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The Joe Murphy Column 17 November 2017 Article

#1 User is offline   Ian McKay 

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 15:05 PM

The Joe Murphy Column

Received some pictures from Richard Howie who wrote; ‘Hi Joe, I hope all is well. I have attached five photographs as we discussed some time ago from John Carmichael's photograph album there are still more if you wish them. The 2 black and white pictures are of interest and I wonder if any of your readers know who they are? Regarding the men with the breathing equipment on I have no idea. The other one I am almost certain the man on the far right is John Carmichaels father Finley Carmichael. The rest are of SNFC presentation photographs and I think Ron Bissett is presenting John Carmichael with his trophy. The other is of Percy Cameron shaking hands with Johnny Park of Aberdeen, with John Carmichael to the right of him. If anyone can fill us in on the rest of the prize winners this would be a good help? Look forward to your comments kindest regards Richard’.

People with Gas Masks

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Group of Fanciers with Findlay Carmichael last on right

Ron Bissett and John Carmichael

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Percy Cameron presenting trophies at SNFC

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Isaiah Stewart presents (John Carmichael on Right)

Losses from France

Received a letter from Les Wellburn of Acklam in Middlesbrough who wrote ‘Dear Sir, please find enclosed summary of the Up North Combine races from Bourges over the past 5 years Not good reading. The purpose of sending you this is to get some sort of debate going into WHY we are having such poor returns, (see below) from our longest races which is not just confined to the UNC.

