Lerwick Race June 1939 – Record winning velocity – by Brian Newson

Lerwick Race June 1939

Record Winning Velocity

By Brian Newson

The proud distinction of winning the Blue Riband of the North Road 1st Lerwick and the King George V Challenge Cup and replica was accomplished by Peterborough’s most successful fanciers, Messrs Jepson Bros & Curtis: Not only did they achieve this great honour coveted by all pigeon enthusiasts but they also broke all previous records for speed from this difficult race point. Seven hundred birds took part and they were liberated on Sunday, June 25th at 5:20am in a north wind.

Their pigeon, Lerwick Record Breaker, a red chequer cock NURP36PDF1290 covered the journey of 526 miles at a vel of 1875ypm, a performance of outstanding merit. The first Lerwick winner of this event was won by the late J T Hincks of Leicester at a vel of 815 in 1901. In 1913 Mr W L Thackray, Old Malton, Yorkshire made a vel of 1763 and which stood until broken by Messrs Jepson Bros & Curtis. Only on one previous occasion had the distinction of winning the King’s Cup gone to Peterborough, Mr Dan Fitzjohn being the successful fancier in 1911 registering a vel of 1104.

Lerwick Record Breaker was bred by the partners at their old loft where it was flown as a young bird, all stages to Durham 167 miles winning equal first Northallerton, Peterborough City FC and 5th South Section Peterborough Dist Fed 1937, Thurso 436 miles winning 2nd Peterborough City FC, 2nd Peterborough Fed (Both Sections), 2nd Peterborough Fed Thurso Open race when only four birds homed on the day of liberation recording a vel of 951 being beaten by decimals. 1939, trained to Durham 167 miles; was then prepared for Lerwick winning 16th Section, 30th Open NRCC vel 1169, also 17th Peterborough Fed Open Lerwick race was then sent back to Thurso, 436 miles again being well up to; 1939 competed in the Feds Northallerton and Berwick for Lerwick was sent on a 40 mile training toss. Lerwick Record Breaker reared two youngsters from the first nest and then sat pot eggs: Was sent to Lerwick sitting 12 days carrying seven old flights, the eighth three-quarters up. Despite the win and remarkable performance the partners lost several minutes trapping as they were not prepared for such an early arrival.

In hard cash Lerwick Record Breaker won over £100 and which includes the President’s special of £50, The Racing Pigeon Cup and £5 commemoration special, the J Walter Jones MVO Memorial Challenge Cup and Replica’s and the East Midland Section Cup and Replica.

Further successes in this race achieved by this bird were 1st Peterborough City FC, 1st Peterborough & Dist Fed, 1st Peterborough & Dist Fed Open Lerwick race. Further successes for the partners came from another two entries both of which had been big winners. One, a blue hen RP36PDF1300 was mated to Lerwick Record Breaker and she was timed in at 2:30pm some 55 minutes behind hher mate; the other, a blue chequer hen RP37PDF372 was clocked at 3:26pm.

Lerwick successes were nothing new to this loft for in 1934 their blue chequer cock ‘Unexpected’ RP31PDF1158 won 1st Northants Open Lerwick race vel 1735 with 296 birds competing. This was followed in 1935 by winning 4th Lerwick Northants Open Lerwick race, both of these pigeons being related to the 1939 winner. Hundreds of prizes were won at all distances in one of the strongest clubs in the Peterborough Fed. On three occasions, 1933, 1935 & 1938 the OB Average Cup was won in the City FC twice they won the Combined Average, also the long distance average and in 1938 won the South Section Peterborough & Dist Fed Average. In addition they also twice lifted the YB Cup in the City FC. The loft was divided into two compartments, the birds trapping through the open door. It was ideally situated on the south-east side of Peterborough facing due couth in open country. They were by no means mob flyers with 16 pairs being their limit. Forced exercise was not considered with 40 mile training tosses being the preferred option. The birds were Fed all the year round on the best of English peas though 1939 was an exception when they introduced a few beans to the diet. The partners had kept pigeons since their school days but serious racing was not participated in until 1930 and when, from the date, they have enjoyed exceptional success and this, despite the fact that the loft has been removed a distance of two miles on two occasions during the past three seasons. The last time being just before the 1938 racing season. There are no fads and on coddling of the birds; inderal buy just a survival of the fittest regime. Pedigree winners bred from Pedigree winners of long distance ancestry. – Perserverance.

