Harry Fountain

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Harry Fountain

Capt Harry Fountain
Born 1902 (1902)
The Corn Exchange, Market Place, Boston
Died July 1997 (aged 94–95)
Education De-Aston School, Market Rasen; Ashby Grammar School, Ashby-de-la-Zouch; Boston Grammar School; Trinity House School, Hull
Occupation Apprentice, able seaman, sea captain, Boston Sea Pilot, Trinity House pilot (Milford Haven)
Employer John Stewart and Co, Port of Boston, Royal Navy

Harry Fountain was educated at Boston Grammar School.


From the February 1998 issue of The Old Bostonian

Captain Harry Fountain died in July 1997, at the age of 94.

His funeral service at St Nicholas' Church was followed by burial in the churchyard. His grave was on a plot and marked by a gravestone, both of which he had purchased nearly twenty years earlier!

He was one of Boston’s most colourful characters who, over the course of a varied career, had lived life to the full, and achieved everything he set out to do.

He was born in Boston in 1902, in a Public House (owned by his father) called the Corn Exchange, which stood on the site in the Market Place now occupied by Marks & Spencer. His education started in a small private school, housed in rooms over Mountain’s butchers shop.

Later, he moved to three grammar schools - De-Aston School, Market Rasen, then Ashby Grammar School, Ashby-de-la-Zouch and finally Boston Grammar School.

By this time, he had firmly decided upon realising his great ambition, to be a Boston Sea Pilot. The qualifications required in those days were 12 months in a square rigged sailing ship, and supported by a First Mate's Certificate. He left school without any qualifications and, undaunted, set about achieving his goal.

On his 16th birthday, he obtained employment with John Stewart's Shipping Company of London, and signed indentures for a four-year apprenticeship. After his apprenticeship, he sailed in ships as an Able Seaman, in order to obtain money to pay for his navigation studies and Certificate of Competence. Later he qualified as Master Trainer, taking his Captain's Certificate at Trinity House School, in Hull.

He sailed the world until, in 1934, he returned to Boston to do the job which, all along, he had intended - he became a Boston Pilot.

During the 1939-45 war, he served in the Royal Navy. He became a Trinity House Pilot, based in Milford Haven, and his job was to pilot all classes of warships and convoys in and out of Milford Haven.

After the war, he returned to Boston, to his old job, and remained a Boston Pilot until retirement at 65 in 1967.


Harry purchased his gravestone and burial plot at St Nicholas' Church nearly twenty years prior to his death. He told local residents that he wanted to make sure he was buried close to the Haven and port, so that he could ‘hear’ the water. The gravestone stood there waiting for Harry, with a blank space ready for his year of death, whenever that came. He reputedly decided against putting ‘1902 – 19 ’ just in case he lived into the 21st Century, opting to just have his year of birth instead.

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