Mark Spencer's great uncle, Arnold Markey, left, pictured with a fellow Anzac. Markey was a First World War stretcher bearer who received the Military Medal for his work in retrieving wounded soldiers from the frontline trenches in France.
Mark Spencer's great uncle, Arnold Markey, left, pictured with a fellow Anzac. Markey was a First World War stretcher bearer who received the Military Medal for his work in retrieving wounded soldiers from the frontline trenches in France. CONTRIBUTED by MARK SPENCER.

Century old sunken ships show different side to WWI

UNDERWATER images showing the remains of battles a century old are among the photographs by Coffs Harbour diver and photographer Mark Spencer now on display at Yamba Museum

The exhibition was launched by Dr Spencer at an official function on March 27 and marks the centenary of Gallipoli this year and honours North Coast residents who fought in that war.

It features the work he and members of Australia's leading maritime archeology team did off Gallipoli in 2010.

This expedition documented the underwater battlefield off Anzac Cove and helped uncover a number of new shipwrecks.

Dr Spencer is an expert on the Turkish theatre of war and his work at Anzac Cove followed two earlier expeditions he led to the Sea of Marmara.

In 1998 they confirmed the identity of the Navy submarine AE2, Australia's second submarine.

Both the AE1 and the AE2 were sunk during the First World War.

 The Australian Navy's second submarine, the AE2, at Garden Island in 1915.
The Australian Navy's second submarine, the AE2, at Garden Island in 1915. CONTRIBUTED.

Dispatched to the Sea of Marmara with orders to 'run amok' in Turkish territory, the AE2 was forced to the surface by mechanical trouble after five days of action and was damaged by an enemy torpedo boat before being scuttled by its crew, whose members were captured by the Turks.

Also on display in the exhibition are images of two of Dr Spencer's relatives who served as stretcher bearers in Gallipoli and in France.

His great uncle Hector Markey was a stretcher bearer at Gallipoli and Hector and his older brother Arnold both served as stretcher bearers in France.

Arnold Markey received the Military Medal for his efforts to retrieve injured Australians fighting in the frontline trenches.

At one point a German shell landed very close while he and a fellow bearer were transporting a patient, blasting all three of them into the air.

Arnold, the only one of the three to survive, wrote a letter home to his parents from his hospital bed and a copy of that letter, which makes interesting reading, is part of the exhibition.

Also on display is a model of the AE2 submarine.

Beneath Gallipoli is open to the public at Yamba Museum until May 5. Entry is $5 adult, $3 child.


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