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27th October 2023 - Doncaster Auctions The only independent racing pigeon weekly - over 125 years serving the fancier

Racing Pigeon The only independent racing pigeon weekly – Over 125 years serving you the fancier £1.70 27 OCTOBER 2023 • No. 7351

WALTER BOSWELL A model of consistency in Lanarkshire Federation



Walter Boswell with his top performance yearling ‘Shorty’. See page 4 SQUILLS 2024 AVAILABLE NOW

Gerald Delaney holding his 1st Open INFC Skibbereen YB National Winner 2023 of all N Ireland. This hen the previous week was 20th Open NIPA Skibbereen YB National 2023. ONE WEEK TO GO – GET YOUR TICKETS ONLINE NOW Doncaster Pigeon Show Saturday 4th November 2023 or contact us on 01206 250880

‘NYLAND VULCAN’ GB12J07432 1st Section, 49th Open National Flying Club Messac 220 miles 7,053 birds 2015 1st Section, 5th Open British Barcelona Club Fougeres 191 miles 1,864 birds 2015 1st Section 25th Open British International Championship Club Le Mans 236 miles 3,063 birds 2015 Bred and raced by John Halstead, Nyland, Gillingham





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The Only Independent Racing Pigeon Weekly and e -edition Over 100 Years Serving You The Fancier Breaking news at

List of Articles… ‘Tushka’s’ Performances (Front Page Pigeon Photo) • Armstrong, Shergold, Johnson & Moon, winners of 4x1st UNC, 1x2nd UNC and 5x3rd UNC • Markey Makes his Mark in the Mighty NIPA – Owen Markey • Two Centuries of To-The-Compass Racing by Philippe Martin • Stuart Wilcox – 1st & 2nd

27 OCTOBER 2023 Issue No 7351 The Racing Pigeon Co Ltd, PO Box 12760,

Colchester, CO1 9TZ Phone 01206 250880

Fougeres National Flying Club 2023 • Success at the First Attempt – Anstee & Richards 1st Welsh Continental Classic Tarbes • Apprenticeship Served – ‘Willie’s Legacy by Darren Hamilton • Multiple National and Triple International winner – Mark Gilbert of Winkfield, near Windsor • A Lifetime with Pigeons – Cartridge & Hall • Short & Overall Federation Champions of Malta Season 2022-2023 – Chris Grima & John Camilleri • An Afternoon with Steve Wallis • Surrey’s Premier Fanciers –Terry & Sue Leonard of Carshalton • Flying in the Face of Adversity – John Smale of Abergavenny • Another Successful Old Bird Season in 2023 – Berry & Matthews • Craig Halbert from Eastriggs, 1st Open SNFC Falaise 2023 • History is Made Again in the London North Road Combine by John & Richard Turnell • The Dirty Dozen – Mr & Mrs Dave Stone, Derbyshire • Mauriusz Sorokosz, Belgium – 1st International Narbonne 2023 12,196 yearlings • Building on a Legacy – It’s All in the Breeding – Mark Bulled of Harlow • Dean Ward – 1st Up North Combine Maidstone Old Bird National 2023 • The Secrets of a Good Winter Breeding

Editor: Lee Fribbins Production: Stephen Rickett Advertising, Subscriptions: Carly Huggins

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View 10am – Sale 11am Mark Gilbert, Windsor Sale of Super Sprinters View 12 noon – Sale 1pm Woods & Batch, Norwich Major Stock Bird Reduction


Doncaster Pigeon Show Saturday 4th November 2023 CATERING FOR THE NEEDS OF FANCIERS IN EVERY ASPECT • FREE PARKING • DOORS OPEN – 9.15am-5pm £10 ENTRANCE – UNDER 16’S FREE Tickets available from

MARK EVANS – HoE – AUCTION AREA 4 – – NIJINSKY SUITE View 10am – Sale 11am Matt Munslow Direct Van Vugt Donckers and self bred from directs

View 11.30am – Sale 12,30pam Dutch Spring Exchange Golden Collection Auction

For the first time the organisers of the Expo Houten – Spring Exchange and the Doncaster Racing Pigeon Show cooperate in an auction. A small selection of well performing fanciers who yearly sell their young birds in Expo Houten-NL will now offer a few of their best in this auction. Worthwhile having a look because of the broad variaty of bloodlines. Mostly sprint and middle distance and few distance birds at the end of this sale! You have Spring Exchange pigeons on your loft? Most likely you find here good birds for pairing up against your own.

