The cousin of famous Irish “Dracula” author Bram Stoker was commemorated in Australia on ANZAC Day this past weekend.
The Dubliner, Lt. Commander Henry Hugh Gordon Dacre “Harry” Stoker, a navy officer, screen actor and a renowned croquet player, was honored for his heroic war efforts during the Gallipoli campaign of World War I.
Stoker, born in Dublin in 1885, captained the first Australian submarine to penetrate the Dardanelles, the AE2, leading the first troops into the area on April 25, 1915.
Irish President Mary McAleese joined the Australian and New Zealand communities in Dublin in honoring Stoker’s heroism on ANZAC Day.
Back in Australia, a plaque was unveiled memorializing Stoker and his crew aboard the AE2.
Australian defense minister said: “AE2 was the first Allied submarine to penetrate the straits in an heroic effort that significantly affected the course of events of the Gallipoli Campaign.”
Stoker and his crew set out on a risky journey to cut Turkey’s supply lines, dangerously exposed to frequent attack.
Nevertheless, the Irish-led AE2 sunk a Turkish destroyer, created a path for other Allied subs and navigated its way into the Sea of Marmora. Eventually, the ship was sunk and the crew captured.
For over three years, Stoker was in Turkish captivity, enduring solitary confinement and months in prison camps.
At the war’s end, the Irishman traveled to England and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his heroic actions in 1915.
The Dubliner retired from the Navy in 1920 and went on to act in films such as “The Man Who Knew Too Little” (1934), and became Ireland’s croquet champion in 1962.
Lt. Commander Stoker died in 1966.