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Iconic Founding Father of GR Remembered

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As the first segment, a representative group of GR Officers and Other Ranks early this morning (8) made milk food (Kiriaahara) offerings to the sacred upper layer at Jaya Sri Mahabodhi premises at Anuradhapura before a separate commemorative event got underway in front of the statute of late Major General Vijaya Wimalaratne at the GR Regimental HQ in Saliyapura where floral tributes were made. Brigadier Dinesh Udugama, Commandant, GR Regimental Centre took part in the event, together with a few senior Officers, Officers and Other Ranks.

A few more religious activities are concurrently in progress covering all eight places of worship (Atamastana) under supervision of the Centre Commandant at Regimental Centre, together with senior Officers, Officers and Other ranks. Offer of special ‘Gilanpasa’ at sacred Ruwanweli Maha Seya premises and other places that would begin this evening (8) are scheduled to transfer merits to the memory of late Major General Vijaya Wimalaratne.

Meanwhile, Major General Vijaya Wimalaratne’s life-size statue in his home town of Kiribathgoda was offered floral wreaths in a simple, yet a solemn ceremony. It was attended by several relatives, retired contemporaries, members of the public and a few GR officers

Major General Vijaya Wimalaratne, an old Royalist, joined the Sri Lanka Army as an Officer Cadet on 21 October 1961. After successful completion of training at the Indian Military Academy he returned to the country and he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 1st August 1963. Young 2nd Lieutenant W.I.V.K.M Wimalarathne then posted to the Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regiment. In 1969, he joined with the Gamunu Watch and became the Adjutant of 2nd (Volunteer) Gemunu Watch. Passing another milestone in his military Career in 1982 Major Vijaya Wimalarathne was appointed as the Commanding Officer of 1st Vijayabahu Regiment and subsequently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In 1983, the 1st Vijayabahu Regiment and 1st Rajarata Rifle Corps were amalgamated and the 1st Battalion of the Gajaba Regiment was formed under the motto of ‘Unity is Strength’ under his leadership.

In August 1986, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel and during ‘Operation Liberation’ in 1987, he commanded 1 Brigade in the first-ever three Brigades operation launched in the history of the Sri Lanka Army. In July 1988 he was promoted to the distinguished rank of Brigadier. He played a major role in the rescue of the troops in the Jaffna Fort in 1990 and the ‘Operation Balavegaya’ in 1991. Major General Vijaya Wimalaratne, one of the finest warriors ever produced by the Sri Lanka Army, fell silent on 08 August 1992 along with Lieutenant General Denzil Kobbekaduwa, Rear Admiral Mohan Jayamaha and few others while they were on a military assignment in Araly Point, Kayts, Jaffna due to LTTE pressure mine explosion. After his demise he was regarded as the ‘Father of the Gajaba Regiment’ for his commitments in bringing the Gajaba Regiment to today’s standard.

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