Links to the Armed Forces
Like many other Livery Companies the Mercers’ Company supports the United Kingdom Armed Forces and has specific links to all three Armed Services. From time to time members of the Company visit these Units, and Unit members are invited to Company events. The Company also makes financial grants to the Units as well as making specific presentations.
The Company’s first association with the Royal Navy was in 1666, assisting with the funding of the second ship ‘Royal London’. The Company was then associated with the modern HMS London from 1906 to 1998, when the ship was decommissioned.
In 1957 the Company formed an association with the 1st Batallion Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). In 1960 a regimental expedition conquered an unclimbed 9,000ft peak in the Canadian Rockies and named it Mercers’ Peak in honour of the Company. New Regimental and Queen’s Colour Belts were presented by the Company to the 1st Battalion in September 1967.
In 1968 the association continued with the 3rd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers to which the Company has made a number of gifts, including a set of guidon poles. To commemorate the tercentenary of its association with the City of London in 1985, the Regiment presented the Company with a statuette in silver of an 18th Century Regimental Drummer.
In 1992 the 3rd Battalion merged with the 1st and 2nd Battalions and the association continues with both of these. In 2000 the Company commissioned two identical silver cups, one for each Battalion, and known as the Mercers’ Fitness Trophies. They are competed for annually and awarded to the member of Battalion who achieves the highest score in the compulsory annual fitness tests.
Until 2007 the Squadron, one of the “Original Seven” squadrons first established in 1914, had the unique distinction of being the oldest continually serving combat squadron in the world, having never been disbanded. Sadly, this record was lost when the Squadron stood down at RAF Coningsby in 2007 when its Jaguar aircraft were retired from service.
On 6 September 2010 the Squadron was stood up anew at RAF Leuchars, in Fife, equipped with the Typhoon, the RAF’s latest and most advanced combat fighter aircraft. The Squadron immediately assumed responsibility for Quick Reaction Alert (Intercept) North in defence of the UK, and in April 2011 elements of the Squadron deployed to enforce a UN no-fly zone over Libya. The Squadron is also developing the sophisticated Air-to-Surface capabilities of its Typhoons, making No 6 a truly multi-role Squadron.
Silver competition trophies have been donated to the Squadron by the Company, along with a painting by the renowned aviation artist Mike Rondot, celebrating the retirement of the Jaguar. The painting hangs in the RAF Club Piccadilly; a reproduction is in Mercers’ Hall.
No. 344 (Fulham) Squadron, Air Training Corps
In 2009 the Company formed its first association with a cadet unit, No. 344 (Fulham) Squadron, Air Training Corps. The Squadron offers leadership and adventure training to young people aged between thirteen and nineteen, as well as occasional gliding and flying in RAF aircraft. In 2008 the Squadron won the coveted Shackleton Trophy for its demanding expedition to Sri Lanka.
In December 2010 the Company presented the Squadron with a three handled silver loving cup, inscribed with the Mercer Maiden and ‘344 (Fulham) Squadron Air Training Corps Mercers’ Company Challenge Cup’ and around its base ‘Awarded to the Cadet who best reflects all that is great about this Squadron’.