Cattrysse brothers and their strain

Oscar and Gerard Cattrysse

The late Oscar and Gerard Cattrysse founded a strain of racing pigeons which can in the minds of the experts be compared with any other of the great racing pigeon dynasties. Numerous authorities in their time referred to the brothers as the 'undisputed world champions'. This included the world acknowledged pigeon authority the legendary Piet de Weerd. And there is no doubt that the results obtained by this wonderful strain would confirm the latter opinion. The Cattrysse brothers were from Moere in Belgium and they had entered the sport prior to the first world war. Pigeon wise things however did not blossom until they purchased in 1922 a pair of squeakers from the loft of Jules Vander Espt which were sired by the latter's 'Blauwe' which won approximately eight races as a youngster. Following this purchase the brothers based up on a newspaper report visited the loft of Pierre Deknop and for a large sum bought a pair of squeakers from the latter. They also purchased a hen from the loft of Ernest Casteleyn from near- to Moere and through a process of crossing they eventually, based upon the cross of Casteleyn and Vander Espt, produced their 'Grote Blauwe' Which was the foundation of a lifetime of great pigeon racing into Moere. From their example if anything was the pursuit of good stock for which they paid handsomely within the context of a sense of patience. For a 'sport' can won a race but unless there is pedigree and consistency the odds against are high. As for the virtue of patience the brothers had it apparently in abundance- a virtue which many others lack but which is necessary in the sport otherwise the years are lean with the odd 'sport' making an appearance.
From the great 'Grote Blauwe' came a string of outstanding racers and breeders especially when mated to another of their purchases from the Deknop lofts.
One of these winners was 'Louis' with many successes including firsts from Tours and Angouleme. The latter was a brother of 'The Langen', the 'Kleine' and 'Napoleon' and who in fact was equal to or better than their brother. Always being on the lookout for good crosses to improve their stock the Cattrysses's made a very important purchase in 1930. From a certain Albert Deforce they bought two hens which they mated to 'The Kleine' and 'Louis'. The resultant offspring from these matings were outstanding to say the lease for they included 'The Kleine Blauwe', 'Cendre' and 'Langen Jr'. While the mating of the 'Kleine' produced the great 'Gebroken Poot'. Still the successes with the breeding and the racing never dampened the brothers pursuit of good crosses for again they purchased from Leopold Lamote a very small hen with a speck of white on its head. Another stroke of genius for it was bred with 'Gebroken Poot' breeding outstanding representatives of the strain including the great 'Sproeten'. It cannot be doubted when one peruses the record of their breeding that the Cattrysse brothers were masters of their art. During the period of about 1930-1940 the brothers racing successes became known world-wide and they were feted at home for they were bringing fame to their local area. Unfortunately the event of the German occupation of Belgium in 1940 saw the brothers being denied access to their lofts but after the arrival of the Canadians in 1944 they entered empty lofts for in the meantime their stock had been removed to aviaries at Brussels. Upon the reception of this news approximately 40 birds were returned to their lofts at Moere which included four sons of one of their many champions and a few grandchildren of 'Louis'. Then as if the horrors of the recent past had never happened the breeding began again in which in due course there arrived via one pairing an ugly looking blue which was to prove a gold mine in pigeon racing terms. It was named 'Pette' and was the father of the immortal 'De 45' as well as numerous other fantastic racers and breeders. From Arras to Mountauban 'De 45' won at all distances and in 1949 won 255,000 francs. The following year he won 47,000 francs as he established himself as truly an ace pigeon having won for example from Bordeaux by one clear hour. His mother was the great 'Mette'. Also in that year (1950) the first sale of the Cattrysse's was held in the Belgium capital and the prices were outstanding.

Many were the successes of the strain during the fifties and the sixties especially when the weather was so bad that other species of birds were noticeable by their absence. But the thoroughbreds of the brothers flew and reaped much rewards inspite of the looming figure of the Old Reaper for Oscar's health got bad and on the 21st of March in 1964 he died. As he was buried many representatives from throughout the world followed his remains for he like his brother was held in high esteem not alone as pigeon greats but as fine human beings For a few years Gerard raced along with Maurice Beuselinck- Cattrysse but decided to go it alone in 1967 but time was short for in February 1969 the second person of the great partnership also answered the call. Again like the funeral of his brother they came from everywhere to pay their respects. Many of whom were flying and winning with the thoroughbreds which originated in Moere under the genius of two apparently humble men. The Belgium and the world pigeon community should remember them with pride!