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Payment at the door also now available

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trained intensively over the non racing months and kept going into early season and are ready for the early races. He has devel- oped some cracking birds from this source and again it allows him to continue training that keep him motivated when not racing. His birds are up there with the best trained birds in the Federation with possible 15 trainers before the first old bird race. He doesn’t shy away from adverse weather as with regular flights the birds are well aware of their flight path. He said the book 101 methods by Jules Gallez was very insightful and well worth a read about motivation in pigeons. So what about the management of the feeding and water – Beginning of season the birds receive two-thirds Barley one-third Bamfords Widowhood mixture on return from training, feeding only once per day for thirty minutes then removed. Over 200 miles half Barley half Bamfords Widowhood. Last two races 350 and 450 miles three-quarters Bamfords Widowhood quarter Barley. Friday 10am couple of handfuls of conditioning seed and that’s it. In the water he likes the product Quill Boost Tonic. This was developed for poultry and has essential ingredients to keep the birds in great condition. It also lowers the PH level of

they are great one day pigeons. As earlier stated Walter’s National perform- ances were brilliant into the West Section of the National with Silver award winners and Dewar Trophy winner (Best long distance pigeon 2018) in his record to back this up. He has got disillusioned with distance racing and now only enters in the Inland National races. Walter is a great ‘All Rounder’ and remark- ably it’s based on the Natural system of nest cycle and youngsters flying Natural, no Darkness. Walter says he has always flown the Natural way with the birds being trained very hard from around 30 miles most days. He says its a way of life for me to train pigeons its in my DNA. The getting up early, the full routine he loves. Walter trains where most don’t dare to go. He trains the direct line of M74 which is the main road link between Scotland and England. Most will not train because its reported to be the most dense area of Falcons in lower central Scotland. Walter says he has been training there for a number of years and has been getting fantastic training. His assessment is the Hawks are moving with the food source and because most Feds fly east that’s where they are going. Since moving from a more easterly training area he states his results have greatly improved as the birds are finding a better breaking point back into Lanarkshire and also for Inland National racing. Food for thought, not for the Falcons! I said to Walter it was remarkable the amount of pool pigeons he scores with and how he picks them. He says he pools five birds in his club, which has a healthy purse to be won. Their pool is two bets £1 pool and £2 pool winner takes all. The number of times he scopes the lot is remarkable. So what’s the secret. Walter says on Wednesday or Thursday he will select five pigeons to super motivate that week. This can be winding up a cock with another cock in his box or let the cocks hen out loft with another

Walter Boswell is an exceptional pigeon fancier who has a fantastic level of consis- tency that makes him an ‘All round pigeon fancier’. Over the last few seasons he has been concentrating his team on the Lanarkshire Federation programme and Inland National races. Their has been many fantastic National performances over the previous years but lately Walter has turned to the sprint/middle distance events. He has adapted his new team of Performance UK Stud Pigeons over the last few seasons to be

Walter’s trophy cabinet.

cock and sit the pigeon in a basket to watch them. Taking away a partner and make one feed a youngster or sit nest. Add extra eggs to the nest, add a youngster earlier than the hatch day. In its simplicity it’s brilliant! Five poolers each week, super motivation. As stated the youngsters are flown on Natural cycle, early bred with stock being paired end of December early January. Walter has developed a team of 15 pairs of John Short stock to breed from. One reliable pair he calls the McPheat Pair. The McPheat’s partnership are members of Clarkston club and also invested in the best possible lines Performance Pigeons UK. Walter has great friendship with Clarkston members and during his weekly social visits on a Tuesday night to the club hut, he got to talk about a pair of pigeons the McPheat had

one of the best performance lofts in Lanarkshire Federation. Walter can’t talk highly enough of John Short (Performance Pigeons UK) pigeons, these are based on Frans & Gert Rondags, Van den Bulck’s, ‘Kittel’ and John’s own performance pigeons. He says the number of Walter Boswell with his top performance yearling ‘Shorty’.

purchased from John Short and the partnership couldnt get to pair up. Walter offered to take them over as he has a individual pen section for such use. This pair have proved great at stock producing top some really handy pigeons, with youngsters going to both parties. There is always great banter between the lads throughout the winter months on Tuesday nights in the club. Walter has retained three pairs of his performance Louella Jan Aarden birds that have served him very well in the past, something that’s proven at the distance events. These are bred from the cream of all the best lines that proved themselves at 500-600 mile mark into the West Section of the Scottish National. Racing – At the start of the season Walter wants his birds to be fit, to get the birds going he will force them up into the air using anything he thinks will upset them, laughing on his reflection of using a potato in a plastic bag he swings around and throwing it up or using a sling to scare the birds off neigh- bours roofs, although his direction isn’t the best hitting the wrong things he laughed. Walter also loves a team of later bred youngsters that are road

winners that have come out of this Stud in its short existence is phenomenal. Winning for Walter – 14x1st West Section wins in Lanarkshire Federation. Last year alone they won 39 Section prizes in six races, YB racing only. One hen to win three National prizes and £1,000 in pools. This is top performance racing. Winner of OB Inland Averages Lanarkshire Federation 2023; 1st West Section All Old Bird Races Average winner 2023; 2nd Overall in All Old Bird Average Races 2023; 1st West Section Combine Averages All Races 2023; 3rd Overall Combine Average Lanarkshire 2023. Winner of 25 Section prizes in top 15 of West Section 2023; Winner of 3x1st West Section 2023; Winner of 4x2nd West Section 2023; Winner of 3x3rd West Section 2023. 7x1st Club wins in Burnbank club 2023. Blue yearling cock ‘Shorty’ won 1st Club 2nd Section 3rd Open Billericay 343 miles and 10th Section 30th Open Guernsey 440 miles. Showing they are scoring at the longer races on the programme. Walter says he is still analysing what strain are best for what distance, but early signs showing

Inside racing section.

