G Troop RHA
INSIGHTS INTO THE LIFE OF ALEXANDER CAVALIÉ MERCER, COMMANDER OF G TROOP AT WATERLOO
How we made the great man sparkle
An appreciation of Mercer's legacy
Arconati of Gaasbeek
THE WATERLOO PYRAMID
Look what our research uncovered!
Mercer's extraordinary record of early Canada
MERCER FILMING WATERLOO
Mercer on the big screen, 1969/70
This content previously appeared on our grave restoration project website www.GTroopRHA.co.uk
If you'd like to learn more about the great man:
- Find his "Journal of the Waterloo Campaign" in our Favourite Books, and just start reading. You'll find the words start to leap from the page.
- Click on any of the short articles below (each opens as a PDF) to see where our admiration for his writing has taken us.
- For the full Mercer experience join our specific Cavalié Mercer G Troop RHA tours including Bruges and Ghent, following his tale and campaign routes of 1815.
- Appreciate this wonderful painting by the talented Mark Churms, who kindly permitted use of his work in the promotion of the ongoing Mercer grave restoration and project. It records an officer of the Royal Horse Artillery at Waterloo amongst the muddied and downtrodden crops. By chance Mark was raised in Exeter, just as we live here, just as Mercer did before us!
OFFICER R.H.A. WATERLOO 1815
Copyright MarkChurms.com 1998 All Rights Reserved
The following articles open as PDFs - just click on the image
Mercer's Grave Restoration
We found the grave of Waterloo's most famous junior officer in a neglected, sorry and forgotten state. Broken, darkened, covered in lichen, the eroded inscriptions barely visible. Time was doing its best to forget, so we decided to take action.
With the generous support of local societies, military organisations and Waterloo enthusiasts we led the project to restore his grave, this paper shares the journey of our endeavours.
A fitting tribute to the man whose writing has brought so much wonder to so many.
Waterloo 200 Descendants
Waterloo 200 was a fine event, supported in so many ways by so many people.
Part of this was the Descendant's book, where those descended from Waterloo participants could record and share the history of their family member who was there.
Mercer's only surviving son died without issue, so we were asked to write the entry for Cavalié Mercer whose fame justified an entry.
Most entries were short, so the full tale of his life must be told elsewhere (we're working on it).
This is what we wrote, we hope we did the man, and those that he led, sufficient justice.
The 'Mad' Marquis
Enquiring about my interest in British officers visiting Kasteel Gaasbeek in 1815 the archivist gently replied with the words "Cavalié Mercer" ... "I have been waiting for this day all of my life."
Such moments are priceless, and the team from Belgian Heritage have shown me very great kindness on this and subsequent visits.
An extraordinary place, featuring heavily in Mercer's journal, with an equally intriguing owner, the Marquis Arconati.
Once mayor of Brussels, he owned 17 villages, corresponded with Talleyrand, with a British Naval officer and a London wine merchant. We have plenty more to work our way through!
To my mind the man was unique, one of a kind, the 'mad' moniker being unjustly applied.
The Waterloo Pyramid
Revealed with great pride by the archivist at Kasteel Gaasbeek, this document was the start of a wonderful trail that encouraged us to dig deeper into the remarkable Marquis Arconati. His relationship with British, Dutch and Belgian troops, and formerly with Napoleon and leading lights of the Empire, took us to the Waterloo battlefield itself and the story of the construction of the Lion Mound and other public projects proposed in the aftermath of the battle.
This paper is just a little entree into how one man responded to Belgium's unenviable location as one of the major military highways of Europe.
Halifax in Watercolour
Tracking down a Canadian author, I was delighted to receive such a generous response, a man who shares an excitement for Mercer, but from an entirely different perspective.
Many British officers showed great talent in sketching and painting, all part of an Artillery or Engineer officer's training. Amongst the most treasured are the exceptionally rare early depictions of what became Canada.
So Mercer was both a colourful artist and a colourful writer.
Copies of the book are available from us in the UK, sold in support of the annual professional cleaning of Mercer's grave.
The Almeys of G Troop RHA
The Parish of Earl Shelton, Leicestershire, boasts not one, not two, not three, but four servicemen of the Royal Horse Artillery at Waterloo, three of whom were from the Almey family, serving in G Troop RHA. Nathaniel Almey with his cousins Samuel & George, whilst Jacques Raven served in Whinyates' Rocket Troop RHA. "From Earl Shelton to Waterloo", a book by Paul & Sarah Seaton makes intriguing reading for those interested in this local history and the 2015 memorial.