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cannon used to scatter ashes

A send-off with a bang! Memorialised though a cannon blast

Now this is on the unusual side, a long time firearms enthusiast has had his ashes blasted out of a replica US civil war cannon. Now that is a proper send-off!

Julian ‘Boyd’ Mercer lost his fight with cancer in September at a the age of 49. He had been a longtime fan of competitive shooting and member of both the United States Practical Shooting Organization and the Spartanburg Practical Shooting Organization.

He had mentioned to his son Garris that he thought having his cremation ashes fired out of a cannon would be a fitting exit, Garris then went to arrange the ceremony.

So on a cool September morning family and friends gathered for the occassion. It began when a cannoner wearing a black arm band approached the cannon, which stood next to a Confederate flag. Then in accordance with Civil War tradition, the cannoner took down the flag and placed his arm band around it, to signify that it would not fly again for the rest of the day.

The gunner then readied the cannon for firing and lit the fuse. The roar that followed rocked the heavy iron gun, leaving smoke a ringing in the ears.

A sombre moment that was met with a mixture of cheers, tears and applause.

I like this – a unique and distinctive send-off. I was only left with one question, what is practical shooting? Is there impractical or reckless shooting clubs, actually scratch that, I don’t want to know – it scares me!!

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5 thoughts on “A send-off with a bang! Memorialised though a cannon blast

  1. Reply
    Kathleen Moss - 19th September 2019

    My shooting enthusiast and gunsmith brother’s ashes will be fired from a cannon in November at Bisley in England.

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 25th September 2019

      Sounds Brilliant Kathleen!

  2. Reply
    Jim - 8th June 2017


    I was there at this event.. Boyd was one of my best friends!
    Please drop me a note and I can explain what practical shooting is .

    1. Reply
      Richard Martin - 12th June 2017

      Please do…!

    2. Reply
      R. Wrights - 1st May 2020

      Can anyone tell me where I can contact someone to make these arrangements for my deceased family member?

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