Alfred Raquez real name revealed!

Alfred Raquez’s real name is a secret no more!

As part of my on-going research into Alfred Raquez, I stumbled upoon an article that reveals his true name.

It has long been known that “Alfred Raquez” was a pseudonym, but the man’s true identity, and the reason for his using a pseudonym, have been persistent mysteries.

This article, from La Croix newspaper of 27 June, 1907, reveals that his name was “Gervais.” Here is an image of that article. The full issue of the newspaper can be downloaded from here.

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 9.59.55 AM


A fairly rough translation reads:



You probably have heard that Raquez, the explorer of Laos who died a few months ago in Marseille, where he had gone, on behalf of the government, to represent this part of the Indochinese Union in the Exhibition [of 1906]. NB: Raquez died on 10 January, 1907.

 But now we can say that Raquez was named Gervais, sentenced ten years ago, in absentia, for theft of twenty thousand francs the Catholic Circle North.

 Raquez was first went to China , and then he came to Tonkin and traveled across Laos. The Indochinese press is unanimous in blaming the act of ex-deputy Chaudey who found nothing better than to disclose Raquez’s true name in Le Courrier d’Haïphong. Guilty, Gervais was; but Raquez by ten years of work and struggle to the credit of France, he has not paid the fault of Gervais?


While research is on-going, there are a few candidates for this Gervais, most likely a Joseph Gervais who lived in Lille and was active in the Catholic community organizations there. Much like Raquez, who was identified as an doctor of law and “avocat” in later documents in Saigon, this Gervais is also an “avocat” and seems to disapper from local records in 1897. Raquez first surfaces in Indochine in 1898.

I’m working on a biographical/bibliographical article on Raquez for peer-review, so if anyone has any imput into this exciting new information, please let me know.






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