Trevor Jones of the 32nd Cornwall Regiment of Foot, interviewed by Sophie Hodge. Image from ‘Unseen Waterloo’ the Conflict revisited, by Sam Faulkner.
June 16th-18 marks 203 years since the Battles of Quatre Bras and Waterloo, a period of much importance to Colonel Jones of the 32nd (Cornwall) Regiment of Foot – AKA Trevor Jones, Maintenance Volunteer at Cornwall’s Regimental Museum.
Trevor has been running his own decorating company since 1971, and amazingly comes all the way from Camborne to volunteer with us whenever the museum needs a lick of paint.
Trevor has been re-enacting since 1972, when he was part of the Sealed Knot (Civil war) re-enactment group. He is now with the 32nd Cornwall Regiment of Foot re-enactment group, one of the regiments which preceded The Light Infantry and the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.
For context, Trevor is about to take part in a Waterloo era re-enactment. As I’m interviewing him, he is sitting opposite me in full Colonel’s regalia from the Waterloo period. His silver topped cane, complete with Wellington’s head, is resting against the desk, and I can tell this is not going to be my usual volunteer interview.
Trevor, where did your interest in re-enacting the 32nd of Foot begin?
My interest in the 32nd regiment started when I was 15, in the DCLI cadets. In 1979 I joined the army cadets as a sergeant instructor, and in around 1982 I transferred to the TA, where I was until 1996.
In 1992 my son was killed, we were in the TA together. I was presented with an envelope – every member of C company, 6 LI had put inside a part of their wages so that I could buy a headstone for my son. I knew I could never repay them for this, so I went out and got my 32nd of foot uniform made, and from there it’s been my quest to keep the history of the regiment going as long as I can, because they gave me so much. We’re keeping their heritage alive, and with a bit of luck we’ll carry on for another couple of hundred years.
What made you choose to volunteer at Bodmin Keep?
Because that’s our home! It’s the home of Cornwall’s own Regiment. I heard years ago that they were trying to shut the place, and we have to do as much as we can to keep it alive. Military regiments are always amalgamating and losing traditions, but this means a lot to me.
(NB – the museum is not under immediate threat of closure, but if you’d like to read more about the cuts to our funding and the future of the museum, please sign up to our newsletter, or click here to find out how to support us).
What would you say is your favourite object in the museum?
The medals and then the weapons. All that history and all those stories behind all the medals – and we only know the bits they tell you about!
Any final thoughts for us, Trevor?
It’s part of my life this place, I’d spend every day here if I could. I think it’s everyone’s duty to come here, especially Cornish people. I would like everyone to know more about our regiments, and the period the 32nd of foot were involved in. People should know more about our history and Cornwall’s history.
The members of the 32nd of Foot re-enactment group represent real soldiers, and are appealing to the public to help them to find the soldiers of Quatre Bras and Waterloo so that they can be commemorated and remembered. If you would like to learn more, or have any information to share, please visit the appeal page.
I’d like to say a huge thanks to Trevor – not only for allowing me to interview him, but for all the painting and decorating work he does here at the museum, for entertaining us all at the events that the 32nd of Foot put on here at The Keep, and most of all for the dedication that he and the other members of the 32nd of Foot show in keeping the history of the Regiment alive.