Remembering Pat Williams: Gallian Virtuoso in Many Fields

Johnny de Silva et al

Pat Williama: Was there no end to his involvement in sports?










While perusing some articles connected with Hockey in Sri Lanka written by Dennis de Rosayro, I noticed an interesting item. Here are excerpts from that article.


It was the new Federation’s first baby; the most ambitious hockey tournament in Ceylon, which was conducted on the then Navy Grounds, Galle Face. Thousands flocked to the venue throughout the tournament to witness the performances of our International and National Players and also some outstanding teenage schoolboys who were selected to play for respective Associations. The eight Associations affiliated to the Federation were, Mercantile, Colombo, Matale, Kandy, Uva, Jaffna, Government Services, Combined Services (Army, Navy and Air Force),

Wide publicity was given by all newspapers and the ‘Times of Ceylon; published a special supplement with photographs of all individual players with larger ones of Captains, the Organising Committee and the handsome A. A. Virasingha and Bin Ismail Trophies.

Going through the players in each team there were many players who excelled in the sport both at home and abroad. What caught my eye was a player in the Uva team. It was none other that our very own Pat Williams!

The Uva team comprised of: Dr. R. Harry Aldons (Captain), K. Ariyarajah (International debut versus India in 1948), A.M. Somapala, Fred Aldons, Pat Williams, M.I.M. Hussain, R. Mahmoor, M.I.M. Laheer, W.D. Dhar Madasa, M.F. Jamaldeen, A.C.M. Farouk, K.D. Wickramasena, A.H.M. Lafeer, A. Perampalam, M.D.I.L. Marikkar, E.R. Dheerasena.

This item drew my interest towards Pat. An article was in the making. As though prompted by some ‘vibes’ I was contacted by the greatest Roberts SAC produced in Dr MWR urging me to do a vale to Pat. Then came an avalanche of data collated by one of the best school soccer goal keepers produced by SAC with the initials KK. The stage was set, as it were, and I just had to have a go.

KK de Silva takes up the baton…………Extracts from the Centenary Souvenir (1895-1995), of which KK was the Co-editor, and wrote the articles on Cricket, Football and Athletics through the years.
• Member of the Form 1 Soccer Team to Richmond College. Class Teacher W. Dahanayake.

• Stage Play: ‘Vocation of St. Aloysius’ in August. Pat Williams played the role of St. Aloysius.
• The House System introduced. 700 boys were divided into 5 groups and assigned to 5 houses, each house in a particular zone. The following House Masters and House Captains were appointed.
• House Captains: 1st group -: J. Weeraratne (Murphy),    A. Rodrigo (Van Reeth), F. Cole (Standaert)  C. P. Wickremasinghe  (Neut) and F. Xavier (Cooreman );  2nd group –  A. Rodrigo, L. D. Jayasundera, D. de Zylva, W. Furlong  P. Williams; and  3rd group  : S. A. C. Shums, R. Kulatunge,   S. S. Bawa, F. Scheffer, M. Jayasekera.
Member of the Soccer TeamIn the mi- thirties there burst onto the soccer scene a player who was soon to make his mark as a star player of the south. Burst does not correctly portray the character of his game. Profiting by the styles and tactics of some of the great players before him, Pat did away with the hustling and bustling type of forward play of the twenties. Adopting a chess board style of attack with every move cool and calculated he kept the opposing side guessing with his variation, intelligent anticipation and clever manoeuvring.

Pat broke into the 1934 side as outside-right and the following year with a season behind him blossomed into one of the best right extremes produced by SAC. In fact, the late G.F. Sethukavaler who was Pat’s opposing side left-half in the Josephian encounter of 1935 dubbed him the ‘ Stanley Mathews’ of the South. (Stanley Mathews being a famous right extreme in English Soccer at the time).


Athletics: Pat Williams, Neutonian, outran all his opponents in the 1st cross country race organized under the House system.

