PLATTSBURGH — * 2 boys whose names are on the monument were killed during the war & buried at sea*

This is the notation at the top of Henry Fountaine's card for his plot — District 10, Section B, Lot 8 — in St. Peter's Cemetery located on South Catherine Street in Plattsburgh.

He and his wife, Lillian (LaFountain), erected a tombstone in their parish cemetery in memory of their sons, Charles and Kenneth, who died in the European Theater during World War II.

TWO SONS' SACRIFICE

PFC Charles H. Fountain enlisted in the U.S. Army on Oct 16, 1939 and was stationed in Plattsburgh until war broke out.

Assigned to the 1st Division, 26th Infantry , “The Blue Spaders,” he was killed in action in Sicily, according to a Press-Republican dispatch dated Aug. 29, 1944.

Pvt. Kenneth F. Fountain was assigned to the Med. Det. 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division during World War II.

He and his Ohioan brother-in-arms, Raymond L. Smith, were killed Aug. 18, 1944, during the liberation of La Roquebrussanne, which is located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.

Aug. 18 marks the 75th anniversary of their death, and La Roquebrussanne Mayor Michel Gros and Pierre Pillet, head of Language Faculty in Cambridge in the UK, summer resident of La Roquebrussanne and local history enthusiast, are keen to establish contact with relatives of Kenneth and James to let them know how their village still honors the these young Americans for the ultimate sacrifice they made on behalf of La Rocquebrussane's liberation.

RIGHT PLACE

John Burke is the manager of the Fountain Brothers American Legion Post 1619 in West Plattsburgh.

“This whole place is named after the Fountain Brothers,” John, the son of Harold and Valentina “Vickie” Burke, said.

“I am related through my Aunt Elise Burke. She married a brother of the two uncles that got killed. My father's sister married a Fountain. Her kids are Fountains.”

Charles and Kenneth's brother, Allen, married Elise Alice Burke (1913-1972), and their children were Thomas C. Fountain (1942-2012) and Garry A. Fountain (1946-1993).

Clifford, a NYSEG employee, married the former Isabelle Blaise.

Their two daughters are Mrs. Robert (Mary) Miner and Mrs. Martin (June) Selby.

John was born in 1943 and served in the U.S. Navy, 1962-64, during the Vietnam War.

“We worked on submarines, consequently I never went over,” he said.

An outlier, his three brothers were Marines.

“My father was in the Marine Corps,” John said.

“He was at Guadalcanal. All the cousins are almost all dead — Tommy, Allen. I knew the Fountains because they all lived here.” 

LEGACY OF HONOR

John has only been manager of Post 1619 for a year, but he has been a member of Post 1619 since 1965.

In the post is a wall that commemorates all the locals who have died in every conflict since World War II.

John gingerly takes down two plaster-of-Paris frames with convex glass that protect the images of Charles and Kenneth, who pose proudly in their uniforms.

These precious images were probably donated by their parents to the Post 1619, which was chartered in 1948.

“The first ones,” John said.

Email Robin Caudell:

rcaudell@pressrepublican.com

Twitter:@RobinCaudell

EDITOR'S NOTE

To get up to speed, read "In Search of Kin," which was published in the Aug. 3, 2019, edition of the Press-Republican.