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The Commines
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Julien Commine from Leers- Nord in Belgium not far from the border with France is one of the pivotal figures in Belgian and European pigeon racing. Reputedly his family of pigeons were for the sprint and middle distances but as I research the foundations of our sport the strain of this fancier lies at the roots of many of the marathon and long distance families of Europe. A famous stray of his bloodlines became the backbone of the Vanbrauene's, one of the greatest marathon and long distance families of all time.

Our subject was initially a farmer and a breeder of horses and therefore had the necessary experience of animal husbandry to do well at pigeon breeding and then racing. His foundation stock apparently were Wegges obtained from Michel Fache from Poperinge and stock obtained from Vandevelde of Oudenburg. This was his beginnings in approximately 1900.

From the latter purchases Commine laid the foundation of his strain and in 1910 he obtained another pigeon from Vandevelde, out of the latter's famous 'Vuil- Bleu Hen', which he mated to one of his best birds called the 'Checker White Flight Cock', who had flown Bordeaux twice although only 12 months old. Thus up until the beginning of the war 1914 this mating would be the source of some outstanding pigeons especially one called 'Napoleon' who from about 1912 to 1914, won 1st Creil, 1st Chartres, 1st Bordeaux, 2nd Bordeaux, 1st Orléans, etc. An outstanding pigeon.

During the war the pigeons of Julian Commine were taken over by the German occupying army and after a dispute with Commine all of the birds were removed to Brussels. When the war ended Julian Commine found some 3 dozen or thereabouts of his stock at Brussels and some in Germany. However the great 'Napoleon' was no where to be seen, that is, until his return to his home loft in 1919 after being reported. With the return of his number one bird Commine made a start again but not before selling some of his pigeons. Then with exactly 9 pigeons, Julien Commine went on to become a great champion from 1920 until his death in 1939 just as mankind was to experience another act of self inflicted madness across the world.

At the sale of Julian Commines stock apparently they were sold for pittance and famous fanciers like Maurice Ameel bought numerous birds which confirmed in time that they had got a bargain. Although not getting the price which the birds warranted nevertheless they went on to make the names of quite a number of Belgian fanciers. The strain was prominent until the 1960s but alas it tended to fade then but there were super pigeons of the bloodlines like the great bird of Dupondt which the Vereecke lofts bought for what was assumed to be a small fortune. Occasionally one will still see representatives of the strain being sold and the Natural Breeding Station has the bloodlines where grizzles, whites and other colours abound but the latter will admit that they are not in a pure state but are still producing winners. This is to be expected for I doubt if a pure strain of pigeons exists after decades of absence from its original moulder. In fact the Natural Station are quite honest in stating that they cross pigeons into the old strains in order to boost their vitality, etc. However it is important that we do not forget pioneers such as Julian Commine.

Liam O Comain  -
by: Liam O Comain

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