On March 25, 1915, an American submarine, the F-4, went doom in 51 fathoms just a 1-1/2 miles off the coast of Honolulu during military operations.
The craft was originally christened the U.S.S. Skate, SS-23, but was renamed in 1911 and launched on Jan. 6, 1912. According to naval records, the F-4 was the first American submarine in active service to sink.
The captain of the F-4 was Lt. Alfred Louis Ede, graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, class of 1909, who had been appointed in 1905 by Sen. Francis G. Newlands of Nevada.
The F-4 was located on Much 28, but technical problems prevented any attempt to rescue Ede and his crew of 21 men. Three days later, Adm. C.B.T. Moore announced that the vessel could be raised only by using pontoons. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels took an interest in the effort and a crew of divers from San Francisco left for Hawaii on the cruiser Maryland on April 6.
One of the divers, Frank Crilly, descended 228 feet and discovered that the superstructure was filled with water. Another, William Loughman, went down 200 feet and was seriously injured by the pressure of the water. Other divers were able to attach cables so the submarine could be towed up the shelving bottom.
The stern was cracked and broken in the course of the tow, however, and work was halted until six pontoons, each capable of lifting 60 tons, arrived from Mare Island shipyard in August. On Aug. 30, the F-4 was raised and placed in dry dock.
An investigating team later conjectured that corrosion of lead lining of the battery tank had permitted the seepage of sea water into the battery compartment and caused the helmsman to lose control on a submerged run.
The F-4 was stricken from the Navy Register on Oct. 31, and services were held for the six crewmen, including Lt. Ede, whose bodies had been recovered. On Oct. 23, services for the young commanders were conducted at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington. D.C., with his widow and children in attendance.
The son of Walter Ede, a pioneer of Sierra valley in Plumas County, Calif., Alfred Louis Ede was married to Amanda McMillan, the daughter of William McMillan, Nevada state treasurer from 1911 to 1914. They had two children, Margaret and Alfred Jr.
Known by his classmates as "stoneface", Ede was described in his yearbook as a "flaxen-haired, savvy youth who preferred the billowy ocean waves to the alkali plains of his native land." He boxed at the academy, ran the mile on the track team and was a good student.
Following his graduation, Ede served on the West Virginia, a heavy cruiser; on the Truxton, a torpedo boat; and on the Alert, a vessel upon which he took submariner training. On July 11, 1911, he took command of the F-4 and was considered one of the best young officers assigned to that branch of naval service.