the water killing any germs. Walter introduces only clear water to drinker Thursday evening and Friday as he says the birds don’t like the taste and he likes them to be fully hydrated on going to race. Tip from Walter is to slowly increase the amount of Quill Boost over the first week until birds get the taste. Every three weeks during the season they have a Canker treatment product in the drinkers. The birds receive cod liver oil or peanut oil on the feed but with no great regu- larity. He also uses a multivit (tablet form) you can buy in supermarket every so often. One drop lice control on the neck and vinegar in bath water. Walter has in the past suffered mysterious illness in his flock with apparently healthy youngsters stuck down after returning from races. Since using this product and making sure the birds are vaccinated twice with Colombovac vaccine for Paramxyo their health has been excellent. The season started with 43 racers and 46 youngsters. He had a horrendous training flight from the east (went to let them see that

Walter’s racing loft.

THE RACING PIGEON 27 OCTOBER 2023 side of country, don’t think he will be back) with only 18 homing on day. Over the next few weeks some returned some were reported with the numbers up to 30. Walter says some returned in very poor condition and took up to four weeks to recover and some unfortunately didn’t.


go down the old route which is west. He says its a must for us to learn the birds to come the quickest route and not doglegging from the east. If you want to win at the highest level then this is the route to train and race. One loft racing is not for him, he likes to breed, train and race himself. Family balance, he laughed saying there isn’t any balance it’s always pigeons. Showing of pigeons, he says he doesn’t really enjoy showing but always likes to support Clarkston shows, enjoying the company more than the show. He said many a year ago a few doo men used to go to a local pub for a great wee social but this hasn’t been the case for many a long year. He said it was sad to see GWP Macaloney partnership finishing in the sport as they were the ‘Gold’ standard that set the bar in Lanarkshire. He has brilliant memories of his time in the sport, the timing of all poolers at 500 miles on the night, getting that buzz when you see the wings of a winner shutting to hit the boards. Many many great memories and great friend- ship from keeping his pigeons from the first time he seen a pair of feral birds going to nest as a boy. Well thanks again Walter for a fantastic day and sharing some excellent information on your management. Tom Corrie jnr Lanarkshire Press Officer Driffield HS 5 members sent 67 birds with the red card going to G & G Ringrose on 1576 with a Sean Hunt x Louis Thijs bred by Rob Mallinson. Second place went to George Atkinson on 1496 with a Vandenabeele. Third place went to G & G Ringrose on 1476 Louis Thijs bred by Rob Mallinson. Fourth place went to G & G Ringrose on 1476 Stefaan Lambrecht x Patrick Boeckx bred by Rob Mallinson. North Hull Club 10 members sent 115 birds with the red card and 3rd place going to Richard Crawford on 1594 & 1580 with a pair of Darren May Van den Bulck’s. Second & 4th places went to Michael Foster on 1587 & 1559 with a pair off Wayne Brownlee Krugers x Alan Stone Heremans-Ceusters. Hessle FC 3 members sent 36 birds with the red card, 2nd & 3rd places going to S B Milburn on 1566, 1450 & 1434. Fourth place went to T Tasker on 1434. No details. West Hull FC 5 members sent 108 birds with the red card & 4th place going to Jamie Martindale on 1606 & 1555 with a pair of cocks. Second place went to Darren Allen on 1595 with a Koopman x Vandenabeele cock. Third place went to Darren Allen on 1555 with a Heremans-Ceusters hen. South Section Brigg FC 7 members sent 121 birds with the red card & 3rd place going to Kevin Good on 1574 & 1528. Second & 4th places went to J Jacklin on 1531 & 1513. No details given. South Section these two club had a separate liberation Foxhills FC 6 members sent 131 birds with the red card going to Mr & Mrs Dean on 1596. Second & 3rd places went to Stacey Simmons on 1588 & 1586. Fourth place went to Graham Stow on 1585. No details. Barrow HS 7 members sent 244 birds with the red card going to Keith Atherton on 1644 with a gift bird off Phil Bolton of Beverley. Second & 3rd places went to Keith Atherton on 1644 & 1643 with a pair of Heremans- Ceusters. Fourth place went to Keith Atherton on 1643 with a Van den Bulck.

At this time he went calling to Performance Pigeons UK and purchased 20 birds to supplement the team. These took time to settle as they were already on their third flight. They initially weren’t for sale but John agreed to part with them. So these birds in Walter’s thoughts were rushed by him into training and raced from 100 miles and what managed to home was put aside for the following season. The lofts consist of one section breeding areas and sections for stock and racers. They are open fronted with large sections with easy bed on the floor which is changed at key times of the season. He would like to thank ‘Troy’ his next door neighbour who does a great job cleaning the boxes and perches every Sunday and Alec McPheat who cleans the floors when needed. When speaking with Walter arriving at 10.30am and getting into the grove talking pigeons to realise it was 2.30pm in what felt was no time because of his great enthusiasm and dedication to his sport. He has a youthful approach wanting to go to every race. If a pigeon gets lost he has a positive approach feeling another will take the place. He has lost top pigeons, one being a cracking hen going for their Gold awards and that is hard to

Montage of his top performance National birds.

