Nicholas Bernard Edwin Dawes AM

b. 23/01/1878 Paddington, London.  d. 30/07/1909 Krishnarajkatte, India.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 30/07/1909 Krishnarajkatte, India.

Nicholas was born in 1878 in Paddington, London, one of 12 children of Commander H. M. Dawes and his wife Elizabeth. Most of his childhood was spent in Bedfordshire. He joined the Royal Engineers, and in 1904, he married Lilian Nathalie Jesse in Tiverton, Devon. They had two sons both born in India, where Nicholas spent most of his military career. Nicholas was appointed Chief Engineer and Secretary to the Government of Mysore in 1906, and it was in this capacity he lost his life. The medal was presented to his widow on 12th October 1910 by King George V at Marlborough House.



On the afternoon of Friday, the 30th July, 1909, Captain Dawes was engaged upon the difficult and dangerous task of reconstructing a large dam across the Canvery River at Krisbnarajkatte, Mysore State, while the river was in full flood. Captain Dawes and a workman were on a raft towed by a boat consisting of two dugouts lashed together. Weighted barrels had been lowered to the river bottom from the raft, which was then pulled towards the boat and allowed to drift towards a hawser for the purpose of being drawn to an island in the river. While the party were being hauled to land the strong current caused the dugouts to heel over, and the coolies becoming frightened matters were made worse, the occupants of the last boat and raft haviug to jump into the river. Captain Dawes swam to within about 10 feet of the island, and then turned round and seemed to be counting the men to see that all were safe. He noticed one man being carried down midstream towards the breach, and swam out to help him. He was swept through the breach, and must have been dashed against a rock, as there was no shout for help or other signal of distress. His body was not recovered until three days later. The Indian was washed ashore some 500 or 600 yards down stream in a badly bruised condition.