RESIDENTS of Colchester are rightly proud of the town’s varied and long-standing military connections.

Colchester Garrison, which has been an important military base since Roman times, is now home to the world famous Parachute Regiment and played an important role in both world wars.

The town also had an important role in the Napoleonic and Crimean conflicts as well as more recent campaigns in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

But behind stories of far-flung and blood-soaked battles are the human stories of soldiers, which sometimes get lost or forgotten.

One of these stories is that of Jesse Jones, one of three veterans of the Battle of Waterloo who are known to have come from Colchester.

Captain Jones is buried in the grounds of St Botolph’s Priory in the town, although you’d be forgiven for not knowing.

Gazette: Jesse Jones' grave in the grounds of St Botolph's PrioryJesse Jones' grave in the grounds of St Botolph's Priory

Fellow military veteran Trevor Orton served 20 years as a Grenadier Guard which is, incidentally, the modern version of Mr Jones’ First Foot Guards unit.

Mr Orton wants to see Cpt Jones’ grave restored and will be sharing his story in a bid to shine a light his bravery.

He said: “The idea was to get in touch with the correct people to see if we could get the grave upgraded.

“I do not want to glorify the battle, I served 20 years in the service myself and I fought in several skirmishes, but I think he deserves to be remembered.

“Colchester has many artefacts such as the Roman ruins like the castle and the Roman wall which are visited by tourists and the proud residents of the town.

“I feel the final resting place of Captain Jesse Jones should be upgraded and he should once again be recognised as one of Colchester’s heroes and be included in the town’s history.”

Cpt Jones was born in Sussex in 1788, signing up for the army at the age of 18.

His first battle deployment was during the Battle of Barrosa, Spain, in 1808, where he was promoted on the field for an outstanding show of bravery.

Mr Orton said: “He recovered the regimental colour which had fallen during the battle.

“The colour was the only way troops would be able to identify the location of their comrades.

“Without it soldiers would become confused, disorientated and lose their sense of direction.

“This is the origin of Trooping the Colour, the Queen’s Birthday celebrations, where colour is trooped through the ranks.

“Losing the colour in battle would also bring shame to the regiment.”

After Barrosa, Cpt Jones fought at Badajos, Bergen op Zoom, the Siege of Cadiz and skirmishes in Holland and Belgium.

His final battle was at the famous Battle of Waterloo where he was knocked down by a musket shot, just before the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

Mr Orton said: “Having been shot through the chest he was evacuated from the battlefield.

“On his recovery he continued to serve his country and became the adjutant of the Essex Rifles until his retirement at the age of 52.

“He was awarded a full salary until his death and received a written letter from the king in gratitude and acknowledgement of his military services.”

After leaving the military he took up residence on a farm in Abberton, until he died in 1868 at the age of 81.

But the Jones family’s contribution to Colchester did not stop there.

The veteran fathered 16 children, the oldest at the age of 74.

His eldest son Henry served as on Colchester Council for 13 years and served as town clerk for three more.

Mr Orton will be at Cpt Jones’ grave, in the grounds of St Botolph’s Priory, for the open day on Saturday.

He hopes telling Cpt Jones’ story to members of the public will add weight behind his campaign to get the grave restored, in the hopes of it becoming another attraction for Colchester.

He said: “I will be there for the St Botolph’s Open Day and I am happy to answer questions from the public on Jesse’s story.

“If we can make people aware of the grave itself it will help with getting it upgraded.”

Anyone who may have further knowledge regarding Cpt Jones or his descendants should contact Mr Orton on 07961 932213.