The Racing Pigeon - 5th April 2024



The pigeon was bred and raced by Ernest Duray; I actually have on file Dr Anderson’s notes when he visited the loft in his own handwriting and append a copy of the front page to provide a flavour of the content. The mention of Doctor Anderson caused me to reflect on a composition compiled by Bob McLaughlin and included in a Brian Newson article published in The RP on 5th March 1999. The composition read “the

those days was a fabulous sum of money to be paid by a working man. Dr Anderson’s 1920 Rennes winner ‘Guinea Gold’ and Watson Brothers 1921 Rennes winner contained the blood of this hen. When Willie McAlpine was old enough to take an interest in pigeons, he joined his father and the partnership became John McAlpine and Son and what a partner- ship it turned out to be. They bred many winners for themselves and also for other fanciers throughout Britain and the name of John McAlpine became a household name in the sport. When War came in 1914 Dr Anderson joined the RAMC and was due to do service abroad, it is little wonder, therefore that he bought John McAlpine’s entire stock and installed him as his loft manager to carry on in his absence racing the pigeons and where he remained with the assistance of Willie until the Doctor moved to Bathgate in 1948, a period of 35 years. Although the loft was the property of the Doctor he always, when talking to the McAlpines, referred to the pigeons as ‘our birds’, which helped to keep that happy relationship throughout those years. The

John and Willie McAlpine.

Stanhope birds were responsible for most of the Doctor’s outstanding success at that time. This was no surprise for the Doctor had spent most of his boyhood

‘La Plume Blanche de Pau’.

story must start in the 1890’s for it was then that John McAlpine started to race pigeons and was involved with them until his death at the age of 85 in 1962. He was a grand old gentleman and the creator of a dynasty of racing pigeons. Some idea of the quality of his family of pigeons may be gathered from the success he had with the SNFC races from Rennes (545 miles), 7th Open in 1912, 3rd Open in 1913 (this race turned out to be a disaster as only 14 birds were timed in, in race time, he was the only competitor to clock two birds), 9th, 24th and 29th in 1914, six birds were sent and all six were timed in. These birds were based on the Stanhope’s from J J Barret, J L Baker, J Whitmore, Dudley and J W Toft. The pigeon that was 3rd in 1913 and 9th in 1914 was a black chequer hen ‘6638’ inbred to J L Baker’s ‘Little Wonder’. The parents were purchased for the sum of £10 each, which in

First page of Dr Anderson's notes on visit to Ernest Duray.

‘Lady Jean’.

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