Wednesday, 25 April 2012

AE2 'up the Narrows', 24-29 April 1915

Aboard Britain’s greatest dreadnought battleship, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, around midnight on the evening of the 25th April 1915, General Sir Ian Hamilton, the commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF), was shaken awake and called to receive a chilling wire from from Lieutenant-General Sir William Birdwood, the Anzac Corps commander.

Birdwood noted that the ANZACs had failed to take their objectives on the first day of the landing and the setbacks and confusion of the first day’s fighting at ANZAC Cove led his generals to recommended evacuation. Birdwood was not convinced and passed the advice on to let Hamilton to decide the fate of the landing. Having just received word that the Australian submarine AE2 had fought its way up through the Narrows over the course of the day, Hamilton answered:

… there is nothing for it but to dig yourselves right in and stick it out. It would take at least two days to re-embark you as Admiral Thursby will explain to you. Meanwhile, the Australian submarine has got up through the Narrows and has torpedoed a gun boat … you have got through the difficult business, now you have only to dig, dig, dig, until you are safe.

Hamilton, quoted by Rhodes James, Gallipoli, London, 1999, p.130 (reproduced at

On route to take part in the Dardanelles campaign, the AE2 is making her own way into Aden after being towed across the Indian Ocean by the HMAS Berrima (background) Source:
See this link for a great animation of the AE2's passage of the Dardanelles on 24-29 April 1915.
Painting of the AE2 under fire in the Narrows on the morning of 25 April 1915 Source:
And lets not forget the great deeds on land:
Charles Dixon, The landing at Anzac, 1915
From It was just breaking dawn, The landings at North Beach, 25 APRIL 1915 (reproduced at:
As dawn approached on 25 April, the crew of the Ribble watched anxiously as the first boatloads of Australians–men of the 9th, 10th and 11th Battalions–brought close inshore by battleships, headed for the hazy coastline ahead. The ship's captain, Commander Wilkinson, called out: 
Lights out, men, and stop talking. We're going in now. 
[C E W Bean, The Story of Anzac, Sydney, 1921, Vol I, p.249] 

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