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The history of Belgian Racing Pigeons. Jerome & Roger Vereecke (Deerlijk, BE) - Part I

Father Jerome Vereecke, who in 1914 was one year too young to become a soldier, started racing pigeons just before the First World War broke out.

Roger & Jerome Vereecke

The same thing happened for his son Roger in 1940. For him also it was one year too early to become a soldier. He was called up for military service in 1945 and was stationed in Great Britain with a transportation company.
During the years afterwards, Roger kept in touch with friends in England and so in 1954 he went to the People Show in London. There he made the acquaintance of Victor Fabry, with whom he is still very friendly.
From 1950 to 1953 Roger Vereecke was also member of the Provincial Sports Committee of West Flandres, together with other well known pigeon fanciers such as Leopold Lamote, Julien Mathys, Jules Gallez, and Gerard Vanhee.
Roger married Renée DeBaene (born 12 May 1932) from Poperingeon the 5th of April 1956.
Jerome Vereecke started racing pigeons in 1914.
His real start was in 1927 when he bought, for 4,000 francs, the three best birds at the total sale of the Delombaerde Brothers trom Waregem. With the offspring, Jerome Vereecke was a tremendous short distance racer during the 1928-30 period.
During the early 1930's Jerome didn't pay much attention to his birds until 1937 when he again began to get excited in a large part due to his loft manager, Emile Deweer.
He started on the widowhood system in 1938.
In 1939 Jerome Vereecke was widely known through his 4 best middle distance birds, along with the Desmet Brothers from Waregem, the Brunin Brothers from Dottenijs and René Verronen trom Desselgem.
1941 — War time.
The pigeons were locked up from 1940 through to 1944. Jerome had a special aviary built which allowed his pigeons to get out into the sunshine.
An excellent view was of part of the Roger Vereecke lofts with the enormous aviarys for the widowhood hens in between. The same aviary is still used today for stock birds. Meanwhile son Roger was bitten by the pigeon racing bug! 1948-1952 : after Jerome Vereecke won the 1948 Orleans Courtrai race, Roger took over and from 1949 on the racing was in his name. During that year the Emile Dupont from Herseaux strain began to excell; with a number of 1st prizes from Dourdan and to end the season, a 1st from Vendome and a 1st from Blois with about 80,000 francs in winnings. The prime example of the Dupont strain was the famous Atomic. Buying the world famous bird De Schuwen added to his success in 1951 and especially in 1952, so that by the end of that period the Vereeckes were considered to be the best middle distance racers in Belgium.

