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The History of the Belgium Racing Pigeon : Raoul Van Spitael - Kain-Doornik (BE)

Raoul Van Spitael lives in yor of Doornik ( ±55,000 inhabitans.) Actually the French name, Tournai, should be used since the city is in Wallonia which is the French speaking part of Belgium. At the same time he is a senator.

Two important political positions that require a lot of energy.Kain and is ma In pigeon racing he also held a very important position and for a long time, he was at the top. He is to be compared with Devriendt, VanderE spt, Hector Desmet, Delbar, the Cattrysse's, etc., who called the tunesin the Flemish speaking part of Belgium during the period starting in 1945.
Raoul Van Spitael had  his top position some time before Mare Roosens from Leernes began to race so successfully in semi-national and national races with his Van Spitaels ! But Van Spitael was never secondrate. Patly because his birds fly well in all kinds of weather and partly because they are so strictly selected by their results.
Selection begins every year in April. Yearlings, and even late-hatches, are mated in February and the first Sunday in April go "off to the races" so to speak. This is exactly the contrary of what the other champions do. When the yearlings and the late- -hatches have gone to 6 races and are at± 250 km (156miles) the old birds have their turn. By then Raoul knows how many yearlings he can count on to be good in the future.
This is not a cruel way of finding out which birds mature early and how strong they are but it is a sysstem that is rarely imitated by others.
Raoul Van Spitaei's great reputation was earned by his outstanding triumphs in national and international racing. It is also because so many fanciers in Wallonia came to his loft to get the foundation birds that later made them into big winners.

What is the foundation of the Van Spitael strain ?
To answer that we'11 have to go back to the forties, or shortly after WW2, when Raoul Van Spitael first got into racing pigeons. This is the important period because few changes have been made to the strain developed at that time. The few birds brought in have had no significant importance. It is the original strain that has dominated now tor 35 years . . .

The foundation of the Van Spitaels !

A. 612000-48 "BLEU PLUME BLANCHE"
(Blue White-flight)
One of the very best middie distance racers, he really excelled as a stock bird the likeness of which no one knew. He was out of the old "Bleu Lemain," a well-known bird in the Tournai area, and a hen trom Mr. Baron trom Esplechin. From research conducted lately it appears that Mr. Lemain had pure Stichelbaut pigeons that he picked up in Lauwe before and during the war.
Lemain, a Wallon, was privileged indeed because he went into the homes of some of the greatest Flemish champions; Pol Bostyn, Daniël Labeeuw, Jules Matton, etc.

B. 601466-49 "BON BLEU" (Good Bleubar)
This bird was lost in the catastrophic smash of 7 June 1953.
He had won 29 prizes in 31 middie distance races. He was out of "Bleu
Plume Blanche" (A) and a hen bred by Van Spitael himself trom the same blood line as the sire.

C. 60-22239-48 "BLEU DE '48" (1948 Bluebar)
This was the first bird that excelled at all distances for Van Spitael. Hebecame an excellent stock bird.

D. 667249-49 "LA VIEILLE FEMELLE HOREMANS" (Old Horemans Hen)
This little stock hen bred a whole swarm of prime long distance racers. She was obtained trom Mr. Guelly in Tournai and was out of a pair of birds Mr. Guelly bought at the Hector Desmet auction. Mr. Guelly was an outstanding racer during the 1950-1952 period. Hector Desmet had a loft full of Horemans and was very successful with them. This Horemans hen was, therefore, a pure Horemans and unequalled as a stock hen for Van Spitael.
We remember her well, when she was 14 and her famous son "Blanche Queue" (White Tail) 609035-53 was already retired she was busy feeding two youngsters and already had two more eggs in her nest !
The hen we can compare her to is Daniël Labeeuw's "Zwarten's" dam. "Zwarten" won the Chateauroux National. Both hens were extraordinary layers yet kept producing champions right up to the end. Such birds have become extremely rare by now (1981).
The Horemans hen was somewhat above average size. She had dark check feathers that showed a reddish glow. She bore the 'stamp' of the real Corneel Horemans of the "38" type. These are the birds that brought fame to Horemans and Hector Desmet had been to his place to get baskets full of them. In her turn, the Horemans hen produced a wide range of champions for Raoul Van Spitael.

E. "LENOIR10"(BlacklO)
A 1950 late-hatch, he came from Mr. Brocquessoy in Tournai who had Commines and Durays.
He was a son of Broquessoy's well-known "Bac 10," that was out of a son of "Rapide" named after a pre-war Commine crack.
His dam was a granddaughter of Earnest Duray's "Ruffec."«

F. "LE NOIR RAPIDE" (The Fast Black)
Another Commines x Duray bought by Mr. Van Spitael after he won an Angoulême race 15 minutes out in front for Mr. Brocquessoy.
"Le Noir Rapide" was a brother of the famous "Bac 10" already mentioned.

G. 694597-50 "PATTE CASSEE" hen
Another Commines x Duray from Mr. Brocquessoy. She was a daughter of "Patte Cassee" mated to a daughter of "Rapide".

H. 678944-50 "LE BLEU TICBLANC" (Bluebar white tick)
Son of a brother of Brocquessoy's "Rapide," this bird was also a Commine x Duray.

I. 694567-50 "LE TARDIF BLEU" (Late-hatch Bluebar)
A brother of letter H.

J. 603117-51 "MACOTTE" (Splash)
This was a stock hen without precedence. She was the nest-sister of "Le Bon Noir" thus a daughter of "Le Noir 10" letter E and the old Horemans hen letter D. "Macotte" fiew as a youngbird scoring 5th, 30th and 32nd from Creil, 4th from St. Denis, lOth from Oriéans and 4th from Angoulême.

K. 655007-52 "LE PRODUCTEUR" (Breeder)
A grandson of the old Horemans hen.
 
L. 759958-54 "LE DANHAIVE"
Direct from the Danhaive Brothers in Basecles. He was a grandson of the Libourne National Winner of Hector Desmet's. He was a pure Corneel Horemans.

M. 602335-52 " L'ECAILLE PLUME BLANCHE" (Blue Check White-flight)
This bird won 9 prizes in 1953 in races from Creil to Angoulême.
This included three 1sts. He was a grandson of letter L and G. We can limit the basic stock bird list to the above because, as we already noted, few changes were made. Morover, there is enough diversity in the birds listed above for it to have been possible to breed a long time without having to inbreed too closely.
Logically, a single blood line shows up in all birds on both sire and dam side but only in the third or fourth degree. The "Old Horemans-hen" is to be found throughout the whole strain.