Category Archives: British colonialism

Ceylonese Enlisting in RAF during World War II: More Data

Group Captain Kumar Kirinde, SLAF (Retd)

 

Clarence Shelton Anthony Perera  was a member of the 1st batch of Ceylonese to join the RAF. As per the only ATA record available he has first served in the RAF from September 1941 to January 1943. He has left the service as a LAC. He then in April 1943 joined as a Pilot Cadet in the Air Transport Auxillary (ATA), a civilian organisation ferrying aircraft for the RAF and Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy ” — Charles Amarasekere Continue reading

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Satha and De Saram: Outstanding Batsmen as well Prominent Jailbirds

Nicholas Brookes in The Cricket Monthly at ESPNcricinfo, 6 May 2019, where the title runs “The story of De Saram and Satha: batting geniuses who went to jail” …. Two of Sri Lanka’s greatest batsmen had memorable lives, but they have been nearly forgotten today

The 1947 Ceylon squad that played South India: De Saram and Sathasivam are seated third and sixth from left (holding bats) …. details at bottom of this item

Ask any sports fan what it takes for a player to reach the pinnacle of their game and you’ll get the same tired answers. Talent. Temperament. Determination. But sporting greatness also relies on factors more arcane. Like luck. Or opportunity. Being in the right place at the right time. Just imagine if Pelé had been born in Bombay or if Gavaskar had grown up in Brazil. Where would they be now?

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Aime Jonklaas Williams: RAF Pilot in Wartime …. and a Remarkable Life

R.T. conveying a Vale from “City Dweller”

In July this year [2000?), Aime Jonklaas Williams, a woman of Ceylonese birth, died in Spain, just short of her 81st birthday. Her ashes were interred in an English village on July 20. Early in August, in another Sri Lankan newspaper, a close friend using the pseudonym “City Dweller” wrote a moving tribute in celebration of the life of this remarkable woman.

 

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January 6, 2021 · 3:05 pm

Ceylonese Elephants and Labour in Wartime Airfield Construction, 1941-45

Group Captain Kumar Kirinde (SLAF, Retd)

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Filed under architects & architecture, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, landscape wondrous, life stories, military expenditure, military strategy, sri lankan society, transport and communications, war reportage, working class conditions, world events & processes, World War II

PUL ELIYA Comments reviewed critically by Ceylon Civil Servants for ROHP

“PUL ELIYA” QUOTATIONS AS PRESENTED to the CCS and other personnel

I quote some passages from a book by Dr. E. Leach entitled “Pul Eliya A Village in Ceylon” (Cambridge, 1961). He is a socia1anthropologist who lived for several months in Pul Eliya, a Dry Zone Anuradhapura area village, in the mid 1950’s. There are some interesting passages pertaining to Government regulations and their practical implementation. While these views pertain largely to the 1940’s and 1950’s they are, both implicitly and explicitly, held to apply to most of the 20th century for he has also delved into past records. I present some for your comments.

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Under Scrutiny: Edmund Leach’s PUL ELIYA

Michael Roberts

In late 1965 I set out on an oral history exercise interviewing retired British public servants[1] about their experiences in Ceylon. This work has been clarified earlier in two Thuppahi Items.[2] Because of my strong interest in colonial agrarian policies, I was familiar with the books produced by two outstanding Cambridge University scholars: BH Farmer and Edmund Leach. Farmer’s book on Pioneer Peasant Colonization in Ceylon (1957) reviewed British efforts to develop the dry zone of Sri Lanka via irrigation projects emulating the captivating efforts in ancient times. As such, it focused on DS Senanayake’s inspirational role in this set of enterprises. Leach’s detailed ethnographic experiences in a village arena in Anuradhapura District provided detailed ground-level data and interpretations in this field.

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From Facing Elara to Vanquishing the Tamil Tigers at Nandikadal

Lynn Ockersz, in The Island. reviewing Siriweera’s Sinhala book Vijithapura Sita Nandikadal Thek Sri Lankeya Sangrama Ithihasaya’  ….

This book by one of Sri Lanka’s most eminent historians, Senior Professor Indrakeerthi Siriweera, gets into the hands of the public at a time when there is an urgent need for a clear, concise, and above all, enlightened understanding of Sri Lanka’s wars and their underlying causes. From Sri Lanka’s wars of antiquity, including the legendary Vijithapura armed conflict, to the contemporary landmark and decisive battle on the banks of the Nandikadal lagoon in northern Sri Lanka in May 2009, ‘Vijithapura Sita Nandikadal Thek Sri Lankeya Sangrama Ithihasaya’  provides us a detailed chronicling of Sri Lanka’s major armed conflicts and confrontations over the centuries and thereby proves a treasury of knowledge.

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Ceylonese Middle Class Will to Fight for Britain in WW Two — in the RAF

Kumar Kirinde in The Island, 25 December 2020, where the title runs thus: “Lankans who volunteered for service with the Royal Air Force during World War 2”

Within a year of the outbreak of World War II, the colonial government began looking for Sri Lankan volunteers to serve in various capacities with the British forces including the Royal Air Force (RAF). Accordingly, 15,000 applied to join the RAF. Out of this lot, 15 were initially selected and sent for training at the RAF Cranwell Flying School in the United Kingdom in 1941. But a paper cutting dated the Sep 1941 gives only twelve (12) names even though it says in the beginning fifteen (15) Ceylonese for the RAF have arrived in Britain.

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Swinging Christmas in Olde Ceylon

 Roel Raymond, in The Roar, 31, December 2017, where the title runs thus: “Christmas In Ceylon In The ’50’s: Swing Bands And Grand Galas”

History records social transformation. It is through the lens of historical narrative that we see the ages and eras of the past and learn of the people, places, and events that made an impact. Documented history throws a light on the customs and rituals of people as they wend their way through time, leaving their mark on a particular epoch. In the 1950’s, Ceylon has just gained independence from the British Raj, the fruits of which were yet to be seen. Many of the cultural influences of the British were still apparent, including speaking the English language, clothing styles, and partaking in English customs and holidays.

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A Refreshing New Study of the Anagarika Dharmapala’s Endeavours

The unexamined life is not worth living.’ – Socrates.

Rarely has so much been written both in the West and in the East about the work of a ‘revivalist,’ that one would conclude there is nothing left to be revealed of the man or his work. That is until you read Bhadrajee Hewage’sAnagarika Dharmapala and Ceylonese Buddhist Revivalism.”

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