Attached File  Excel file 2.JPG (62.64K)
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I firmly believe that early liberations coupled with low temperatures are a probable cause for such poor returns, which is backed up by the enclosed copy of Squills article from 1937 WRITTEN 80 YEARS AGO.
Also my correspondence with Mr Richard Boylan who lives and races in France and was a very successful fancier in England. (Copy enclosed) who wrote in an effort to find out why we were having such poor returns over the past 5 years results for the UNC. I have sent part of this to the president of the UNC but have never had a reply. I am the only person in the combine who has tried to find out WHY after the 2016 Bourges and previous Bourges debacles.
I wrote to an English fancier flying in France Mr Richard Boylan who was also a top flier in England and writes in the Homing World.
Fact; He stated that in the past 10 years there has NEVER been a liberation between 6 am and 7am by any French organisation because of the very real threat of early morning mists that are prevalent. NOTE; this is between 7am 8am in England.
Fact; In France they also have a rule that if the temperature is not above 10 degrees no liberations are permitted as lower temperatures affects the pigeons abilities to home. (See below)
We fly in the UNC and trying to analyse why for the past 3 years we have had very poor results from Bourges our furthest race flying over 540 miles to shortest fliers. The last Bourges we had none on the day with only 60+ birds back in 3 days. Birds were liberated at 05-15am British time which would be 06-15 am French time.
The time you quoted would NEVER happen in France all our liberations are from 06-30 am onwards.
In 10 years flying all over France there has NEVER been liberation before 06-30 am till 07-00 o’clock. You do get LOTS of mist early morning and of course temperatures are very low. We also have a ruling in France that NO liberations will happen until the temperatures 10/11 degrees; you are aware that pigeons have a problem with low temperatures.
Fact; In Squills diary of 1937 (80 years ago) an article was written by a convoyer who warned against liberating in France at 05-30am stating that you cannot judge the morning, you may see the sun rising half an hour later all is closed in again, also stating that 1 in 20 birds have not even been to the drinker. Also remember in those days they were not in closed up wagons as our birds are today, ours today cannot EVEN see sun rise. (Copy enclosed from Squills 1937)
One of the most important duties of a convoy is to have knowledge of weather forecasts, and to received reports of conditions throughout the journey the birds have to travel; as far back as the seasons 1904 and 1905, I used to send 10 shillings at the beginning of the season to the Meteorological Office, Victoria Street London SW to be held in reserved in my name, I could then approach them by wire, asking for information when I need it. There was no Charge; my 10 shillings was only for the cost of the wires, and at the end of the season any balance to my credit was returned to me. As long ago as season 1910 I received a wire at Nantes, before tossing from Lowe Brothers at Guernsey stating the weather at that point. I am a great believer in weather forecasts, and know no greater help can be given; of course; a wide aspect has to be taken, but must have a wide outlook, even they cannot foresee correctly always. Be extra careful with east or north east winds, although you cannot keep birds back indefinitely for this cause.
You can take many risks with west or south west winds; if your forecast give these conditions existing, birds will go through shower or almost anything, When I first started convoying, all the old Lancashire convoyer’s gave me their opinions thus; a good start is over had the way, and I may add the start is of the utmost importance. Fanciers have only to look at the daily newspapers to see a report of the previous day’s sunshine. It will often read something like this; ‘Bournemouth, 8 hours; Buxton 10 minutes; Blackpool 6 hours; Jersey 14 hours; Scarborough Nil. This should make you realise how difficult a convoyer’s job is.
A few weeks ago I saw where a fancier at Manchester Flying Club Dinner (or a certain club annual) suggested that the N.H.U. should appoint a paid supervisor at each race point, all convoyer’s to be under him and fix order of tossing for each convoyer. Tommy –rot! Does he think there are no intelligent men among present day convoyer’s? It might be all right on a good or dad day, but what about the difficult days? Would he dare to order liberation or stop them? It only shows how little the suggestor of such a principal knows of what he is talking about. I would not dare to tell another convoyer what he ought to do. I never dis believe in the principal for sheep, follow your leader. I have good faith in the council of the N.H.U. being business men who foresee these difficulties, even when the matter cropped up re liberating too close together. They only give it as a suggestion of 10 minutes apart; they did not say it MUST NOT happen.
All kinds of unforeseen circumstances happen; Fanciers, give credit to the convoyer who gets your birds home, or gives them a reasonable chance. I have convoyed the late J.W. Logan’s bird privately to Bournemouth, Guernsey, Granville, Rennes and Marennes. My first journey for him he said to me ‘Rhead do you know why Scott finished with me? I said ‘No sir’ He replied ‘I told him not to liberate my birds within half an hour of any other consignment and he let them go 25 minutes after, so he finished’ . I replied that I would see his wishes were carried out. Of course Mr Logan’s loft position was difficult when so many birds were flying into the West Midlands and Lancashire etc. The position is much different where federation are flying in much the same line.
I don’t believe in very early liberations, 5-30 (summer time) is too early in France; you cannot judge the morning; you may see the sun rising and half an hour later it is closed in again. And again, most important, I can assure fanciers that by that time not one bird in every 20 will have had a drink. I well remember that great fancier Mr Reg Slack of Southport, when in charge of the Lancashire Combine at Nantes, stating in his report to the committee; ‘ Half hour lost at the start; Why Because too early liberation and birds did not start as they would have done later. I know this suggestion of mine will not be a popular one, because fanciers at home think, had there birds been out half an hour sooner, they would have got home same night’. Just a word of advice to fancier as an illustration; after a hard day, say, at Guernsey, there are often many birds flying round the quay. I find that 3 out of 4 are hens. I put that down to laying in the baskets. Also a trouble in young bird races, but the cause is different. Don’t send young birds moulting their last 3 flights; they cannot face a hard day. Never send a young bird to any race when it is moulting its head feathers. I have seen dozens scalped in one consignment with 2 or 3 day’s hold over. In Conclusion let me say wherever I go with pigeons; I always try to leave a good impression behind me with both railway officials and the public. Always pay for any knowledge or work done for you, and leave the race point so that you will be made welcome again. I have had the honour of being convoyer to the National Flying Club for over 25 years, the Scottish National for 3 years, Welsh Championship club Perth, in addition to our local feds. Today I owe much of my learning to the old Lancashire convoyer’s of 1904, and to the greatest fancier I ever met, the late Col. A H Osman.
Fact; the further south you go the later the sun rises Fact the sun rises at Bourges 04-50am which is 05-50am in England.
Fact; We are liberating birds when the sun isn’t even above the height of the roof tops. This year at 05-50am in England we specificity watched the sun rise in Acklam, were we live and it was there for all to see. The sun was not above rooftop height, if you look at any of the videos of Bourges liberations you will see sun not even above tree top heights.
Fact; Pigeons need the sun to navigate recent letter in Homing World press says no sun-no fun i.e. you end up with a smash.
Fact; This year the 1st Burbure when birds were liberated at 05-30am we almost had a disaster when fanciers were timing birds an hours after their first arrivals. We only got away with it because the birds were still fresh enough to rectify their mistake and returns ended up being ok.
Fact; when pigeons make a mistake at Bourges and set off in the wrong direction we think towards the sun, even a hundred miles off course giving them 600+ miles to get back on track.
Fact; The West Durham liberated this year at 07-30am, they had birds on the day 2 out of 500 birds which out of 1900 birds would have given us at least 8 birds and more arrivals pro rata the following day NOT THE 37 WE GOT over 3 days. Over the years we have won/scored more times that most flying from the longest race point having had 6 pigeons fly Montluçon 592 miles on the day.
Fact; Very few pigeons can fly 10 hours even less that can fly 12 or more hours; so you are looking at best a 12 hour window to get the birds home i.e. 7am till 7pm, 8am till 8pm. In 2013 BIRDS WERE LIBERATED AT 07-45AM IN NO WIND AND WE HAD 150 BIRDS IN THE RESULT (copy enclosed)
When we have had liberations after 13-00 hours we had far better returns and with faster velocities why because the sun was higher in the sky, it was warmer and the birds were able to navigate better.
YES, you can quote other years when birds have done well with an early liberation, but what we do know is what were the temperatures when liberated, As the French say this affects the ability to home something our convoyer was totally unaware of.
If you accept that 75% of the convoy have no chance to home on the day anyway. You are left with the best 25% having a chance which is high anyway. I know we all would like to say our birds can do it on the day but when you really analyse the facts, very few actually do, check within your own club/federation.
Darkness system without doubt this is the biggest problem we have today many top fanciers sell off their darkies at the end of each year anyone who says it has no effect is living in cloud cuckoo land Look at the losses each year. As any fancier how many birds they bred in say the last 10 years you will be astounded at the number of losses.
Pigeons were fed differently far more protein based than the chicken feed fed today
Bourges was the main race and fanciers prepared for it no so today, it being just another race.
Breeding off so called stock birds that have never raced for years in the old days we bred off the survivors not nowadays.
Bourges is off line compared to Reims, Troyes may be a better option no sure of distance
Our Transporters are not fit for 2 day races, we should at last get a couple of Geraldy fit for purpose transporters, as NFC and MNFC have.


