Black Country Bugle

‘It might a bin wuss’ – dark humour from a Great War pigeon mon


THE following is an extract on old-time Black Country sports, taken from T.H. Gough’s 1939 edition of Black Country Stories ...

Bull baiting, cock fighting, dog fighting, pigeon flying and pigeon racing were all at one period in the history of the Black Country favourite sports (so called).

Pigeon flying and pigeon racing have survived to the present day, and, judging by the number of pigeons conveyed in specially adapted baskets by the railway companies into the surroundin­g country districts on Sunday mornings, the sport is still as popular now as it was a quarter of a century ago.

In the Black Country then, as now, a man with a pigeon loft containing ‘wummers’ (homing pigeons) capable of winning stakes, greatly prized them, and the loss of all or any of them was considered a serious disaster.

There was an evening during the Great War when the German zeppelins paid an unwelcome visit to the Black Country.

The morning following the raid, a man from Walsall said to a fellow workman from Tipton:

“Joe, did yer get the zepps at Tip’on last night?”

“Oh ah,” was his reply, “they paid us a visit.” “Did they dew ony damage to ony on yer?” “Oh, it was dreadful,” replied Joe. “They killed the ode ooman. But they dey touch the pigeons, so it might a bin wuss.”

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