b. 18/03/1881 Balbriggan, Ireland. d. 08/01/1960 Balbriggan, Ireland.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 14/09/1917 Hornsea Island.
Nicholas, one of nine children, was born in Balbriggan near Dublin, Ireland. His parents were John and Mary Rath (nee Doherty). By 1901, Nicholas was a fisherman still living at home with his parents. His father died in 1902, and Nicholas began working as an agricultural labourer so that he could work closer to home. He joined the Royal Naval Reserve for service in World War I and was stationed at Hornsea Island when they effected the rescue of Flight Commander De Ville. On 4th June 1919, Nicholas married Bridget Donegan in Balbriggan, and he lived the remainder of his life back in Ireland.
On the 14th September 1917, a seaplane collided with a Poulsen mast and remained wedged in it, the pilot (Acting Flight Commander E. A. de Ville) being rendered unconscious and thrown out of his seat on to one of the wings. The three men above mentioned at once climbed up the mast for 100 feet, when Rath, making use of the boatswain’s chair, which moves on the inside of the mast, was hoisted up by men at the foot of the mast to the place, over 500 feet from the ground, where the seaplane was fixed. He then climbed out on the plane, and held the pilot until the arrival of Knoulton and Abbott, who passed the masthead gantline out to him. Having secured the pilot with the gantiine Rath, with the assistance of Knoulton and Abbott, lifted him from the plane to the inside of the mast and lowered him to the ground. The three men were very well aware of the damaged and insecure condition of the mast, which was bent to an angle where the seaplane had become wedged. One of the three supports of the rnast was fractured, and, so far as the men knew, the mast or seaplane might at any time have collapsed.
BURIAL LOCATION: SAINTS PETER AND PAUL CHURCH, BALBRIGGAN, IRELAND.
SECTION D, GRAVE 512
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.