hand they sit very well. Very powerful, strong back and bold headed. They are very much the feel they are my type of pigeon. There is no question, Walter Boswell is a top pigeon fancier who can change and evolve for whatever type of racing he wishes to fly. He is always up there at the top end of the average board. Next season will see him with a stronger team of 46 that have raced and 18 that have been trained well. He is looking for around 50- 60 YBs for his team. The question was asked on preferred route for racing east or west, Walter would prefer to

accept but he carries on with his goal. So what are his goals, it’s to win the best averages in the Lanarkshire Federation and compete at National level in the Inland National races. Walter is not one for stopping his yearlings with them competing in the Inland Nationals or the last races of the Lanarkshire programme. I was really impressed with the quality of pigeons handled. Although not at their best in feathering due to being in the moult the general feel and quality was there. They are quite deceiving, they look bigger but when in


For the race from Jubilee Park on 26th August there were 2,739 birds liberated in a south west wind. Topping the Federation and the Coastal South Section is Kerry & Lisa Mellonby & Stewart Knowles of Flamborough on 1687.4. Topping the Central Section and seconds behind was John Eastburn of Hull on 1687.3. Topping the North Section is Alister Tankard & Bob Bedford of Wolds club on 1672. Well done to everyone on the result. Notification: The clubs have been sending many messages about the racing having had such a brilliant season and a big thank you goes to Race Controller Gary Cox for this also trans- port manager Craig not forgetting our important Convoyers. Coastal South Section Flamborough HS 7 members sent 201 birds with the red card going to Kerry & Lisa Mellonby & Stewart Knowles on 1687 with a Willem de Bruijn bred by Sean Thurlow. Second & 3rd places went to Kerry & Lisa Mellonby & Stewart Knowles on 1687 & 1685 with a pair of self bred Willem de Bruijn’s. Fourth place went to Mr & Mrs Hoggard & T Ellis on 1682 with a late bred Stefaan Lambrechts hen on the Natural. Holderness FC Kenny Lister sent 63 birds, on 1639, 1637 & 1636 (2) bred off his family of winning pigeons. Withernsea HS 4 members sent 62 birds with the red card, 2nd & 3rd places all going to Dean Adamson on 1598, 1553 & 1524 all with his Clive Lister of York birds. Fourth place went to Alec & Margaret Dodson on 1520 with a Clive Lister bird. Coastal North Section Wolds FC 4 members sent 110 birds with the red card for the fourth young bird and 4th place going to Barry Temple on 1681 & 1674

granddaughter from his Stafford hen. Kingston FC 9 members sent 199 birds with the red card going to Gary Cox on 1676 with a Van den Bulck hen. Second place went to Gary Cox on 1666 with a ‘Best Kittel’ from Sangers stock. Third place went to Gary Cox on 1647 with a Heremans-Ceusters from the ‘Bolt’ family. Fourth place went again to Gary Cox on 1638 with another off his Bulck. Beverley & District Club 8 members sent 140 birds with the red card going to Philip Bolton on 1667 with a John Eastburn hen bought at the YMRF presentation. Second place went too hard worker Mick Mallinson on 1638 with a Paul Woodmansey cock. Third place went to Mick Mallinson on 1595 with a Nigel Perry Van den Bulck x Premier Stud Heremans-Ceusters hen. Fourth place went to Mr & Mrs Tony Robinson on 1576 with a Rob Mallinson special. Hull Chalk Lane Club 9 members sent 247 birds with the red card going to George & Angie Rudd on 1605 with a self bred off Heremans-Ceusters Fed winner which has already had a 1st Sleaford. Second place went to Phil Irving on 1566 with a G Horton ‘Pitbull’. Third place went to Bob Smith on 1559 with a Carrera x Busschaert. Fourth place went to Brian Rowson on 1552 with a David Sara Heremans-Ceusters. Hull Millennium Club 9 members sent 186 birds with the red card going to hard working Secretary Paul Stamford on 1627 with a Sticker Donker. Second place went to Paul Stamford on 1589 with a gift bird off Dave Robinson. Third place went to Mr & Mrs Hall on 1577 with a Shane Redding x Pete Dixon. Fourth place went to Mr & Mrs Hall on 1576 with a Shane Redding bird. Cottingham HS 6 members sent 133 birds with the red card, 2nd, 3rd & 4th places all going to Ian Bennitt on 1655, 1648 & 1647 (2) with his Shane Redding Heremans- Ceusters and back on his winning form.

