Further to our recent post “Can you help” when we asked readers if they could assist Cwmni Da with their search for an expert on Kinmel Park Camp – thank you to those who forwarded the name of Robert H. Griffiths.
Robert H. Griffiths’ book, “The Story of Kinmel Park Military Training Camp 1914 to 1918” was published in June of 2014 by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. Mr Griffiths has very kindly shared the following description and two wonderful photographs with us:
“It is an account of life – and illness, accidents and death – in and around the military training camp at Kinmel Park, near Abergele. Though for many over the years it has been regarded as being Kinmel Park Camp near Rhyl.
The camp was constructed from scratch on lush parkland in late 1914/early 1915. It became the largest military training camp in Wales, even having its own railway, the KCR (Kinmel Camp Railway), that eventually connected it to Rhyl. Many, many thousands of soldiers were trained at Kinmel Park Camp during the First World War and Conscientious Objectors were “dealt with there”. The camp had a significant effect on the surrounding area, with road accidents, burglaries and musical entertainments of all kinds being visited upon the local population. Post-armistice the camp became a transit camp for thousands of Canadian soldiers awaiting repatriation to their homeland. Delays and other related factors resulted in the infamous “Canadian Riots” at the camp, which took place on 4th and 5th March 1919, and resulted in the deaths of five Canadian soldiers.
Amongst those who spent time at Kinmel Park Camp in WW1 were Robert Graves the renowned war poet and author, and J. B. Priestley, the playwright and author. The town of Rhyl grew to accommodate the many thousands of soldiers and civilians from Kinmel Park Camp who all the year round frequented Rhyl for its entertainments, refreshments and “seaside delights”.
Robert H. Griffiths’ second book, again published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch came out in February 2016, and is entitled, “Welsh Soldiers, Civilians and Eisteddfodau in WW1”. This book of thirteen chapters/stories has two that have a strong Rhyl connection.
The books are available at Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, Llanrwst; Amazon; The Book Depository; many booksellers on E-Bay and a number of independent bookshops. For example they are for sale at Tweedmill, Trefnant and Siop Clwyd, Denbigh.