Here are a few of the prizes from these years :
1951 :
 3 May Clermont with St-Lodewijk club (175 km / 108 miles) 122 pigeons : 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 22nd
 6 May Clermont with St-Lodewijk club (175 km/108 miles) 796 pigeons : 2nd, 5th, 9th, llth, 12th, 13th, 18th, 19th, 35th, 47th, 55th - won 9,300 francs
13 May Clermont with Deerlijk club (same distance) 585 birds : 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 14th, 17th, 31st, 47th, 54th.
           Clermont Zwevegem Club (173 kms / 108 miles) 602 birds: 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, 13th, 19th, 23rd, 26th, 27th, 3 Ist, 33rd, 38th, 41st, won 8,327 francs
27 May Dourdan Zwevegem Club (272 kms/ 170 miles) 525 birds : 4th, 7th, 8th, lOth, 20th, 24th, 34th, 40th, 47th, won 11,985 francs.
10 June Dourdan Zwevegem Club, 302 birds : Ist, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 27th, 28th, 32nd, 38th, 48th, 50th,73rd (10 birds on the drop), won 12,510 francs.
    Tulle National, 4122 birds: 65th (with one entry).
17 June Orleans Herseaux Club (340 kms/212 miles) 546 birds: 7th,    8th 19th, 24th, 30th, 36th, 39th, 52nd, 53rd, 54th, won 43,410 francs.
  1 July Orleans Herseaux Club, 375 birds: 3rd, 4th, 1Oth, 12th, 18th, 24th, 26th, 27th, 28th, won 30,110 francs.
15 July Blois Herseaux Club (389 kms/243 miles) 250 pigeons : 5th, 9th, 11th, 30th, 39th, 42nd, won 12,475 francs.
20 April Creil Vichte Club (184 kms/115 miles) 240 birds: 1st, 3rd, 14th, 15th, 18th, 20th, 24th.
27 April Creil St-Lodewijk Club (184 kms/115 miles) 316 birds: 4th, 7th, llth, 21st, 23rd, 25th, 38th, won 10,466 francs.
 18 May Dourdan Otegem Club (272 kms/l/O miles) 750 birds : 1st, 6th, 9th, lOth, 26th, won 8,948 francs.
           Orleans Oostrozebeke Club (340 kms/212 miles) 260 birds: 2nd, 12th, 34th, won 12,280 francs.
           Orleans Kortrijk Club 770 birds : 14th, 24th, won 9,168 francs.
 1 June Orleans Kortrijk Club 459 birds : Ist, 2nd, 48th, 50th, 57th, 58th, 63rd, won 17,840 francs.
 8 June Brives National (644 kms/403 miles) 3,463 birds: 28th, 127th„ won 14,793 francs with two entries.
    Tours Dottenijs Club (428 kms/268 miles) 1544 birds: 6th, 19th, 20th, 31st, 42nd, 63rd, 81st, won 45,750 francs with 8 entries.
    Dourdan Zwevegem Club (272 kms/170 miles) 590 birds: 1st, 3rd. 119 th, 124th, 154th (with 6 entries).
15 June Orleans Bellegem Club (340 kms/212 miles) 208 birds: 1st, 3rd, lOth, 12th, 14th, 39th, won 7,819 francs.
 22 June Orleans Deerlijk Club (340 kms/212 miles) 398 birds: 7th, 8th, 16th, 30th, 12,740 francs.
    Orleans Herseaux Club, 338 birds: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 27th, 48th, won 13,655 francs.
 29 June Creil St. Lodewijk Club (184 kms/l 15 miles) 266 birds: 1st, 2nd, 9th, 35th, 41st, 61st.
    Dourdan St. Lodewijk Club (272 kms / 170 miles) 162 birds : 2nd, 4th, 16th, 22nd, 30th. 35th, 39th.
    Orleans Kortrijk Club 494 birds : 6th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 34th, 41st, 66th,    won 25,366 francs.
 13 July Blois Kortrijk Club (389 kms/ 243 miles) 455 birds: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, lOth, llth, 12th, 15th, 32nd, 68 th, won 41,495 francs (9 birds in one minute out of 14 sent!)
    Creil Vichte Club (184 kms/l 15 miles) 89 birds: Ist, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 12th, 16 th, 18th.
1953 :
The Interprovinciale race from Tours was flown by 223 birds in suffocating heat. De Schuwin's  three 1951 sons were Ist, 2nd, and 3rd for Michael Nachtegael from Zulte. They were De Hengst (Stallion), De Langen (Long One) and De Blok (Block). A week earlier Block won the Orleans race in the Kortrijk Club against 413 birds flying into a fierce headwind. Oud Duivinneke (Little Old Hen), whose mark is seen in the present strain, was a daughter of Block mated to a daughter of Atomique.
The Little Old Hen was the mother of the champion pigeons Bleek (Pale), Zwart (Black), Goede Kweker (Good Breeder) and grandmother of Barcelona, Schonen (Beauty), Montauban, Bourges-duiver (Bourges Cock), Taaien, (Tenacious) and Bonten (Pied).
After his outstanding success in the Orleans (Provinciale) Race at the Kortrijk Courrier Club, Roger Vereecke was congratulated by the president of the Royal Belgian Racing Pigeon Federation, Wilfried Staes. Immediately afterwards a group photo was taken in front of Pol Huysentruyt's Café Sebastopol in Kortrijk.
Roger Vereecke's two-year-old pigeons won 202,000 francs in prize money in the first four middle distance races of the season.
15 May Dourdan (272 kms/ 170 miles) Deerlijk Club 838 birds: 1st, 18th, 21st, 22nd, 27th, 45th, 71st, won 20,980 francs.
22 May Orleans (Provincial) (340 kms/212 miles) Kortrijk Club 904 birds : 24th, 26th, 28th, 32nd, 33rd, 36th, 39th, 40th, 41st, 43rd, 44th, 49th, 56th, 76th, 99th, 75,040 francs (11 birds in 2 minutes).
29 May Orleans (Interprovincial) Zwevegem Club 334 birds: 2nd, 7th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 20th, 22nd, 38th, 40th, 41st, 50th won 53,754 francs.
12 June Tours (International) Dotteniys Club (428 kms / 268 miles) 807 birds : 8th, 17th, 36th, 43rd, 50th, 54th, 98th, won 50,825 francs.
In the year 1955 Roger Vereeoke dominated the middle distance races along with Alois Vaernewyck, from Waregem, who also flew the Vereecke strain.
 1959 :
After winning the 1st prize in the 1957 Tours International with the Dottenijs Club against 657 birds and again in 1958 recording impressive results in the classic middie distance race from Orleans, the tour remaining champions reserved 1959 as their very own superyear. Six-year-olds. They were 88, Rost (Red), Witoogske (Little Peari Eye), Gebroken Poot (Broken Foot).
After the Moeskroen Club Orleans Race, in which they were 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, they took four top prizes from Orleans in the Tielt and the Deerlijk  Club Races.
A week later they really crowned their records : Orleans with the Menon Club (340 km/212 miles) (West Flanders Middle Distance Championship) 725 birds: Ist (only one sent) against the best birds in West Flanders, winning 24,560 francs.
Same day : Orleans with the Kortrijk Club 464 birds : Ist, 8th, and 43rd (sent three) against all East Flanders for Michel Nachtegaele in Zulte and Alois Vaernewyck in Waregem.
In 1959 the famous Rost flew in six Orleans races: Moeskroen Club 369 birds: 2nd, Tielt Club 400 birds : 6th, Deerlijk Club 399 birds : lOth, Menen Club 725 birds Ist, Bellegem-Club 339 birds : 6th, Dottenijs Club 318 birds: 5th.

1960-1961 Total sale of Vereecke's birds.
This was held at home in Deerlijk. The 261 birds brought a total of 1,045,120 francs making an average of4,000 francs each.
The total liquidation ended the middle distance period.
1962-1965 :
While building up a loft of long distance flyers the Vereecke's remained true to form. Whereas they previously bought up the middie distance races, they now bought long distance champion flyers: all birds that won national races. Crossed with the old Dupont Schuwen strain; the four champion flyers listed below were responsible for the rise of the Vereecke loft to the verv summit of racing glory.

The World Champions 1970
For years the Vereecke's bought the world's best pigeons. They also bred the world's best out of these acquisitions. Their flying record in 1970 crowned them World Champions for that year. For the first time in the history of Belgian racing pigeons the same loft won the three biggest championships in Belgium:
Marathon (Montauban, Barcelona) San Sebastian) a total of 3,000 kms /1,875 miles.
GENERAL CHAMPION of the West Flemish Union and Interprovincial
General Champion of the Belgian Entente.
They also won 18 other championship titles.
The year 1970 heralded a definitive break through into international fame.