HMC NAVAL CAMP
(near) St. John's, Newfoundland
HMC NAVAL CAMP was located a few miles outside St. Johnís and Mount Pearl in a field at Donovanís. At that time, Donovanís had a road house and a railway siding known as Donovanís Station. It was a popular day trip for the city folk - both the siding and the road house as the Topsail Highway ran right beside them.
The camp was located in a field surrounded by woods on the left hand side of the road and railway tracks as you headed out of town towards Topsail. The site was used as a detention camp for resident foreign nationals of concern during the First World War.
Historical note on the First World War detention camp: Her Majestyís Penitentiary (HMP) on Quidi Vidi Lake became the home for the prisoners of war in St. Johnís. Initially, ďprisoners of warĒ were also held in Corner Brook and Harbour Grace in the townís Police or Court House cells. As the numbers increased they were transferred to a facility in Donovanís, (on the outskirts of St. Johnís) and eventually to a larger facility in Amherst, Nova Scotia.
During the Second World War, HMC NAVAL CAMP was established by Cdr Mainguy, RCN, who at the time was Captain (D) in St John's. The RCN moved in and took over the site, buildings and all. It was used not only to give sailors a break but to reward them for a job well done. One RCN veteran said that after success in particularly hard fought battle at sea, the shipís company was rewarded with a week or so stay at the camp. He recalled walking out to the highway where locals were eager to offer them a lift to wherever they were going. He and his pals would head off to Topsail for the dances and the girls.
After the Second World War the site was operated for many years by Kinsmen as a summer camp for youth who were thought to be underprivileged.
Historical note on the camp after the Second World War: "But of far greater importance was their sponsorship of a summer camp for boys of St. John's. The club purchased an ideal site near Donovan's on the Topsail road. This had been used as a rest centre by the navy during the war years and some buildings were left standing on the property. Two groups, each consisting of 30 boys, who were selected by us, were permitted to spend two weeks each in camp absolutely at the expense of the Kinsmen, who not only provided the food and the cooking staff, but also gave clothing to those who needed it. ...... The camp was most successful and was not only enjoyed by the boys, but was also beneficial to them, as in all cases increases in weight were shown"
In more recent times the area has been developed into what is now known as the Donovanís Industrial Park. The site of the camp is now occupied by a warehouse complex which was once the Searís warehouse/parts and service centre before they went out of business. The warehouse complex is still there though the current occupants are not known.
(BB241-BB254) HMC NAVAL CAMP near St. John's, NFLD
This was a rest camp to give sailors a break from shipboard routine
(BB246) Bunny Brewster (right)
(BB250) Bunny Brewster on right with hand behind his back
(BB251) Time for a beer. Bunny Brewster 2nd from right
(BB252) Bunny Brewster (standing) 2nd from left
(BB254) Bunny Brewster front, centre, with black jacket
From the collection of Bernard (Bunny) Brewster, LS, RCNVR
(FH25-FH29) Sailors off HMCS SKEENA at the RCN Rest Camp near St. John's, NFLD
(FH25) Beer and Snacks - Fred Hollands on the left
(FH26) ANSON tent
(FH27) Galley at the RCN Rest Camp
(FH28) Fred Hollands at the swimming area at the RCN Rest Camp
(FH29) Fred Hollands by the swimming area warning sign at the RCN Rest Camp
From the collection of Fred Hollands, LS, RCNVR