Kinmel Park mutiny

On 4 and 5 March 1919, Kinmel Park in Bodelwyddan, near Abergele, north Wales, experienced two days of riots in the Canadian sector of the military complex. The riots were believed to have been caused by delays in repatriation. Also, the Canadian soldier's resentful of being used by their British Officers, as forced labour for the England they fought for, when all they wanted to do was return home after years of service and sacrifice.The 15,000 Canadian troops had been stationed in Kinmel Camp for a period after the First World War, and were kept in undesirable conditions while their officers received pay and were free to leave the camp. In effect, the Canadians who had served so bravely, were now prisoners of a slave labour camp in England.

Officially, 5 Canadians were shot and killed in the incident although survivors of the incident reported the number of those killed were higher. Also not recorded is if those Canadian's were killed during rioting or executed in the aftermath. Because there was an epidemic of flu also causing death in the camp at that time, the actual numbers of those shot to death or the circumstance of those deaths, may never be known. The British Government ordered all records of the incident sealed.

The mutineers were our own men, stuck in the mud of North Wales, waiting impatiently to get back to Canada – four months after the end of the war. The 15,000 Canadian troops that concentrated at Kinmel didn't know about the strikes that held up the fuelling ships and which had caused food shortages. The men were on half rations, there was no coal for the stove in the cold grey huts, and they hadn't been paid for over a month. Forty-two had slept in a hut meant for thirty, so they each took turns sleeping on the floor, with one blanket each.

Noel Barbour, Gallant Protesters (1975)

Colonel G.W.L Nicholson, in the Official History Of The Canadian Army In The First World War, briefly describes the Kinmel mutiny as part of a larger series of events that occurred during the post war redeployment of Canadian troops:

In all, between November 1918 and June 1919, there were thirteen instances or disturbances involving Canadian troops in England (sic). The most serious of these occurred in Kinmel Park on 4th and 5th March 1919, when dissatisfication over delays in sailing resulted in five men being killed and 23 being wounded. Seventy eight men were arrested, of whom 25 were convicted of mutiny and given sentences varying from 90 days' detention to ten years' penal servitude.

External links

  • Canadian Great War Project
  • Canadian Forces Leadership Institute paper
  • "Cymru 1914 - The Welsh Experience of World War I".

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