At the turn of the century [20th that is] a vast acreage of land was snapped up for 'pennies' just on the outskirts of Douglas, the Capital of the Isle of Man. From late 1905 until the start of WW1 it was used as a holiday camp for thousands of people from the UK and from Eire when holiday makers slept in a military array of Boer War/Baden Powell type tents as this picture attempts to portray - taken 1910. As can be seen in the background, a splendid pavilion and conservatory provided a dining hall, entertainment area and recreational area.

The holiday camp was known as the Cunninghams and in the 1920's and 1930's it mushroomed into what is considered to be the largest holiday camp ever built in the UK. Its frontage ran parallel to an extremely long road leaving the town for the outback called Victoria Road.

When completed the accommodation looked like this.

In 1940, it was decided to close all Boys Training Establishments not because of the need to protect the Boys welfare, but to release their Training Establishments for men drafted in as HO's to receive their basic training. This meant that all Boys from HMS Ganges [Shotley Gate], HMS St Vincent [Forton Road Gosport] and HMS Impregnable [St Budeaux Barracks Plymouth] were sent to the Isle of Man and to Cunninghams Holiday Camp which was named as HMS St George. Here they established a new Signal School and continued training where Ganges and St Vincent had left off.

This picture shows HMS St George Boys marching through the streets of Douglas IOM on Trafalgar Day 1942.

The following two pictures show the captain of HMS St George in WW2, His name was Captain A.L.  POLAND CB DSO DSC RN

and here again at his desk in 1943

There follows a few photographs of HMS ST GEORGE as used in the 1940's for boys training.

June 1942. Admiral Sir Percy Noble C-in-C Western Approaches with Captain Poland CO of HMS St George lead all present at an open day in the Establishment in a rousing salute to the King.

and all on the parade ground responded with their caps held high and with a strong voice. Note the guard commander using his left hand for the salute, his right hand being otherwise engaged.

Captain Poland stands rigidly to attentions when talking to Admiral Noble when all others are at ease. Note the flag lieutenant is a reservist pilot.

A talk to the boy trainees in HMS St George given by Admiral Sir Percy Noble C-in-C Western Approaches. The hall is huge and would have been the main theatre/cinema for the erstwhile holiday makers of pre-war days.  Note the cypher on each of the stage curtains which reads C H C, meaning Cunningham Holiday Camp, the owners of the site to whom it was returned in 1946.

June 1942. Admiral Percy takes the salute for the march past whilst Captain Poland proudly watches on as his boys perform well.

The must have traditional gathering of naval personnel who at  one time, served as a ship mate with the visiting inspecting officer. Here the admiral spends time to reminisce with each of the assembled officer, talking over events of years gone by. It was of course the norm for the commander to trawl for all personnel in the complement who had served, but in this case few of the boys would have had that experience! 

Admiral Sir Percy Noble meets the Catholic padre of HMS St George Monsignor  T.A. Giles. All four of the establishments padres were assigned as temporary.


The Boys returned to their original Establishment in January 1946 but with one change.  Boy Signalmen would no longer be trained in Ganges and St Vincent as pre war, but in Ganges only. Thus, St Vincent's Signal School was no more.