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The Joe Murphy Column 19-10-18

The Joe Murphy Column

I noticed the SNFC young bird Buckingham result in last week’s paper where 172 members sent 1084 birds to the race, liberated at 09-15 hours into a light south west wind the winner was my good friend Billy Bilsland of Ayton with a blue bar hen Welltower Mary being from his M & D Evans and David Reed of Chainbridge lofts Gaby Vandenabeele bloodlines. Billy was also 3rd 4th 5th 8th 11th 12th 16th 24th 27th 35th 36th 47th & 91st winning 14 prizes from his 37 birds entered. Gordon Turnbull of Duns was 2nd 10th 15th 19th & 37th with Eyemouth’s Andrew Lees in 6th 7th 23rd & 98th open Jimmy Jackson of Dunbar also had a good race timing in 5 birds to win 13th 22nd 29th 40th & 100th open. First section C 17th open is Brian Chalmers of Kennoway who also won 25th 52nd 54th 63rd & 75th open. We now come to 2 outstanding youngsters who won 1st & 2nd section G 27th & 61st open they belong to Walter Mason of Inverallochy with the 2 birds fling 395 miles outstanding pigeons on the day. John McNeill of Broxburn also had a good winning 1st 3rd 4th 6th 9th 10th 11th & 12th section D 42nd 45th 64th 82nd 92nd 94th 95th 101st 106th 7 108th open another great team performance from John. Rob Renwick won 1st section A, 1st section E was to W Gordon of Cambuslang, 1st & 2nd section F is Derek Hay of Kirkintilloch who has had a great season in this section, Derek won 1st section F from Buckingham, 1st & 2nd section F from Maidstone, 2nd section F from Liege; 1st section F from Reims, 2nd section F from Ypres and 1st section F from Roye some people may say it’s a small section but believe me to NOT be out of the top 2 in the section for a whole season in National racing is exceptional and to time in EVERY RACE makes it all the more remarkable I for one take my hat off to Derek’s on his achievements with his team of birds; Well done big man. We now come to section H winners of 1st & 2nd who are David & Robert Morris who also have had a good season in the national. They were 1st 3rd & 16th section H from Maidstone; 3rd section H from Liege, 1st section H from Reims and 2nd section H from Roye once again truly outstanding results from the brothers well done.

Derek Hay

David & Robert Morris


I would like to congratulate my dear friends Debbie & Andy Gregson of Preston in Lancashire on the birth of their first granddaughter. As many fanciers know Andy has a stand at the Show of the Year and is booked in for January next year. As we get older the news of the birth of one of your grandchildren is a very special time in our lives and we wish ALL the family health and happiness for the future. I would also like to wish my dear wife Margaret a happy 51st wedding anniversary.

Debbie & Andy Gregson

Scottish Long Distance Pigeons

As readers of my column know I have always been a long distance fancier and there is nothing better than timing in a bird from a 500 / 600 mile race. We in Scotland have been spoilt with the quality of birds flying into our country hence my highlighting the best of distance pigeons in my Good SNFC Birds.

A few members from Irvine Newtown Homing Society sent me some information about one of their late past life member Alan Raeside, breeder of the "CONQUEROR" the 1,000 mile record holder. Alan passed away on the 25th May 2018 this year and a few of the members had approached me and asked if I could send you some information they have obtained from the late Alan Raeside wife Flora to see if it would be possible you could incorporate some of this with in one of your weekly reports. I have attached the following; 1: Message from the members 2: Picture of Conqueror 3: Picture of Alan at the presentation (Presentation was held in October 1974 at Bournemouth when Alan was presented with his trophy when Conqueror became the new British Record Holder for a 1,000 mile pigeon race) 4:Picture of Alan in his loft. 5: Picture of Conqueror as part of J Biss's collection of extreme distance pigeons. 6: Jim Biss statement when going to purchase Conqueror from Alan. 7: Statement from the late Robert Kennedy when talking about "The 1,000 Milers". 8: Picture of Alan Raeside on his 80th Birthday hope this is enough information for you Joe many thanks one again yours Archie McIntyre’.

RAESIDE ALAN, Died 25th May 2018 aged 82 years.

Alan Raeside on his 80th Birthday

It is with much sadness that Irvine Homing Society passes on the news of Alan’s passing on the 25th May 2018. Alan was a life member of Irvine Newtown Homing Society for many years, and from all the fanciers we send our condolences to his wife Flora and family. Alan had many successes over the years but his greatest achievement was with his pigeon ‘CONQUEROR’ that at the age of 16 years but was immortalised in the Guinness Book of Records as the holder of the British 1,000 mile record holder. Conqueror set the record flying 1,012 miles from Northern Spain in 1988. He was liberated at 06:00 on the Friday in Palamos, Spain and arrived at Alan’s loft in Scotland at 16:30 hrs on the Sunday, smashing the previous record of 5 days and 5 ½ hours before being retired. Alan’s grandson Chris Taylor is following in his grandfather’s footsteps and taking the pigeon’s to his home in Aberdeen to continue on with the hobby.

Alan Raeside Presentation Night

Alan Raeside in his loft

Jim Biss statement

‘I then had to buy the Conqueror the British Barcelona Club 3rd section E winner, flying a distance of 1010 miles. Conqueror covered the long journey at an average journey of 674.54 velocity; which was a colossal performance. It also broke all previous 1000 miles records within the United Kingdom by an enormous margin of several days. The performance of Conqueror bred and raced by Alan Raeside of Irvine in Ayrshire, was in my opinion one of the greatest of this century over a 1000 miles.  As with all these outstanding performances it was not an easy task to buy Conqueror. Eventually I had to send my secretary Mrs Doreen Fairhurst, daughter of the late Sid McGee who won the London North Road Combine from Banff in 1920; years before Jim Biss was born, to collect Conqueror. With relations in Irvine it was less difficult to persuade Mrs Fairhurst to make the overnight journey than it was to persuade Alan  Raeside to part with his great pigeon, at that moment of time I felt satisfied that Jim Biss had enough material to begin his ambitious project’.

Jim Biss team of Distance Pigeons

Statement from the late Robert Kennedy when talking about "The 1,000 Milers"

Turing now from the show pen to the extreme distance Palamos (Spain) pigeons to central Ayrshire 1010 miles; my old academy science teacher Mr W G Davidson set the trend of 1000 milers in these parts when his grizzle hen named ‘Faith’ held the Scottish record at the time when she homed in 8 days to Stevenston.  Henry Mair was three times successful recording an arrival from Palamos although he did not damage Faith’s record. Henry took 3rd bird into Scotland in one of these attempts.

In the long hot summer of 1976 the new Scottish 1000 mile club convoyed by the British Barcelona Club raced from Palamos with 71 members sent 138 birds released on the 25th June. Two pigeons made race time A Stewart of Carnoustie won on 236 velocity followed by A & A Taylor of Dundee on a velocity of 155. Thirty three birds were recorded after the close of the race with the first Ayrshire verified was a red chequer cock ‘Ligit’ bred and raced by R & H Kennedy of Irvine to be 5th. Henry Mair was next in 23rd and W G Davidson 33rd. (At this point I would like to say I was one of these members and my sole entry was 13th bird home; Joe Murphy I was 29 years old at the time. My club mate Danny King also entered birds and he had 2 of his 3 entries make it home. There is another story attached to this which I will add at the end of my column)

A happy Margaret & Joe Murphy.

When it comes to extreme distance there is only one champion this is the red cock ‘The Conqueror’ bred and raced by Alan Raeside of Irvine. The Conqueror covered the 1009 miles to Clark Drive in two days flying to return on 678 velocity which represents 24 miles per hour and is the current record holder, something that will be very difficult to eliminate; if ever. Alan also had a grandson of his epic winner recorded from Palamos, true Marathons of the Sky’.

Good SNFC Birds

This week I’m going to highlight 5 pigeons that require one more section win from the channel to obtain a SNFC Silver Award and hopefully they can achieve this in 2019. I start with a fellow Fifer Jim Doig of Cardenden which is not far from where I live. Jim has a chequer cock SU16F3020 who in 2017 won 8th section C 22nd open from Ypres a distance of 446 miles recording a velocity of 1032, he was competing against 2320 birds entered by 409 birds. In 2018 he won twice the first time from Buckingham a distance of 301 miles winning 47th section C 273rd open from an entry of 2941 birds and he won with a velocity of 984 ypm competing against 441 members. He then went to the Gold Cup race from Liege and was up with the winners being 2nd section C 29th open flying 525 miles and recorded a velocity of 797 ypm flying against 1072 birds entered by 327 members. We continue with another section C member Dave Nicoll of Longforgan on the outskirts of the city of Dundee. Dave had a good mealy cock a few years back that won 8 times in the national and I wonder if this mealy cock SU15DF1481 is a son of this champion. Last year he was entered into the Bedhampton race a distance of 397 miles to his home and he won 128th section C 501st open recording a velocity of 1037 from an entry of 6065 birds entered by 634 members. A few weeks later he was entered into the Ypres race a distance of 459 miles along with the other 2320 birds in the race entered by 409 members and he won 38th section C 135th open recording a velocity of 924. This year he had nearly the same race programme one inland race and one from over the channel, the first being from Maidstone with an entry of 3001 birds entered by 444 members, he was flying 393 miles and won 88th section C 233rd open recording a velocity of 1216. He was then sent to the last national from Roye a distance of 526 miles to his home loft and he was right up with the winners to gain 5th section C 9th open against 747 birds entered by 186 members and recorded a velocity of 1209.  Moving north of Dundee we come to the city of Aberdeen to the loft of Alex R Rae who has a chequer cock SU16AB1410. In 2017 he competed in the Ypres race against the other 2320 birds in the race entered by 409 members and he won 8th section G no open prize diploma for his 482 mile trip however he did recorded a velocity of 724. This year 2018 he was entered into the Buckingham race a distance of 361 miles and competed against 2941 birds sent by 441 members he was then rested before going into the Ypres national a distance of 482 mils and he won 12th section G (north section) 219th open recording a velocity of 1101 racing against 2541 birds entered by 433 members. We now move back to the east of Edinburgh to the village of Tranent for our next 2 pigeons. The first to a fancier I report on quite a lot in my weekly column Jim B McNeil who has had a fantastic season in club, East of Scotland federation and SNFC. Jimmy’s blue bar hen SU15E218 won twice in 2017 being 65th section B 219th open from Bedhampton recording a velocity of 1152 for the 361 miles home flying against 6065 birds entered by 634 members. She then went to Ypres and was up with the winners being 4th section 8th open against an entry of 2320 birds sent by 409 members and she recorded a velocity of 1063 ypm flying 426 miles. This year she was again sent to Ypres with a convoy of 2541 birds sent by 433 members and like last year she was to the fore winning 6th section B 11th open recording a velocity of 1300 ypm for the 426 mile race. We stay in the same village to the Pentland hills member J Mark who has a chequer hen SU15P8071 who also won twice in 2017 the first time from Buckingham a distance of 284 miles and won 335th open but no section prize recording a velocity of 1268 competing against 4170 birds entered by 495 members. A few weeks later she was entered into the Ypres race as part of a convoy of 2320 birds entered by 409 members and she won 8th section B 14th open flying 426 miles and recorded a velocity of 1049. She was then one of Jimmy’s picks for the Gold Cup race from Liege in 2018 and along with the 1072 other birds entered by 327 members was liberated at 05-15am and she recorded a velocity of 1008 to win 4th section B 16th open for the 506 mile race. She like all the above mentioned pigeons now requires ONE more section prize to gain their SNFC Silver Award and I know along with me you the readers will wish them every success in 2019 in achieving this goal.

Memories of 1000 Mile Club

The same year I won from Palamos I also won 1st Fife federation 32nd east section 44th open from Avranches from an entry of 5679 birds W Bolton of Cockburnpath won the national that day. The following year 1977 at Blackpool Show of the Year the 1000 mile club exhibited the birds that had covered this marathon distance. A fancier from Norway ordered 4 youngsters from my red chequer cock when mated to Danny’s 2 hens. The club would get 50% and we each would receive 25%. I got the chance of purchasing a loft from the woman 2 doors from where we lived, as her husband had left her and she was selling his loft. We did not have much money but I managed to talk Margaret into the fact that the money due from the youngster would buy the loft. After we took down our old loft down with the help of a young lad John Bradford who was about 14 years old he also helped us move the new loft. As luck would have it there was a cow field at the back of our gardens and Margaret and I dismantled the loft and put it in the field and carried it to our garden then lifted it over and started to rebuild it. The roof was the heaviest as it was in one piece; we managed to get it up onto the back of the loft with young John holding it with a piece of wood. Margaret and I went inside and lifted the roof at the front and John was to push it up and forward. Low and behold his piece of wood snapped and the roof went backwards, by the time we got out the loft and ran round poor John was halfway over the field. We all had a good laugh about it and finished the job of erecting the loft that same day. But the laugh was soon to be on us as the man from Norway cancelled the young birds and we would not obtain any money and we didn’t have 2 penny’s to rub together. Great memories and a wonderful time in our lives within our hobby especially this weekend as it is our 51st wedding anniversary.

Joe’s Joke

Colin, the Aborigine. A rich man living in Darwin decided that he wanted to throw a party and invited all of his buddies and neighbours. He also invited Colin, the only aborigine in the neighbourhood. He held the party around the pool in the backyard of his mansion. Everyone was having a good time drinking, dancing, eating prawns, oysters and BBQ and flirting. At the height of the party, the host said, 'I have a 15ft man-eating crocodile in my pool and I'll give a million dollars to anyone who has the balls to jump in.' The words were barely out of his mouth when there was a loud splash and everyone turned around and saw Colin in the pool fighting the croc, jabbing the croc in the eyes with his thumbs, throwing punches, doing all kinds of stuff like head butts and chokeholds, biting the croc on the tail and flipping the croc through the air like some kind of Judo Instructor. The water was churning and splashing everywhere.  Both Colin and the croc were screaming and raising hell. Finally Colin strangled the croc and let it float to the top like a dead goldfish. Colin then slowly climbed out of the pool. Everybody was just staring at him in disbelief. The host says, 'Well, Colin, I reckon I owe you a million dollars.' 'Nah, you all right boss, I don't want it,' said Colin. The rich man said, 'Man, I have to give you something. You won the bet. How about half a million bucks then?' 'No thanks. I don't want it,' answered Colin. The host said, 'Come on, I insist on giving you something.  That was amazing. How about a new Porsche and a Rolex and some stock options? Again, Colin said "No." Confused, the rich man asked, 'Well Colin, then what do you want? Colin said, 'I just want the bugger who pushed me in.'

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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. REMEMBER THE J IN THE MIDDLE or you can also view online editions on: - - Pigeon Racing the Basics! - or

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