Sober Island was first occupied by the French. "Admiral Jacob Blaquet de la Haye" in 1672 and by "Admiral Suffren" in 1782. The British took over the island after the Treaty of Paris in 1784 and later developed it for their military requirements and was essentially a military establishment. However before the British occupation of the island, the Dutch also forged a tug- of- war with the French to claim the island.
The Island was named as “Sober” in memory of late young British Lieutenant S.Sober. As Trincomalee became the home of the British Eastern fleet during the World War II, the British fortified the island with a battery of guns. It’s written in past conicals that Trincomalee was heavily defended against the Japanese Navy with the help of heavy artillery batteries located on the Sober Island. Also, during the World War II, the Island was a transit station for thousands of soldiers en-route to far East and the Mediterranean.
The 175 acre island elevating nearly 200 meters from the sea level was called “Isle du Soleit” by French meaning “Island of Sun” which was developed by Sri Lanka Navy as per the two site plans drawn in 1919 and 1922. The island is not merely touristic in appeal but contain relics of a bye gone era magnifying its appeal as a much sought after destination. There are French graves, World War II gun positions, underground ammunition storage complexes and many more symbols of British occupation.