Jayantha Somasundaram, courtesy of THE CEYLANKAN, November 2019
Sri Lanka’s maritime areas were ceded to the British in 1796 and for the next one and a half centuries there was a British military presence on the Island. As a consequence the Ceylon Army which was established seventy years ago in October 1949 was heavily influenced by this British legacy.
In the early British years under a Lieutenant General, Britain stationed four regiments of infantry, two Ceylon Rifle Regiments, a regiment of the Royal Artillery, a regiment of the Royal Engineers and a troop of cavalry on the island. But after the rebellion in the former Kandyan Kingdom was put down in 1848 and for much of the next century of British rule, there was a more limited British military presence on the island. So by the turn of the twentieth century the British Army in Ceylon, now under the command of Brig Gen R.C.B. Lawrence, consisted of a battalion of infantry, a company of the Royal Artillery, a company of Ceylon and Mauritius Royal Artillery and details of the Royal Engineers and Royal Army Medical Corps. (Wright: 857) Continue reading