with a pair off his winning Lambrechts. Second place went to Callum Gilson & Grandad Frank Sheader on 1679 with a self bred off their Woodruffe Bros x Willie Thijs birds. Third place went to Callum Gilson & Grandad Frank Sheader on 1677 with a Lambrecht. Scarborough Social Club 8 members sent 179 birds with the red card, 2nd & 3rd places all going to Andy Moon on 1617 & 1616 (2) with his self bred Heremans- Ceusters off his stock pigeons. Fourth place went to Terry & Paul Douthwaite on 1612 with their ‘Big Smithy’ lines. Well done Terry for picking the sponsored pigeon and well said it is experience that counts. Whitby Premier Club 6 members sent 148 birds with the red card going to S Mallinson & Son Robert on 1625 with a Frans de Coux x Louis Thijs cock. Second place went to S Mallinson & Son Robert on 1625 with a Frans de Coux x Louis Thijs x Louis Thijs x Karel Boeckx this cock was 2nd last week. Third place went to S Mallinson & Son Robert on 1625 with a Louis Thijs x Louis Thijs hen and has had 2x3rd Sleaford. All Robert’s are flown on the Darkness and sliding doors. Fourth place went to Paul Abbott & Son Darren on 1625 with a Chris Vasey Romein-Klein nestmate to last weeks winner. Paul & Darren win the pools. Central Section Ravenser FC 9 members sent 243 birds with the red card going to John Eastburn on 1687 with a cock bred off ‘J Ring’ Fed toppers x Tim Atkins ‘Foxy Lady blood’. Second place went to John Eastburn on 1686 with a self bred off a grandson of ‘J Ring’ x grand- daughter of Stafford hen. Third place went to John Eastburn on 1686 with one bred off his Stafford hen on both sides also a previous card winner. Fourth place went to John Eastburn on 1686 with one bred from a

Sue Skelton, YMR Fed Scribe



he was gifted six youngsters by friend and work colleague Ralston Graham, one of which became known as ‘Becksburn Producer’ and was bred direct from Ralston’s mealy cock ‘Esk Valley Traveller’ when paired to a noted black hen. ‘Esk Valley Traveller’ was 1st Section 13th Open Nantes, 27th Section 57th Open Avranches and 5th Section 115th Open Rennes’ whilst the black hen was 1st Section 3rd Open Avranches. Having obtained the pigeons from Ralston, Derik then went to Jimmy Irving at Annan who was co-breeder of ‘Solway King’ and purchased a blue chequer cock, which was bred from a grand daughter of ‘Solway King’. Derik then made arrange- ments to visit Frank and Tommy Gilbertson at Carlisle, with the intention of purchasing a cock. On telling Ralston Graham that he was going to Carlisle, he was advised that if there were any young mealy pigeons available to buy one of them as there was a chance it might have been bred from the partners good pigeon ‘The Quiet Man’, which was incidentally, also a mealy. Lo and behold there was a mealy in the batch of youngsters, Derik purchased it and subsequently learned that it was indeed bred from ‘The Quiet Man’. Derik paired ‘Becksburn Producer’ to the chequer cock obtained from Jimmy Irving and produced a hen that was named ‘Becksburn Nica Nora’ which was in turn paired to the mealy cock obtained from Frank and Tommy Gilbertson, that was named ‘Becksburn Gilbo’ and this pair of pigeons bred ‘Becksburn Courage’ and ‘Becksburn Cathella’, that both gained SNFC Gold Awards. Importantly these two pigeons formed a dynasty with a succes- sion of winners coming through the loft over several decades. In subsequent years the Gold Award winners were mentioned in the breeding details of many of Derik’s winners but as our readers must understand, behind the Gold Award winners was their sire, the mealy cock that was obtained from Tommy Gilbertson. David & Rosemary Osborne from Locharbriggs, Dumfries, have shared a long-time friendship with Tommy

pigeons. It was said locally that the three friends met in Annan each Saturday night and if, as there often was, a Quoiting Tournament in progress they stood and watched the play, otherwise they walked along Annan High Street with the conver- sation being totally ‘pigeons’. It was Frank Gilbertson who arranged the Dispersal Sale of the Will Robertson pigeons following the Annan fancier’s death. The most prominent individual pigeon owned by Will Robertson was the great Kirkpatrick cock ‘Johnny’ that was 3rd Open Rennes and was nestmate of ‘Galabank Duke’, which was 2nd Open

SOLWAY SOUNDS with Billy Wortley

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from his father, the late Frank Gilbertson, who is recognised as one of the finest fanciers ever to compete into the North of England and South of Scotland. To form their family Frank and Tommy introduced pigeons from several successful individual lofts. Importantly, during the War years, Frank Gilbertson was working local to the loft of the legendary Doctor Buckley and visited the Doctor’s home in an endeavour to see the pigeons. He was initially afforded a frosty welcome. Not to be deterred, he stood on the loft platform and viewed the pigeons through the spars and identified the principal pigeons on the perch, which more than impressed the Doctor. Bottom line was that examples of the Buckley family made their way to Carlisle and through skilled selection and gifted breeding, pigeons descended from the original introductions remain in the loft today. Jack Curtis was a great admirer of the Buckley family and in his book ‘Breeder’s Digest’ he states “Today the best of the Buckley’s are in Carlisle” and added “in 1991 Tom Gilbertson won 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th & 9th East Cumbria Fed Niort, distance 604 miles” and on expanding on the composition and quality of the pigeons housed continued, “When you can produce pigeons like their ‘Pencil

In recent weeks Rodgers and Benn from Cleator Moor, West Cumbria won the NW National from Weymouth with a tremen- dous pigeon on the day. The convoy was liberated at Weymouth at 10.15am and on a very difficult day the partnership, which comprises Danny Rodgers, Ken Benn and Wes Benn timed at 6.57pm from 272 miles to win the Classic. The winning pigeon was blue hen ‘Mary’, which was the only arrival into Cumbria on the day. It recorded a velocity of 920ypm, 19ypm ahead of the bird that was second, which

