Resting on the seabed beneath the deep, dark, murky waters of Cobh Harbour lies the wreckage of the Aud.
By Joanne McDonagh
The question still remains: would the outcome of the 1916 rising be any different if the German ship carrying cargo of an estimated 20,000 rifles, 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition, 10 machine guns and explosives had reached its final destination, without being intercepted by British troops?
Disguised as a Norwegian ship, the Aud and her captain Karl Spindler with 22 crew members set sail from the Baltic port of Lübeck on 1916. They made their way towards the North Atlantic before heading south to the west coast of Ireland, bringing with them aid from the Germans for the Irish rebels of the 1916 Easter Rising.
Reaching Tralee harbour, the intention was for them to meet with Rodger Casement who would be arriving at the meeting point on a U-boat. A signal was sent from the Aud to let Casement know they had arrived but was never answered. Rodger Casement didn’t arrive in Ireland until the 21st of April. His U-boat landed on Banna Strand where he was later discovered and arrested by the Royal Irish Constabulary. The volunteers were also not expecting the Aud’s arrival until Easter Saturday so there was no hope of an organised transfer of arms.
Spindler grew tired of waiting and decided to leave, on doing so he is approached by the British Navy, the Aud is then seized and forced to sail towards Cork harbour. In order to prevent the precious cargo falling into enemy hands the captain and crew scuttle the ship leaving the arms lost to the sea, just off Daunt’s Rock. Captain Karl Spindler and his crew were taken prisoners aboard the Bluebell. Using pre-set charges of explosives in the aft hold, the Aud immediately began to sink, taking 10 minutes to disappear from view.
A number of dives of the wreck have been carried including one on June 2012, in which two of the ships anchors where discovered from the wreckage. Take a closer look at what remains of the ship in the video above.
Many thanks to Cork Shipwrecks, for sharing their images for this article.