By Beth David, Editor
Little information is available about the Blain Brothers, and indeed, even the parameters of the “square” named after them is not well defined, according to veterans officials in Acushnet, who rededicated the square and spruced up the sign there.
Fairhaven Veterans Agent Brad Fish and American Legion Commander Mike Jenney explained that when they scouting out places to install the Purple Heart Town signs, they noticed that the intersection of Middle Road and Mill Street had a sign for “Blain Square,” named after brothers Adrien and Henry Blain, who both died in World War I.
The sign, was old, barely legible, and made of wood.
Mr. Fish said he believed it was the original sign because it did not specify which World War. The new sign has the exact same wording as the old sign: “Blain Square. In memory of Adrien Blain and Henry Blain who died at the front lines of the World War. 1918 US Army.”
Officials were able to get only basic information on the brothers. Both enlisted in 1918 and were killed in 1918. Henry was a Prisoner of War and died in a POW camp.
It is unclear if the square is the triangle that is in the middle of the weird intersection/ merge point at Middle and Mill, or if it was somewhere else and got removed. The sign is on the side of the road, not in the middle of the square. In the square there is a plaque in memory of Pfc. Michael L. St. Pierre, Co. B 3rd Amtrac Battalion, 1st Marin Div., who was killed in action in Vietnam on July 25, 1969.
Mr. Jenney, Mr. Fish, and local historian and veteran Bill Comeau spent hours researching to find information on the brothers and the square. They found nothing on the square at all.
Mr. Comeau said he believed the brothers were born in Canada somewhere, and that is why there is not that much information on them locally.
He noted that it took a lot of time for information to get back to the local press.
According to those press reports, Henry Blain contracted influenza in the POW camp, “And it killed him,” aid Mr. Comeau.
He said the brothers died two weeks from each other.
Mr. Comeau thanked Mr. Fish and Mr. Jenney for getting the new plastic signs made.
“You guys got a sign made,” said Mr. Comeau. “I personally appreciate it. Because if we don’t do it, who’s going to?”
Selectboard member Bob Hinckley asked about the size of the square, and that is when it became clear that no one really knows.
Mr. Comeau said the sign was most likely moved to be safely within the Acushnet boundary, because that intersection is partly in New Bedford.
If anyone has any information on the square or on the Blain brothers, please contact the Acushnet Veterans Services Office, Selectboard, or the American Legion.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Fish is retiring as the Fairhaven Veterans Agent on 10/27/23, and Mr. Jenney has been hired to take his place.
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