In Scotland the sun sets later so should not be a problem for birds getting home (If they are good enough) yours Les Wellburn.
My thanks to Les for his letter and I have checked out the Scottish National Flying Clubs races for 2017 as this is the WORST season we have had in years. Will only One region and section (the South) winning the average trophies. With the remainder of the trophies NOT WON in 2017. From Alencon Gold Cup race the convoy of 1472 birds entered by 403 members were liberated at 05-45am into a variable light south west wind. There was only 47 birds home in 3 days and this was the ‘cream of Scottish pigeons) From the Ypres race the convoy of 2320 birds entered by 409 members were released at 06-40am into a west to south west wind. The winner was doing a velocity of 1132 with the last open position of 232nd doing a 853 velocity. From Ancenis our longest race 76 members sent 184 birds liberated at 06-15am into a variable west to south west wind the winning velocity was 772 and only 18 birds made it home in 3 days with the last velocity being 416. We then came to our last channel race from Falaise with 199 members sending 802 birds with the convoy liberated at 06-15 into a variable light west wind. The winning velocity was 1980 and the last pigeon on 400 ypm was 71st open and took 3 days. There are many thoughts on the above racing during 2017 was it the change of route back to the middle to west side of France with the birds having a longer channel crossing. Whereas the best race the national has had for years has been Ypres race with the winners since 2008 having velocities as follows; 2008 liberated at 8-00 winning velocity 1172; 2009 liberated at 6-30 winning velocity 1368; 2010 liberated at 6-30 winning velocity 1127; 2011 liberated at 7-00 winning velocity 1330; 2012 liberated at 6-30 winning velocity 1427; 2013 liberated at 7-15 winning velocity 1378; 2014 liberated at 6-15 winning velocity 1338 (no race in 2015) 2016 liberated at 6-45 winning velocity 1162. The most interesting item is ALL these races have been won on the DAY of liberation. Does this mean as the race point is in the east and the sun rises in the east quicker does this make the difference or is it because the birds face a shorter channel crossing. I’m sure there are many more fanciers who have checked out these figures and come up with their own theories on the reason for the losses during the 2017. If they would like to express them in the column you will find my email address at the end. Needless to say many people will have their thoughts but do not wish to have their name added to this. Once again my thanks to Les for his letter and let’s hope we have some genuine debate on the subject.

Gourdon & District RPC Annual Open Show

Margaret Hay has informed me that Gourdon & District RPC are holding their annual open show on Sunday 26th November in the Masonic Hall in King Street, Inverbervie. Penning is from 09-00 to 10-30 am with judging starting at 11-00am prompt. Entries are 50 pence per bird and there will be teas and coffees, bacon rolls, sausage rolls and dumpling available. There will also be a raffle and sale of 2018 young birds. Classes are as follows; Class 1 AACTW; Class 2 AAHTW; Class 3 LOC; Class 4 LOH; Class 5 LYC; Class 6 LYH; Class 7 Eyesign (birds can be duplicated) Entries to David Hay Jnr on 01561 361588 or David Hay senior on 01561 361526. Entries close on Friday night at 22-00 hours with late entries if pens available. Hope your hand is better soon Joe and keep up the Joe’s jokes ….. they’re hilarious, regards Margaret.