What’s In A Name:

Over many years pigeon Club’s have used Public Houses for many events and none more so than in their use as club headquarters. The names of many pubs have a story attached to them and while here in Preston we have the Sir Tom Finney, given below are one or two more to show the interest that can be generated by investing the names of many pubs across the country.

We start with ‘The Noble House’ in Hove and which was named after Battle of Britain here ‘Dennis Noble’. It was during the Batlle of Britain on August 30th 1940 that Sergeant Dennis Noble made the ultimate sacrifice. Dennis was only 27 days into active service as a Hurricane Fighter Pilot with 43 Squadron when he was involved in a dog fight with German planes pver Hove in East Sussex. The 20 year old former shop worker had already been credited with shooting down a Stuka dive-bomber, narrowly surviving when his own plane was hit seven times.

This time he was not so lucky being killed in his cockpit a Messerschmitt 109 during the engagement. Horrified onlookers watched as his Hurricane plummeted to the ground. Denn’s body was not found at the time and the 15ft crater in the road made was by his plane was quickly filled in. The pilot’s remains only came to light during a 1966 excavation and he was later buried in his home town of Retford, Nottinghamshire. The wreckage of his plane was put on display at Tangmere aviation museum, West Sussex. In 2012 Dennis’s name was chosen for a new pub, Noble House, located just 100 yards from the crash site. A large painting of the pilot was also hung over the bar. Landlord Peter Wilson said ‘It is great that in this day and age people still want to remember men like Dennis who was so young when he died. We could have chosen some trendy name but no-one wanted that.

There are a number of pub’s around the country with similar histories and therefore there are two more for the time-being. The pub is ‘The Rifleman’ at Twickenham and concerns the footballer of Loos. The sign at The Rifleman Sports a picture of Private Frank Edwards, a man who inspired his comrades to ‘go over the top’ during the first world war by kicking a football into no mans land. Frank, who served with the London Irish Rifles, is notable for his actions at the Battle of Loos in 1915. On September 25th the 22 year old advanced with his men out of the trenches while kicking a leather football ahead of him through heavy machine gun and mortar fire. With a shout Frank punted the ball towards German lines then dribbled it for 20 yards and passed it between comrades before going down injured in the thigh by a bullet. The attack overcame two lines of enemy trenches and the football was later retrieved from barbed wire. It is now kept at the regimental museum.

Frank, who also suffered from gas poisoning, recovered and survived the war. He died in 1964 the Rifleman’s landlord Mick Laker explained ‘We were getting a new pub sign when we learned about Frank who lived nearby on Twickenham Green. A customer thought it would be fitting to get a sign dedicated to him. Everyone at the pub is proud to be associated with Frank’s story’.

The third and final pub for the time being concerns the ‘Wilfred Wood’ pub at Hazel Grove in Cheshire. In 1918 Private Wilfred Wood was serving with the 10th Battalion the Northumberland Fusiliers in Italy. The 21 year old from Stockport was among British Forces fighting alongside the Italians against the Austro-Hungarians at the Battle of Vittorio Veneto and it was here that Wilfred won the Victoria Cross. On October the 28th his platoon found itself pinned down by enermy machine guns and snipers. On his own initiative Wilfred worked his way forward with a Lewis Gun and took out a machine gun nest forcing 140 men to surrender. He then charged another enemy position firing his gun from the hip, killing the machine gun crew before forcing the surrender of three officers and 160 more men. The battle was a decisive victory and helped end the war. After the conflict Wilfred worked as a train driver in Cheshire. He died in 1982. The pub named in his honour was opened in 2010 with the blessing of Wilfred’s son Harry.

Brian Newson