Readers of this blog have from time to time drawn my attention to the Kinmel Camp riots of 1919, when Canadian servicemen, dissatisfied by delays in demobilisation and other grievances, expressed their feelings through protest.
I’ve been looking at the Times report of the riot, and am struck especially by the way that the rioters are represented. The ringleaders were “not true Canadians, but men with Russian blood”, and the standard-bearer was “of Russian extraction.” What is more, the trouble was mostly caused by men of the auxiliary branches of the force – the Railway Corps, the Labour Corps, etc, and not by the fighting soldiers. There is also a strong insistence that not one of the girls working in the camp was molested.
The writer of this piece seems to be working hard to maintain the image of the Canadian soldier by marginalising the rioters as an unrepresentative minoritt, and giving them an excuse for their behaviour (dissatisfaction plus drink) while insisting that even when drunk Canadian soldiers do not engage in Hunnish practices against womenfolk. I wonder how accurate this is.
Here’s the report: