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Page last updated at 07:47 GMT, Friday, 7 August 2009 08:47 UK
Kinmel Park's fellowship

Boys' Battery
A 'march past' by the Boys' Battery in December 1950

The former Kinmel Park camp has had a long Army service, stretching back to the World War I when it became the scene of the notorious 1919 riot by Canadian soldiers which resulted in five deaths.

Boys' Battery sword guard

One thing I didn't realise on entering the gates was that I was also entering into a special 'brotherhood' that has lasted down the years.

Frank Gibbons

But most people remember it for its more recent past, creating a so-called 'brotherhood', when, in the 1950s, the camp became home to the Boys' Battery, Royal Artillery, a precursor to the Army and in the 1960s home to the Junior Tradesmen's Regiment.

Jack Williams, who was at the camp as a 'junior soldier' back then, explains: "It accepted entrants from the age of 15 who were given military training and posted to various Royal Artillery Regiments at the age of 17 and a half."

Mike Vowles says: "After 1961 the camp was re-organised as The Junior Tradesmen's Regiment and officially welcomed its first intake in January 1962 with the final intake in 1973. This intake then joined their regular Army units in July 1974 and the camp officially closed as a training unit."

Frank Gibbons remembers his time at the camp: "After arriving at Kinmel Park, after a short period of adjustment and with brilliant leadership, guidance, discipline and a good deal of TLC from specially selected instructors from all branches of the regular Army, these boys emerged at 17 and a half as fully trained soldiers.

"Many developed a maturity beyond their years and went on to have long and successful careers leading to becoming commissioned officers and senior non commissioned officers. Hard work and a respect for your fellow man were only two out of many qualities gained.

"As an ex member of the JTR, one thing I didn't realise on entering the gates at Kinmel Park Camp, was that I was also entering into a special 'brotherhood' that has lasted down the years. This is not nostalgia, the JTR experience was a special time for all of us. It became our home and for many of us, the kind of family we had never known."

The local Territorial unit and cadet force used the camp's facilities until the late 1980s. Mike Vowles explains: "Most of the area has now been industrialised but there still remains remnants of the camp that we, the Junior Tradesmen's Regiment occupied, including accommodation blocks (Spiders) the indoor range, assault course and a territorial club house which is still in use!"

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