Get Well Soon

While speaking to John Bell the famous ‘show man’ he informed me that his wife Alice has not been well of late and she is undergoing some test at the moment. I know many fanciers will have met John & Alice at the shows over the years and you could not meet a nicer couple and we wish Alice a speedy recovery. You are in all our thoughts and prayers at this time Alice and we hope to see you at the shows during the winter months.

Good SNFC Birds

I received 3 photos from Colin Crees of his 2 SNFC Gold Award Winners one of these pictures was taken the day after ‘The Banker’ flew 17 hours 11 minutes on the day to win 11th open Alencon 2017. You will see him with his hen in the nest pan. The other pictures are of ‘The Banker’ and ‘The Florizoone’ hope you enjoy the pictures and many thanks for highlighting my birds performances in your column your Colin Crees. Colin’s winner of the SNFC Gold Award this year was a mealy cock who is an exceptional pigeon known as ‘The Florizoone’. He has won 6 times in the top 70 open positions in 6 Scottish national races these being as follows; in 2014 he won 25th section B 68th open Alencon flying 512 miles that same year he also won 13th section B 61st open from Clermont flying a distance of 480 miles. Then in 2016 he competed in the SNFC Gold Cup race from Reims a distance of 520 miles and won 21st section B 70th open he was then doubled back into the Roye race and won 10th section B 15th open flying 464 miles. This year he won 1st section B 2nd open Gold Cup race from Alencon flying 512 miles this brave man then sent The Florizoone back to the Falaise race which turned out to be another exceptionally hard race and he was timed on the 2nd day to win 3rd section B 58th open flying 482 miles winning his SNFC Gold Award for 5 times a winner from France, I think you will agree a truly good honest pigeon.
Colin won his first SNFC Gold Award last year with his chequer cock ‘The Banker’ who won 6 times in the top 63 open positions within 5 nationals. Before going on about this bird you will notice the distance is different from the above winner and I’m informed by Colin that is because he moved house so the birds were flying to a new location. In 2014 ‘The Banker’ won 4th section B 10th open from Alencon a distance of 511 miles that same year he competed from the Clermont race and attained 3rd section B 25th open flying 480 miles. In 2015 he accomplished 1st section B 3rd open from the SNFC Gold Cup race from Alencon and in 2016 he succeeded twice being 10th section B 35th open Reims Gold Cup flying 520 miles then into the last old bird race from Roye to triumph being 24th section B 63rd open flying 464 miles to gain the Gold Award. HOWEVER he was sent to this 2017 Alencon race and he was also timed on the day of the race to win 3rd section B 3rd east region (only 3 birds on the day) and won 11th open. What a fantastic pair of cocks and when you see from the pigeon press that Colin’s brother Davie won 1st & 2nd open SNRPC Reims in 2017. My congratulations to the brothers on joining the history books within the pigeon sport in Scotland.

The Florizoone

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The Banker

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The Banker and his hen

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Joe’s Joke

God said, "Adam, I want you to do something for me." Adam said, "Gladly,
Lord, what do you want me to do?" God said, "Go down into that valley."
Adam said, "What's a valley?" God explained it to him. Then God said, "Cross the River." Adam said, "What's a river?" God explained that to him, and then said,
"Go over to the hill......" Adam said, "What is a hill?" So, God explained to
Adam what a hill was. He told Adam, "On the other side of the hill you will find a cave." Adam said, 'What's a cave?' After God explained, He said, "In the cave
you will find a woman." Adam said, "What is a woman?' So God explained that to him, too. Then, God said, 'I want you to reproduce." Adam said, "How do I do that?" God first said (under his breath), "Geez...." And then, just like everything else, God explained that to Adam, as well. So, Adam goes down
into the valley, across the river, and over the hill, into the cave, and finds the woman. In about five minutes, he was back. God, His patience wearing thin, said angrily, "What is it now?" And Adam said....
"What's a Headache?"

Please continue to keep the news flowing; to Joe Murphy Mystical Rose Cottage 2 Flutorum Avenue Thornton by Kirkcaldy KY1 4BD or phone 01592 770331 or Email to joejmurphy1@gmail.com REMEMBER THE J IN THE MIDDLE or log onto www.elimarpigeons.com www.fancierchat.co.uk and www.pigeon-chat.co.uk also www.pigeonbasics.com Pigeon Racing the Basics who wish my weekly contribution portfolio on pigeon topics from Scotland.

© Compiled by Joe Murphy

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