In 1929 Rhyl held a Carnival which turned out to be one of the biggest events ever to be held in the town. Ten of thousands of people flocked into Rhyl by road and rail for the three day Carnival which began on Thursday, June 27th. The advertisement on the left is typical and was from the Yorkshire Evening Post.
In his book “Rhyl, the town and its people” J.W. Jones wrote that it was the idea of Arnold Heckle, the popular Publicity Manager at the time. A Carnival King and Queen were appointed. The “King” was Bertram Jones, proprietor and editor of the Rhyl Leader and the “Queen” was Billie Manders. To get a flavour of the wonderful carnival of 1929, watch the British Pathé footage
The sun shone on the Carnival’s opening day, the highlight of which was the arrival of the famous aviator Sir Alan Cobham, but more of that later. Also on the Thursday was a Gilbert and Sullivan garden fete in the Vicarage Grounds and a torchlight procession and tattoo in the Marine Gardens (beside the pavilion).
Friday and Saturday saw a speed boat rally, motor cycle reliability trials, sports, a Children’s Beauty competition, roller skating races, dances, a Grand Procession, community singing and fireworks
But back to the opening day and the hugely anticipated arrival of Sir Alan Cobham in his de Havilland Giant Moth which he christened “Youth of Britain”. The Rhyl Journal reported that he was expected to arrive at Aberkinsey Farm (between Rhyl and Dyserth) at 11a.m and a big crowd had gathered to welcome him. Unfortunately he experienced mechanical problems as he left Crewe which meant it was after 12 noon that he was first sighted over the farm. He made a “beautiful” landing amidst great cheering and was immediately “mobbed” by the crowd. Sir Alan then proceeded to take members and officials of Rhyl council for a flight over the town. Then a second party boarded the plane but as it took off the propeller caught a tree and sustained damage which caused abandonment of the flight. Fortunately no-one suffered any injuries. A photograph of the “crash” can be seen below.
photograph reproduced with kind permission of Pete Robinson at dyserth.com
The Rhyl Journal published a list of children chosen to take a flight that day, representing various schools in Rhyl. It added that their flight would be postponed until the following day because of the accident. It was not clear in the paper as to whether the children ever took their flight – risk assessment was probably quite different in 1929!
In the Rhyl Journal the following week, under the headline “Aerodrome for Rhyl” Sir Alan assured those gathered at a reception that there would have been no such trouble if there had been a proper aerodrome. Sir Alan said “they had to make use of improvised fields as they proceded from town to town and the field selected at Aberkinsey Farm was the only one suitable for the purpose of such a demonstration from Anglesey to Rhyl. There was a great opportunity before Rhyl, so far as aviation in North Wales was concerned, and he hoped they were that day seeing the beginning of the laying of the foundations of a local aerodrome.”