Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Kinmel Park Incident of 1919



Contributed by Sidney Clark

The mutiny and riots that occurred in 1919 involving Canadian soldiers in the army camp known as Kinmel Park at Bodelwyddan, North Wales, Flintshire, has been explained in many books. The facts as far as I understand them are that five Canadian soldiers died during the incident from gunshot and bayonet wounds. My understanding is that these five men were never judged or found guilty of any crime. Their deaths did occur when what is commonly referred to as the "The Mutiny at Kinmel Park" was taking place on 5 March 1919. There was, however, never any question of the loyalty or patriotism of any of the men stationed at the camp. They just wanted to go home, and the continued delays built up a frustration that manifested itself in a riot. 

Over the years a myth has arisen that many of the Canadians buried in this churchyard were mutineers, when the facts are that all but these five died from natural causes and rampant influenza. However, the main reason that led up to those actions taken up by Canadian soldiers barracked there after returning from the dreadful conditions of the First World War was the canceling of the ships scheduled to take them home. This was the spark that ignited the indiscipline.

Aftermath of the Mutiny

During the mutiny there was an instance of one soldier who was shot and killed. Who fired that shot has never been fully explained. The official documents were sealed for 100 years.

Village Church


In Saint Margaret's village churchyard lie the Canadian soldiers who died at this camp, the majority from the flu epidemic. Included are the graves of four American citizens who served with the Canadian Army and a memorial to a nursing sister, age 26, who served with the Canadian Medical Corps. The memorial in the little cemetery reads:

To the Memory of Canadian Soldiers who died at Kinmel Park Camp during the Great War. This memorial was erected by their comrades. 

Their Names Live Forevermore



4 comments:

  1. I was trained at Kinmel Park Camp in the 1960s (It finally closed in about 1980). The facts as reported here are pretty much correct. There is a very detailed Canadian paper on the mutiny here:

    http://cobwfa.ca/DOCUMENTS/WWI-Kinmel%20Park%20Mutiny%20-%20Canadian%20Army.pdf

    In the group of CWGC graves at the nearby "Marble Church" are a group of Canadian graves, in which the five men killed during the riots were buried alongside those that died of Spanish influenza. There are 113 burials of which 80 are Canadians. Among the WW1 burials there are 2 WWII graves and one quite recent burial, of a second lieutenant killed in a road accident in November 1963. I was a 17 year old junior soldier and one of the burial party. I can still remember the firing party firing over the grave and the noise as hundreds of startled rooks took off from the tees surrounding the church. David Craig

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  2. Dave, have you any other stories of your time at Kinmel Camp. I am at present writing a book "100 years of Service to the Crown - Kinmel Park Camp. I am looking for short stories of the 60's and the 70's. In Comradeship John in Old Colwyn, N. Wales

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  3. Dave, have you any other stories of your time at Kinmel Camp. I am at present writing a book "100 years of Service to the Crown - Kinmel Park Camp. I am looking for short stories of the 60's and the 70's. In Comradeship John in Old Colwyn, N. Wales

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  4. I trained as signaler at Kimnel Bay camp for six weeks in 1952.Every sixth week intake trained for, - and were posted to Korea: before I was informed otherwise. I, along with all the other lads, thought the Canadian event was a mith. Tom Britland

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