Ashcroft, George Thomas, GM1

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Last Rank
Petty Officer First Class
Last Primary NEC
GM-00TM-Torpedomen and Gunner's Mate merger
Last Rating/NEC Group
Gunner's Mate
Primary Unit
1915-1915, GM-00TM, USS F-4 (SS-23)
Service Years
1908 - 1915
GM-Gunner's Mate
One Hash Mark

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
New York
New York
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Eugene Claude Ipox, Jr., TM1 to remember Ashcroft, George Thomas, GM1c.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Clinton, NY
Last Address
Los Angeles, CA

Date of Passing
Mar 25, 1915
Location of Interment
Mare Island Naval Cemetery - Vallejo, California
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot: Section E, Row 8, Plot 572

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
In the Line of DutyUnited States Navy Memorial
  2015, In the Line of Duty [Verified]
  2015, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page

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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US Navy
  1915-1915, GM-00TM, USS F-4 (SS-23)
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Mar 25, 2015, General Photos1
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Service Number 165 06 03

On March 25, 1915, the F-4 departed Pearl Harbor in the company of two sister submarines to conduct normal training operations and had aboard only 21 of her crew as one crewmember had missed the sailing.  GM1 George T. Ashcroft was a crew member on this fateful day.   

Shortly after leaving Pearl Harbor the F-4 submerged but she experienced catastrophic failure and sank just 1.5 miles from the harbor.  The F-4 sank to a depth of 306-feet, much deeper than her designed maximum diving depth of 200-feet.  The F-4 had become the first commissioned submarine of the US Navy to be lost at sea.  The exact cause of the sinking has never been definitely established although the investigating board subsequently concluded that corrosion of the lead lining of the battery tank had permitted seepage of sea water into the battery compartment.  A drain was found to be plugged with debris which caused the accumulation of sulphuric acid permitting the leaking acid to corrode nearby steel.  As the submarine plunged downward chlorine gas formed and caused an explosion.  As sea water poured into her the enormous pressure opened her seams, flooding the vessel.  It was evident to examiners that the accident was not due to carelessness, negligence or inefficiency on the part of the crew and it was agreed the crew valiantly endeavored to bring the F-4 to the surface by the fact that all the diving apparatus were found set in the rise position.  Fifteen bodies were found in the engine room behind a closed hatch indicating they had sought refuge there before the depths allowed seawater to flood the entire hull.

In 1915 the depth of 306-feet far exceeded the depth to which Navy divers worked and no one had ever salvaged a vessel from such a depth before.  Herculean efforts by Navy divers eventually resulted in bringing the crushed remains to the surface and one diver was awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing another diver at the crushing depths at which they worked.  It was not until August 31, 1915, that F-4 was successfully brought back to Pearl Harbor.  After so long under water only four of the 21 dead could be identified.  The remaining 17-bodies were sealed in four caskets and taken to Arlington National Cemetery where they were buried in a common grave where the names of the 17-men are inscribed on a headstone memorial.  Newspaper accounts published at the time report the bodies of the four identified men were released to their families for burial.  

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