Nantes. ‘Johnny’ proved to be a superb breeder, leaving a dynasty of winners and Frank Gilbertson had these lines in his loft. He also introduced J L Roberts’ Bricioux through Eric Edwards from Keswick. Eric bought a pair known as ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ and Frank & Tommy received a cock from the pair, which when paired to a Buckley hen, proved to be a magical cross. ‘Queen’ was a daughter of Jack Roberts’ ‘No 8 Cock’, which was 3rd Open Pau from 696 miles. There is no doubt that Frank Gilbertson was a very talented fancier but I must nevertheless make the point that when Tommy took David & Rosemary Osborne’s ‘Doonhamer Lynne’.

Gilbertson and over the years have obtained quality bloodlines from him, which have won out of turn in Scottish National compe- tition. I am not going to write about all of their winners but mention the following to provide a flavour of the lines obtained from Tommy Gilbertson and successes achieved. I first visited David and Rosemary in in 1979, following the Nantes National after they had timed two pigeons in quick succession to be 3rd & 5th Section, 5th & 9th Open with these two pigeon gaining the E R Williamson Trophy with the SNFC for the 2- Bird Nom from the extreme distance race. In 1981 I was writing about the partners again when they won an SNFC Gold

Blue Cock’ then the quality has to be right. This brilliant producer of winners at all distances bred class Channel winners at over 500 miles with not one hen, or two but with three different hens”. He added “his breeding makes your mouth water” and referred his readers to a pedigree included in the book. Prominent in the pedigree was blue cock ‘7877’, which in the third generation features across the pedigree on three occasions with his four grandparents being direct Dr Buckley. In the Buckley Sale List we learn that the Buckley family comprised a blend of Barker, Delmotte, Grooter, Toft, J L Baker, Gits, Logan and Osman with the principal

Derik Nordon’s ‘Becksburn Courage’.

was flying fifty miles less than the race winner. Not only did the blue hen win the Classic but also won a Specialist race into West Cumbria, with the competitors flying for BIG prize money. Having explained that the blue hen was the only bird into Cumbria on the day, the next four arrivals into West Cumbria from the Specialist Race, which all homed on the second day, were to Ian & Denise Wood from Harrington Central, Sandra & David Wood from Lowca, Joe & Brian Fitzsimmons from Cleator Moor and Nolan, Hetherington, Coultas & Easdon again from Cleator Moor. Blue hen ‘Mary’, which won the race, was bred by Tommy Gilbertson from Carlisle, sire is a mealy cock, which is a grandson of a chequer pied hen that won Cumbria Combine from Sartilly, Dam is a blue hen that was line- bred to Tom Gilbertson’s noted ‘Jay Bee’ that was 1st Club, 1st Federation, 1st Cumbria Combine from Niort, 604 miles, on the day of liberation. ‘Jay Bee’ proved to be an exceptional breeder and left a host of winners over successive genera- tions, it was for example the dam of ‘Hollie’ that was 2nd Combine Nantes, grand dam of ‘Jackie’ that was also 2nd Combine Nantes and great grand dam of ‘Emergency Whinona’, which won the Combine in 1998 and was the product of a half-brother and sister pairing. Tommy Gilbertson learned his pigeons

David & Rosemary Osborne’s 3rd Section Ancenis 2017.

Award. To gain her fifth National position and secure the Gold Award the partners’ pied hen was 1st Section 52nd Open from Sartilly. On that occasion the birds were racing into a strong west wind, which pushed the convoy up the east of the country with indeed all of the pigeons that beat her, flying into the East Section of the National. Considering that David and Rosemary compete into the West Section of the Solway Fed, the achievement of the pigeon on the day was extra special. The hens previous positions with the SNFC, to enable her to gain her Gold Award were 30th Section 256th Open Avranches, 13th

over the reins of management following his father’s death, the performances in no way diminished. A number of Scottish fanciers have successfully used Gilbertson bloodlines, including Derik Nordon from Langholm, David & Rosemary Osborne from Dumfries, Graham & Steven Dalgliesh from Ecclefechan and Gordon Grant from Gretna. Within the next few paragraphs I provide details of several of the more prominent pigeons owned and raced by these fanciers to illustrate the quality of the Gilbertson family of pigeons. When Derik Nordon entered the fancy

producer being dark chequer cock ‘Bendigo’. When Doctor Buckley’s pigeons were finally sold in London they made record prices, the Sale Room was packed tight, with fanciers standing on the stairway and out onto the street. It should also be understood that at the retirement sale of the great J W Logan, a large number of the birds sold contained the blood of a single hen that was bred by Doctor Buckley. It should be further noted, however that Frank Gilbertson was very friendly with the great Annan fanciers, John Kirkpatrick and Will Robertson, with the three of them regularly exchanging



