Kinmel Camp appeal for information

Here’s an appeal which initially arrived at this site as a comment. It’s from author Jerry whose email address is jedbone at talktalk ot net. If you can help Jerry, please feel free to contact him directly, and leave a comment if you’d like to share what you know with other readers.

Here’s what Jerry wrote:

“I’ve been carrying out research for the last two years on Kinmel camp, mainly relating to its construction and layout of the camp during the Great War..

“I have several plans from 1938 onwards and a sketch of the camp from Julian Putkowskis book on the riots. I have also spoken to Julian about the camp.

“I’m currently trying to locate a plan of the camp during the Great War and have looked in every conceivable place locally and out of the area, including, National archives, McAlpines, local authority, council, libraries,records offices, IWM, MOD, highways, Cadw, CPA, National library of wales, Lidle collection, Royal Engineers museum, WFA, Canada, Kinmel Camp, etc, etc..

“Would anyone have an idea where else to look?

“I’m also trying to locate photos of the camp, its buildings and the men who served there and would kindly ask if anyone has photos of relatives. If so, would it please be possible to have a copy of them..

“This is part of a large project which hopefully culmunate in a memorial site to those who served there.”

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9 Responses to Kinmel Camp appeal for information

  1. Brian Haynes says:

    Try Royal Commission for Ancient Monuments based somewhere in Aberystwyth, and National Railway Museum, York, possibly, for plans of the camp railway, long shots I admit.

  2. Jerry says:

    Hi Brian… Thanks very much.. I have a friend who works in the Royal Commission and a plan of the railway system through the camp, but haven’t tried the National Railway museum…
    They may just have a plan of the camp, i didn’t think about them.
    Thanks for the lead.

  3. Brian Haynes says:

    I had a quick look through OS maps of the area, as you probably have already found the popular 1″ editions up to and including 1921/24 do not show any sign of there being a camp at all, the first of my maps to show the camp with a full layout is a war department 1″ map, my copy a 4th edition published after WWII but based on a pre-war survey.
    Probable reason for omission may have been the National Security Acts. The scale is too small to make any sense. I doubt if this is a WWI layout as it shows the railway “Horse Siding” truncated to a short sub off the re-aligned quarry line.
    My father bought a couple of the original wooden huts which were dismantled on the site (for use as hen-houses in Llanwrst) shortly after most of the camp was closed and from my own recollection these were part of the original buildings which were erected in 1915; these came from the East side of the Globe, a site now under the A55.

  4. Andrew Hesketh says:

    I have looked quite widely, though not as widely as yourself, and apart from Putkowski’s sketch I have found nothing. However…..one of the main contractors to build and maintain Kinmel Camp was the company W. Alban Richards. They employed vast numbers of local men and I bump into them regularly in the conscription tribunals of 1916 and 1917. They appear to have been a Cardiff / Rhondda / Pontypridd company (I’ve encountered each location). The company was liquidated in 1932 with a registered office in London. Full details can be found in the London Gazette 24 June 1932, p.4198. So, here’s the suggestion – through the crumbtrail left by the Gazette i.e the liquidators details etc. is it possible that the company’s paperwork was archived / purchased by another company? If, and I realise this is a big if, the paperwork survived, then I would imagine you would find a treasure trove. Good luck, and if you get anywhere through this route or another please let me know!

  5. David Hughes says:

    Jerry,

    I have a couple of maps and some photo’s. I’ve sent you and e-mail. please confirm if you receive it and I’ll try and help.

    Regards,

    David

  6. David Aston says:

    Hi Jerry,
    Maybe nothing new, but just in case:
    Elaine Boxhill, in her book “Kinmel Characters” (Kinmel Publishing, 1990, ISBN 0 947563 03 2) writes of the [early] camp (pp.73-78), including the railway (p. 76, quoting Peter E Baughen’s book “A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain, Vol XI North and Mid Wales – The Clwyd Area – David & Charles, 1980).

    In 1915, a single-track railway line, the Kinmel Camp Railway, was laid entirely to serve the camp, running from the 1885 Foryd station on the main coastal line, right into the park (D):
    …in 1916-17, to avoid gradients at the St George terminus at the south end, a branch was made to just north of Faenol Bach (across the main road from the camp), terminating with two tracks at a wooden platform whence a line ran to the camp. Sometimes before 1918 the northerly end was diverted to join the V of C (Vale of Clwyd Railway) near Foryd Junction, providing through running from Rhyl… (A local resident watched) an 18-coach train full of soldiers passing through the fields in 1918, when the line was in heavy use. After World War I it was worked by a quarry company near St George with a green-liveried Hunslet 0-6-0 saddle tank ‘Margaret’. From 1856 a diesel worked the traffic until closure in 1964.

    On p.72, Colonel Henry Bodvel Lewis Hughes is described as taking over the estate in 1911, at 46. He was the younger (still bachelor) son of Hugh Robert Hughes (for whom my Gt-Grandfather worked as Head Coachman), and an established military man.
    Hope that adds something!

  7. Nigel Hilton says:

    I noticed whilst reading the BBC Wales news this morning that there are plans afoot to recreate the WW1 practice trenches at Bodelwydddan Castle ( see full article here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-east-wales-31926804).

    There’s a lot more information regarding the camp at Kinmel on the BBC’s World War 1 at Home website relating. Their Trench Warfare Training Ground article is here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p020fpl2 whilst the tragic fate of a number of Canadian soldiers can be found here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02dzhcy.

    Our above contributors are probably aware of these items but for readers from further afield who, perhaps, don’t get to hear ‘local’ to North Wales news, the articles might prove of interest.

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