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History of the SLMA

INTRODUCTION


1.         The Sri Lanka Military Academy (SLMA) which is situated in Diyatalawa is the premier training institute of the Sri Lanka Army which trains Officer Cadets from their enlistment to commissioning. Diyatalawa, situated in the Province of Uva lies in one of the most bracing climates of Sri Lanka. The SLMA conducts the regular long course which is of two and a half years duration for gentlemen cadets and courses of shorter duration for volunteer batches, lady intakes, Directly Enlisted officers and military training for Kotelawela Defence University Cadets.


EARLY HISTORY


2.         Diyatalawa which first came into military prominence when the British Government opened a camp for 5,000 Boer prisoners of war in the early part of the 20th century. Thereafter, Diyatalawa served the Royal Navy, as a sanatorium for naval personnel of the Royal Navy’s East – India Station. A military training depot was also established here for many volunteer units of the then Ceylon Defence Force. With the advent of independence, the Ceylon Army was formed on 10 October 1949 and the military area in Diyatalawa was the obvious choice to train the personnel of the fledgling Army.


INITIAL TRAINING


3.         Army Recruit Training Depot was established at the premises of the Ceylon Volunteer Force Camp. It was ceremonially inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Rt. Hon. DS Senanayake on 06 February 1950. The first Officer Commanding of the Army Recruit Training Depot was Major R D Jayetileke MBE CLI. The ARTD was later established in Thistle Camp on 24 June 1950. The hill on which the military training depot was established was named “Thistle Hill” as the emblem of “HMS Thistle” was made on this hill and thus named “Thistle Camp”.


4.         The 1950 mandate of the Army Training Depot confined itself to the training of other ranks. Facilities did not exist to train officers, and therefore Officer Cadets were sent to the Royal Military Academy (RMA), Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. The first batch of Officer Cadets was enlisted to the Army on 10 October 1949 and were dispatched to RMA Sandhurst. Officer Cadets underwent a period of basic training at the Army Recruit Training Depot before leaving for their training overseas. The raising of new units created a shortage of officers because Sandhurst at best could provide only six vacancies per intake to Ceylon. A policy decision was made to recruit graduates and the intermediate qualified of the University of Ceylon as Lieutenants and 2nd Lieutenants respectively, after their initial training at ARTD and subsequent training at Mons Officer Cadet School (where British National Service officers were trained) and Eaton Hall Officer Cadet School (where British short service commissioned officers were trained). Subsequently, Officer Cadets were trained at the Indian Military Academy and the Pakistan Military Academy. Overseas training however, was not sufficient to meet the growing needs of the Army.


ESTABLISHMENT OF ARMY TRAINING CENTER


5.         With the expansion of the Ceylon Army, there was a requirement of specific training programmes for various courses such as other ranks, non–commissioned officers, Direct Enlisted Officers (university graduates), basic training for Officer Cadets and other officer courses in Tactics, Administration etc. As a result, the Army Training Centre was established consisting of a Headquarters element, Tactics Wing and Drill and Weapons Training Wing. The Army Training Centre was ceremonially opened by the Commander of the Army, Brigadier A Muthukumaru OBE ED on 01 October 1958 and the Centre was placed under the command of Lt Col BJH Bahar psc CLI. Col L M Wickramasooriya was appointed as the first Commandant in May 1964.


INDIGENOUS TRAINING OF OFFICER CADETS


6.         In 1968, the government made a decision to indigenize all Officer Cadet training mainly because foreign exchange was not available to finance training in the military academies overseas.    An Officer Cadet school was to be established at the Army Training Centre that had hitherto trained cadets and young officers on an ad hoc basis in the Tactics Wing of the Army Training Centre.  The task of doing this was entrusted to Maj JED Perera CE, who was in the first batch of Officer Cadets trained at Sandhurst. The syllabus was identical to that of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. The first Intake of Officer Cadets who were earmarked to be trained at the Army Training Centre, Diyatalawa, was enlisted on 16 April 1968.


ESTABLISHMENT OF SRI LANKA MILITARY ACADEMY, DIYATALAWA


7.         Training of recruits and other ranks continued under the aegis of the Army Training Centre whilst a separate organization named the Sri Lanka Military Academy was raised with effect from 10 January 1981 to train the Officer Cadets of both Regular and Volunteer Forces of the Sri Lanka Army. Col SMA Jayawardane psc was its first Commandant. The Military academy was tasked with training of Officer Cadets of the following categories. Other Rank Commissions; Short Service  Commissions; Technically Qualified Officers; Volunteer Force officers and the military phase  of cadets ex the Kotelawala Defence Academy(final year prior to commissioning).  The Army Training Centre had two training wings one of the training of recruits and the other for the training Non-commissioned officers.  An Officers’ Study Center was also to be established later in the year for conducting such courses as Junior Staff Course Senior Tactics Course and Senior Administration Course.  In April 1982, the Sri Lanka Military Academy and the Army Training Centre were once again amalgamated under one Commandant, Col JI De S Jayaratne G and the ATC continued to train both Officer Cadets and recruits. In 1988 due to the accelerated expansion of the Sri Lanka Army, recruit training was transferred to other training establishments and the Army Training Centre at Diyatalawa continued with its primary role of Officer Cadet training. The first lady intake was enlisted on 23 November 1983. On 20 August 1992 the Army Training Centre was re-designated as the Sri Lanka Military Academy. In the year 1997, the Colours awarded to the Army Training Centre were laid to rest and the President of Sri Lanka, Her Excellency Chandrika Kumaranathunga re-awarded the President’s Colours and the Academy Colours to the Sri Lanka Military Academy.


DEGREE PROGRAMME


8.         In the year 1999 the Academy introduced a Bachelor’s degree in Military Studies for the cadets of regular long course in affiliation with the Sabargamuwa University of Sri Lanka with the intention of awarding them a recognized academic qualification. In 2011, the Degree offered by the Academy is accredited by the Kotelawala Defence University which governs the academic curricular of the tri services.

 

 

British Camp For Boer Prisoners Of War Established In The Early Part Of The Twentieth Century



BRITISH NAVAL PERSONNEL  IN THE EARLY DAYS AT DIYATALAWA



ARMY RECRUIT TRAINING DEPOT INAUGURATED ON 6 FEBRUARY 1950



INAUGURATION OF THE ARMY RECRUIT TRAINING DEPOT  ON 6 FEBRUARY 1950 BY THE THEN PRIME MINISTER , THE RT HON D S SENANAYAKE



PASSING OUT PARADE OF INTAKE – 1 OF THE  ARMY TRAINING SCHOOL



AWARDING  OF  PRESIDENT’S  COLOURS   TO  THE  ARMY  TRAINING  CENTRE  BY  HIS  EXCELLENCY  WILLIAM  GOPALLAWA THE  PRESIDENT  OF  THE  REPUBLIC  OF  SRI  LANKA  ON 14  OCTOBER  1972



RE-AWARDING OF PRESIDENT’S COLOURS  TO THE  SRI LANKA MILITARY ACDEMY  BY HER EXCELLENCY CHANDRIKA KUMARATUNGE THE PRESIDENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA  ON 21 

 



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