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Cornwall's Regimental Museum in Bodmin offers a very human perspective on many of the key military events in history. Major (Retd) Trevor Stipling, Museum Curator, reveals the stories behind its collectionCornwall's Regimental Museum,housed in the Grade-II-listedKeep, in Bodmin, seeks to bringalive the history of the County Regimentof Cornwall. First opened in 1925, theMuseum follows from the regiment'sbeginnings in 1702 when the 'Fox'sMarines' were raised, right through tothe present day after the amalgamationin 2007 of several Light Infantryregiments to form 'The Rifles'. Themuseum is blessed with a small numberof dedicated and talented volunteersacting as historians and archivists toresearch items for the visiting public andundertaking essential work around themuseum (see box). The Museum hasestablished links with Bodmin DFAS,whose Heritage Volunteers have, in thepast, bound valuable books, which arevery delicate, and who regularly holdinduction training in the The Keep. Theirefforts are hugely appreciated and likeso many other attractions we simplywould not be able to function withouttheir willing support.Across the depot are displayedseveral paintings by Lieutenant WilliamLacy, who served with the 46th Regiment.He served in Gibraltar and the WestIndies between 1826 and 1844, beforeleaving the regiment to assume theappointment of Captain of Pensions. Onretirement, Lacy established a school forartists in Southampton. In 1952, theVictoria and Albert Museum purchasedabout 50 Lacy paintings, giving asignificant number to our museum.Another exhibit is a portrait painted byartist Stanhope Forbes of his son Alec,who was commissioned into the 6thDuke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Thepainting was sat for shortly before Alecwent to the front line. Sadly, he survivedonly a few days of action. StanhopeForbes, a founder member of theNewlyn School of artists, neverrecovered from this tragic loss.FAMOUS FIGURESHarry Patch of the 7th Battalion DCLI was just one of hundreds ofthousands of soldiers sent to theWestern Front. By the time of his deathin July 2009, not only had Patch beenthe last surviving soldier from thetrenches, but he had also been one ofthe last five veterans worldwide. TheRegimental Museum holds all of Harry'smedals, as well as several otherpersonal artefacts.Sir John Moore is another famousfigure featured at the museum. He led atCorunna and had formed the LightBrigade prior to the Peninsular War.Moore's importance in the evolution ofthe infantryman cannot be understated -he reformed training to encouragemutual respect and build individualconfidence. His influence helped createthe concept of the 'thinking soldier',while condemning the system of fearthat had for so long ruled army training. The museum also tells the story ofCornishwoman Emily Hobhouse. One ofthe biggest controversies of the BoerWar became the introduction of campsto house those left homeless by theBritish 'scorched earth' policy. WhenHobhouse visited these camps shediscovered them badly organised, withappalling sanitation and minimal foodrations. On her return to England shepublicised the awful conditions andfinally a commission in 1901 confirmedHobhouse's claims, and administrationof the camps was steadily improved.Unfortunately these actions were toolittle too late for over 27,000 Boers whodied in so-called 'concentration camps'over the course of the war.A LIGHT HISTORYThe main historical gallery traces thehistory of the Regiment from its formationwww.nadfas.org.ukNADFAS REVIEW / WINTER 201135Left:This portraitwas painted byartist StanhopeForbes of his sonAlec, who wascommissionedinto the 6th DCLIBelow:Cornwall'sRegimentalMuseum, homeof the Duke ofCornwall's LightInfantrycollection REGIMENTAL MUSEUMBeyond thebattlefield

REGIMENTAL MUSEUM36NADFAS REVIEW / WINTER 2011www.nadfas.org.ukin 1702 to its amalgamation with theSomerset Light Infantry in 1959. Themany wars and campaigns are put intothe perspective of the history of ournations by means of maps, pictures andartefacts. These include a MasonicBible, which was printed in England in1712, and was the family Bible of theWest family of New Bedford,Massachusetts. The Bible was acquiredby the regiment during a raid of NewBedford on 5 September 1778. It waslater captured by the Americans butreturned under a flag of truce. In thewars against Napoleon, it again fell intoenemy hands but was once againreturned under a flag of truce.The museum is perhaps unique in thatit also has a full collection dedicated tovoluntary forces - in this case displayingthe history of the Volunteer Militia, theHome Guard and the Territorial forces. The final collection turns the focus tothe history of the Light Infantry, whichwas formed by the amalgamation ofseveral famous county regimentsincluding the Somerset and CornwallLight Infantry in 1968. The display takes the visitor through the regiment'swork in several of the most notoriousconflicts in the latter part of the 20thcentury, from the Cold War to theNorthern Ireland troubles. There are fascinating stories behindmany of the exhibits. In January 1990,the joint RUC/2nd Battalion LightInfantry base at Newtonhamilton cameunder fire from an IRA multi-barrelledmortar. The four tubes were fired fromthe rear of a Toyota van, but only one ofthe bombs landed inside the base andluckily it failed to explode. The mortar ondisplay at the museum is the actualweapon used and was seized by theLight Infantry after the attack. There are hundreds of weaponsexhibited in the museum armoury,creating one of the best displays ofsmall arms in the country. The itemsdate from 1805 to the 1970s andoriginate from the USA, Germany, Italyand Australia as well as Great Britain. SIEGE OF LUCKNOWThe most famous battle that the 32ndRegiment was involved in, leading themto be honoured with the title 'LightInfantry', was the Siege of Lucknowduring the Indian Mutiny in 1857.Long-standing tensions betweenIndian 'sepoys' (soldiers) and the rulersfinally exploded as an uprising leading to a full-scale mutiny. Across NorthernIndia there were massacres ofEuropeans and the British foughtdesperately to save their communities.In Cawnpore, a detachment of theRegiment was repeatedly attacked by ahuge number of rebels. When theirsupplies were finally exhausted theyaccepted the rebels offer of freepassage to safety. However, onsurrender most were immediatelymassacred and those women andchildren who initially escaped werecaptured and murdered with theirbodies thrown down a well.The main body of the Regiment werein Lucknow and were under siege in theAbove:Themuseum boastsone of the UK'sbest small armscollections Right: Medalcollection of WWI veteranHarry PatchLeft:EmilyHobhouse was a staunchcampaigner forBoerrights