performance in Scotland. Importantly, she contained the best of the channel winning bloodlines of Tommy Gilbertson. On the dam’s side of the pedigree of the pied hen one could see three exceptional pigeons. She was a ggd of ‘Jackie’ that was 1st Club, 1st Fed, 2nd Cumbria Combine Nantes, 534 miles, ggd of ‘Hollie that was also 1st Club, 1st Fed, 2nd Cumbria Combine from Nantes and ggd also of ‘Jay Bee’ that was 1st Cumbria Combine from Niort, 604 miles. On the sire’s side of the pedigree she was a grand daughter of a chequer hen that was 1st Club, 1st Fed, 10th Cumbria Combine Nantes and ggd of ‘Frankie’ that was 1st Club, 1st Fed, 4th Cumbria Combine Nantes and 1st Club, 1st Fed, 1st Cumbria Combine Nantes. Consider also the partners’ mealy cock ‘Ashgrove Tom’ that was 1st South Section 25th Open Roye 2019. Sire is a mealy stock cock that contains the best of Tommy Gilbertson bloodlines, being bred direct from the partners No 1 Gilbertson cock, which was sire of ‘Elaine’. Gordon Grant from Gretna competed in partnership with his father ‘Lofty’ and together they achieved more than their share of success. They won the Rennes National in 1988 with blue hen ‘Sarkfoot Dream’ and the Nantes National in 1994 with ‘Sarkfoot Tony’. In 1995 and 1996 they won two consecutive YB National with ‘Sarkfoot Jack’ and ‘Sarkfoot Stormaway’ and recorded their fifth National win from Cheltenham in 2012 with ‘Westgill Lady’. ‘Lofty’ regrettably died in 2015 with the pigeons then being raced under Gordon’s name. Some months before he died, ‘Lofty’ suggested to Gordon that he make contact with Tommy Gilbertson and obtain several

was 3rd Section 3rd Open Tours 2008 and identically bred to a blue hen that was 5th Section 7th Open SNFC Chenoise 2003. Sire was a mealy cock that was obtained from Tommy Gilbertson. Dam was a dark hen that raced from Liege in 2001. Maternal grand dam was a dark hen that was very well bred. Her sister was 1st Section 3rd Open Nantes 1998 and 9th Section 17th Open Nantes 1999. Another sister was 3rd Section 12th Open Nantes 1997, whilst a brother was 4th Section 23rd Open Nantes 1993. Dam of these pigeons was a blue pied that scored from three Nationals. She was a daughter of the loft’s ‘Doonhamer Darkie’, which was 1st Section 3rd Open Nantes 1985 when he was paired to a hen bred from the dam of the same ‘Doonhamer Darkie’ when she was coupled to a son of the partners’ 1981 Gold Award winner. Sire of the dark hen was an unrung stock cock from Tommy Gilbertson. Maternal grandsire of the mealy cock was a red cock that was 3rd Section 6th Open Niort 1996, the sire of which was the cock that sired ‘Doonhamer Lynne’ whilst the dam was the Red hen that David Osborne obtained from Sammy Little from Dumfries, who purchased it from John Ellis from Wellbank. Dam of the 3rd Section Ancenis was a Dark hen that was obtained from Tommy Gilbertson. Graham & Steven Dalgliesh from Ecclefechan are two very accomplished fanciers who have won out of turn over a long number of years, setting individual pigeons up for the job in hand. Like all good fanciers, however, they don’t ‘rest on their laurels’ and are always trying to improve. In former years they worked with SVR lines, which were more than capable

received from Tommy, which prior to David and Rosemary receiving him had been a very good racer for Tommy. Sire of ‘Doonhamer Lynne’ was a red cock that had been retained for stock, which was bred from ‘Doonhamer Darkie’ when he was paired to a red hen that scored from Rennes and Nantes, which was in fact bred from a full brother of ‘Doonhamer Darkie’. Year after year, the loft continued on the winning way, they were for example, 3rd Section 3rd Open Tours in 2008 and let us again consider the breeding of the winning pigeon. It was a mealy cock, which was identically bred to a blue hen that was 5th Section 7th Open SNFC Chenoise 2003. Sire was a mealy cock that was obtained from Tommy Gilbertson. Dam was a dark hen that raced from Liege in 2001. Maternal grand dam was a dark hen that was very well bred. Her sister was 1st Section 3rd Open Nantes 1998 and 9th Section 17th Open Nantes 1999. Another sister was 3rd Section 12th Open Nantes 1997, whilst a brother was 4th Section 23rd Open Nantes 1993. Dam of these pigeons was a blue pied that scored from three Nationals. She was a daughter of the loft’s ‘Doonhamer Darkie’ when he was paired to a hen bred from the dam of the same ‘Doonhamer Darkie’ when she was coupled to a son of the partners’ Gold Award winner. Sire of the dark hen was unrung stock cock from Tommy Gilbertson. Maternal grand sire of the mealy cock was a red cock that was 3rd Section 6th Open Niort 1996. Sire of the 6th Open Niort was the cock that sired ‘Doonhamer Lynne’ whilst the dam was the red hen that David obtained from Sammy Little from Dumfries, who

Section 50th Open Nantes, 3rd Section 5th Open Nantes and 17th Section 126th Open Nantes. In 1985 the Nantes convoy was liberated at 6am and David and Rosemary timed at 9.09pm from 550 miles to be 1st Sect 3rd Open with dark chequer cock ‘Doonhamer Darkie’, which was previously 92nd Open Sartilly. ‘Darkie’ was out of a dark chequer hen that was