Soccer: Member of the Soccer Team. In the encounter against St. Joseph’s at Darley Rd.,
working on a pre-arranged signal with Douglas Jayawardena our centre-forward, Pat quietly made his way into the centre of the field taking the unsuspecting Sethukavaler with him. Douglas likewise wended his way over to his new position on the right wing, harmless and unmarked. This proved the undoing of the Darley Rd. boys. A few minutes went by when the inevitable happened. A long pass from the backline found Douglas and before the Josephian defence knew what hit them, the diminutive right-wing impostor ran down the wing and sent in a beautiful centre which Freddie Furlong, playing at inside-left, accepted with a gracious thank you and neatly nodded the ball into the net. Pat would never have collected that pass if he remained on the right wing.
Stage Play: ‘Tons of Money’ performed for the 1st time in Ceylon for the O.B.A. celebrations in June; adjudged as one of the best produced in several years; principal actors : E.D.A. Gunasekera, Douglas de Zilwa, Peter Phillips, Pat Williams and Sumitta Dahanayake accredited themselves beyond expectations; Fr. Chiriatti produced the play with contributions from Frs. Lermusieaux and D’ Amelia.Football: Pat Williams captained the team; switching to centre forward position he displayed his goal scoring skills; he scored 26 out of the 39 goals scored during the season, a Southern Province record; he also scored 32 goals in the 3 seasons he played creating another record.

Next came the article written by OPDL Amarasiriwardene

“Devoted old Aloysian who played the game and worked hard in the name of sports – Pat Williams”

Sri Lankan sportsman and sports organiser Pat Williams will be fondly remembered by past and present students of St. Aloysius’ College, Galle, and by all Gallians, as well as the sports-loving communities of Kandy, Hatton and Badulla. Pat passed away recently, in Melbourne, Australia. He was 92.

According to the Galle chronicle “Galle as Quiet as Sleep”, by Norah Roberts, Pat was born in Hyderabad State in India of Anglo-Indian parents. His family migrated to Sri Lanka and settled in Galle.

Young Pat studied at St. Aloysius’ College, Galle, from 1924 to 1936, under Jesuit fathers. One of his teachers was Dr. W. Dahanayake. Pat played in the cricket team and captained the soccer team in 1935.

On leaving school, he took up a job at Walker Sons & Co, Galle branch, where he remained for the next six years. He captained the Southern Province Football League in 1939. In 1943, he found employment at Norman Armitage & Co, in Colombo 7.

When Norman Armitage moved to Dickoya during the Second World War, Pat formed the Dickoya Ramblers’ Club, which played soccer. He also formed the Hatton District League in 1944 and was captain of the soccer team in 1945. He also played cricket and hockey for the Dickoya Ramblers’ Club.

Pat later moved to Badulla as manager of the Ceylon Motor Transit Co. There, he joined the Uva Club, which played rugby. Although he never played rugby, he was made convenor for the rugby seasons of 1962 and 1963. In 1955, Pat formed the Uva Hockey Association, and was its secretary for nine years. From 1957 to 1963 he promoted badminton by forming his own Badminton Club, The Badulla Comets.

In 1964, Pat joined the Sun (Davasa group of newspapers) as a sports reporter. In 1966, he moved to Kandy to cover soccer, hockey and cricket for the Sun newspaper. While in Kandy, he formed The Kandy Cricket Association.

In 1969, Pat migrated to Australia, and worked at General Motors Holden until 1980. After his retirement, he formed The Old Aloysian Club. The Aloysian Quarterly was established in 1984, and Pat was editor and patron of the quarterly for 25 years. Aloysians residing in Australia and abroad helped him in this project. The quarterly, which comes out three times a year, now reaches readers in Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, Jordan, France, Switzerland, the UK, Canada and the US.

I was happy to be in contact with Pat over the last 25 years, providing him with news and photos of the college, past pupils and Galle Town for the Old Aloysian News Mag.


A true Gallian, Pat loved Galle town and his alma mater up to the very end. He was deeply concerned when the tsunami struck Galle on December 26, 2004. He wanted news about the damage done to the Galle esplanade, the grounds where he had sharpened his sporting skills. He was happy when the grounds were restored to their original state. Pat’s last request to me concerned the war memorial in front of the new entrance to the Dutch Fort, Galle.


Leave a comment

Filed under communal relations, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, performance, photography, plural society, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, unusual people, world events & processes

Leave a Reply