By the way, our host was, and possibly still is, a ladies man. I recently wrote that the naughtiness shines out of his twinkling eyes. In his glory day it would have been dangerous to introduce him to your ‘bird’. Joking apart, André Vanbruaene is a personality which can’t be ignored in the history of the Belgian pigeon sport.
I continued, he says, partly through the influence of Jules Vermote. It was during the years 36-37 when I raced with hens and everything, that the foundations for the widowhood were laid. I raced a first from Angoulème and in the kursaal Palace in Ostend, I was presented with a unique vase from Val St. Lambert for my achievement. It was with the ‘Stier’ in a race organised by Luik .
Japanese visiting Vanbruaene. They bought the 3068902/61 in 1966 after he had won the first prize international Barcelona .
During those days Pol Bostijn even joined us. We took to the road with the first car in West-Flanders and it was from Remy Molein from leper. I was the youngest by far amongst all these gentlemen. In those days they even held a party now and then, not as elaborate as nowadays, but with a good pint and a ham sandwich. You weren’t allowed to bet on the pigeons either. I didn’t receive anything from home. I had to pay for everything with my pocket money. I had to pay for the maintenance of the pigeons myself. Sometimes I was sitting at the table with the big guys, so as an Allumiez from Ostend, who was a fish wholesaler. If I was to name those names now, no-one would know them anymore. Only a few names which acquired more of a reputation will be known to a few readers. I was lucky enough, when still very young, to be able to manifest myself between the greats from the pre-war period. So I've heard a lot and learned a lot in every way.
Nowadays you have the bluffers who won’t listen. I kept to my place and I tried to remember everything and pick up things out the many conversations which could help me further. Naturally we are now living in different times. Everything evolves rapidly. The youth are also stamping at the door here. Now, why should it be different in the pigeon sport to any other part of the world. Everyone goes with the times. But, it is still not that easy. One year is definitely not another. You should know, I am from 1910 and got married in 1934. Between you and me, mister, there is a generation’s difference.
In the old days I also went to the Cattryssen to buy a pigeon. It took me seven months before I could get hold of the pigeon.
And then we only reached an agreement after the intervention of Ernest Derumeaux, a friend of the house. Father Oscar was the cleverest of men. I was upstairs in the loft together with Gerard. It was during the period when they were greatly troubled with pylon wires.
We came upstairs and saw a pigeon on the plank with its wing hanging. I was there with my uncle and Gerard said to him: look at that pigeon sitting there, it is a brother of our Louis. The best pigeon they had at the time, mister, and I was not deaf. I heard this and thought about it. Those wires, said Gerard, they have caused us a great deal of damage . I didn’t let on that I had understood. Oscar came upstairs and showed us this and that. Until I suddenly said: And that one there, on the plank, with its wing hanging down... what for pigeon is that?! He, said Oscar, that’s not a pigeon, it’s rubbish. Gerard blushed. He knew that he had spoken out of turn. I asked how much it was! It all went quiet and my uncle and I drew on this. Seven months later I had him. That was in the halls of Kortrijk, just before the war.
And with the intervention of Derumeaux who was a good friend. Just before the war I raced another first prize with a son from him. I did well with this pigeon. But 2 days later war broke out .
The lofts above the furniture business
During these years I kept exclusively to my own sort. There wasn’t much food and everyone kept to a minimum of pigeons. Yet my pigeons still had to fly out daily. And that was a great advantage in keeping in condition. The youngsters were for eating. It was dangerous not to be caught. But I was lucky that I had doctor Coene, who had his own clinic and who took care of many Germans. So with one thing and another and with his support I could regularly let the pigeons out. He was all pigeon, the doctor. He visited specially to come and chat. This resulted in me having a great advantage over the other fanciers after the war had ended, as some of them had had their pigeons deported. I could start with fresh pigeons straight away. That is still the case. Most fanciers keep their pigeons boxed in for breeding. They do have a large aviary. I don’t. I don’t lock up any pigeons. They have to be able to go outside, both the breeders as the other pigeons, even if they are pigeons which I have purchased. I’m not saying that I don’t sometimes lock up a special couple one year. I do. Often due to joint breeding with a special pigeon or something. But locking them up for years, or even for their entire life, that is not for me. That is against my principles. I’m not saying I’m the cleverest fancier, mister. Everyone has their own opinion over this. Locking up a couple for a couple of eggs. I do this regularly. I did this with the Barcelona from Professor Van Grembergen, which also stems from my sort.
This pigeon won a second in 1962 and a first international in 1964. He came out a hen from here. I also used him and a few hens to breed some youngsters in the aviary in the attic. Including my Olympiad and other top pigeons which descend from them. In this way I have always introduced new blood into the lines .
The "Red Barcelona", raced Barcelona 3 times and is a son of "The Stier"