Derik Nordon’s ‘Cathella’.

obtained from Frank and Tommy Gilbertson when paired to a latebred red chequer cock, which was out of red chequer hen that was 5th Section 9th Open Nantes 1979, 138th Open Nantes 1980, and 17th Section 74th Open Nantes 1981, when paired to her own grand sire, with the bloodlines once again being ‘Gilbertson’. The red hen, the paternal grand dam of ‘Doonhamer Darkie’, was dam of a blue chequer pied hen that was 56th Open Rennes 1979 and 2nd Section 16th Open Nantes 1982. The red hen was also paternal grand dam of red cock ‘Darkie’s Brother’, which was 4th Open Scottish Specialist Club Yearling Derby from Dorchester in 1983 and scored twice from Rennes and Sartilly. It should be further noted that the red hen, paternal grand dam of ‘Doonhamer Darkie’ was one of the two pigeons that gained the E R Williamson Trophy in 1979, the other being the pied hen that won the Section from Sartilly in 1981. Move forward to 1995 when the partners entered their name in the annals of the Scottish National Flying Club. The SNFC convoy was liberated at Niort, along with a convoy from the North of England at 5.45am into a NE wind with David and Rosemary timing their 5yo blue w/f hen ‘Doonhamer Lynne’ at 10.03pm to record a velocity of 1119ypm from 622 miles. She was the only arrival into Scotland on the day of liberation and headed the result by 140ypm. Importantly, notwithstanding the fact she had to encounter the Cumbrian Hills in the gloamin’ as she made her way home, she was right up with the birds from the North of England, with which she had been liberated and were flying circa 110 to 150 shorter distance than the Dumfries pigeon. The Niort winner went to Stafford as a youngster, to Dorchester and Mangotsfield as a yearling, to Sartilly as a 2yo and to Rennes as a 2 and 3yo. Dam of ‘Doonhamer Lynne’ was a dark chequer hen that was 5th Section 21st Open Yearling Race from Appledore 1985, 6th Section 34th Open Race, and was subse- quently 29th Open Nantes. The dark hen actually bred another hen that was 10th Section 26th Open Nantes and 6th Section 25th Open Nantes. She also bred a dark chequer cock that was 10th Section 21st Open Nantes. The dark hen, dam of ‘Doonhamer Lynne’ was out of a latebred hen introduced from Tommy Gilbertson when paired to a chequer pied cock, also

Graham & Steven Dalgliesh’s ‘Ashgrove Elaine’.

Gordon Grant’s 3rd Section Buckingham.

latebreds. Gordon spoke to Tommy, who invited him to visit the loft at Carlisle where he received 28 eggs and seven youngsters. Examples of these acquisi- tions can be seen in the following text. The first National of the 2019 season was flown from Buckingham, Gordon timed with the leaders to be 3rd Section, 15th Open, the winning pigeon being a 2yo mealy cock that was bred by Tommy Gilbertson. Having previously explained that Frank Gilbertson obtained progeny from ‘Johnny’, the Kirkpatrick owned by Will Robertson, Tommy Gilbertson has studiously retained a line of strawberry mealies, which contain these bloodlines to complement the Buckley’s and the mealy cock that was 3rd Section Buckingham, was from this line. Some weeks after the Buckingham National the members of the SNFC competed from Maidstone with Gordon Grant being right at the front to be 1st Section 1st Open. The winning pigeon was a 2yo blue chequer pied cock that was indeed once

of winning in inland competition but they believed they could be bettered at the Channel and chose to move the on and introduce proven Channel winning lines. One loft from which they obtained stock was from Tommy Gilbertson and through the new acquisitions a number of real quality pigeons emerged including a super 2008 blue pied hen that was named ‘Elaine’. In 2010 she went to Bourges and was 5th Section 14th Open. In 2011 she went to Tours and was 2nd Section 3rd Open National. In 2012 she competed from the Gold Cup race from Alencon and was up with the leaders to be 9th Section 27th Open. Importantly, her position from Alencon secured for her an SNFC Silver Award. Graham and Steven then decided to double her back into Clermont and in difficult conditions she was timed in the morning to be 1st Section 27th Open National. At the close of the 2012 season she was awarded the SHU Dewar Trophy for the pigeon considered to have achieved the best combined Channel

purchased it from John Ellis from Wellbank. The success story continued unabated, in 2016, for example, the partners stepped forward at the annual SNFC Presentation to receive The News of the World Trophy and the magnificent Ellsworth Challenge Trophy with the former being for best average from Reims and Ancenis, which are the two prestige races in the club and the latter being for best average from the same two races with Nominated pigeons. We now move forward to the Ancenis National in 2017, the event proved difficult with no arrivals on the day of liberation. J & I Alston from Ravenstruther in South Lanarkshire won the National with a superb pigeon in the morning, which headed the result by 50ypm. Once again David and Rosemary featured in the result being 3rd Section, 7th Open. Once more let us consider the breeding of the winning pigeon. It was a 4yo blue cock, which was a full brother to a hen that was 8th Open Ancenis 2016. Sire was a mealy cock that

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