10.5 knots on 1 shaft
    • Submerged: 10 knots (19 km/h) on 2 shafts
  • Range:
    • Surfaced:     3,225 nm (5,973 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h)
    • Submerged:   25 nm (46 km) at 5 knots (9 km/h)
  • Complement: 35 officers and men
  • Armament:
    • Tubes: 4 × 18-inch (457 mm) Whitehead torpedo tubes: one tube facing forward, one tube aft, two tubes amidships, one facing out to either side. One torpedo reload was carried for each tube, for a total of eight weapons on-board. Reloads for bow and stern were stowed adjacent to the tube (the midships tubes had the reload stowed above them), with warheads separated from the main bodies. The waist tubes had a hinged top section, which was opened to allow the torpedo to be lowered into the tube.
    • Torpedoes: 8 × 18-inch Whitehead Mk VIII torpedoes, introduced into service in 1913, this weapon carried a 320lb (145 kg) warhead packed with TNT and was designed for 35 knots with a 2500 yard range (65 km/hr with 2.3 km range). AE1had a full warload on-board when she was lost.
    • Small Arms: Officers’ side arms, some rifles, possibly some cutlasses, no machine guns.Note: The AEs did not have deck guns but some later versions of the E Class were so fitted, later in World War One.
This diagram of HMS/m E9 is for illustrative purposes only. E9 was a different batch to AE1 and had a number of differences, including two bow tubes and a deck gun.