Sri Lanka Volunteer Naval Force honoured with President’s Colour
President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ranil Wickremesinghe awarded the President’s Colour to the Sri Lanka Volunteer Naval Force on August 18.
The distinguished honour was bestowed upon the Volunteer Naval Force, in recognition of its unwavering dedication, exemplary service, and significant contributions to the nation, as the main supplementary force of the Sri Lanka Navy.
The ceremony was held at the main parade ground of SLNS Nipuna in Boossa, in accordance with Naval tradition.
The inception of a Naval force in the country traces back to the establishment of the Naval Volunteer Force Ordinance No. 01 of 1937. The Ordinance led to the formation of the Royal Ceylon Volunteer Naval Force on January 11, 1939, which eventually evolved into the Ceylon Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. The establishment of the Royal Ceylon Navy took place on December 9, 1950, through the enactment of the Navy Act No. 34 of 1950.
This new Naval force comprised officers and sailors who were actively serving at that time. Simultaneously, the formation of the Royal Ceylon Volunteer Naval Force was initiated, comprising officers and sailors who were not in active service within the Ceylon Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. The Royal Ceylon Volunteer Naval Force underwent a transformation into the Sri Lanka Volunteer Naval Force in 1972, as the country became a republic.
The Volunteer Naval Force, comprising skilled professionals and experts, is dedicated to offering the necessary strength, assistance, and personnel to meet the national aspirations and ambitions of the Sri Lanka Navy whenever the situation demands.
The bestowment of prestigious President’s Colours is testament to the Force’s unwavering dedication and invaluable contributions to the nation’s maritime interests.
The term ‘Colours’ seems to have gained common usage in the late 16th century. During that time, they were employed as markers on the battlefield, aiding soldiers in identifying their comrades and preventing confusion amid the chaos of war.
Nowadays, Colours represent a structured extension of this historical battlefield tradition, symbolizing the ceremonial embodiment of the ethos of a Service.
The King’s Colours were first introduced to the Royal Navy in 1924 when it was approved by King George V, and consists of a silk white ensign bearing the Royal cypher, red, white and blue silk cord and gold tassels.
On six occasions, the Sri Lanka Navy, its Commands, Flotilla and the Naval and Maritime Academy have been decorated with the President’s Colours, underscoring their pivotal role in fortifying the nation’s maritime security and protecting national interests.
Accordingly, the Sri Lanka Navy (December 9, 1975), the Naval and Maritime Academy (on December 13, 2003), the Northern, Eastern and Afloat Commands (on December 9, 2010) and the Fourth Fast Attack Flotilla (on June 22, 2019) have been accorded the prestigious President’s Colours.
At the invitation of Navy Commander Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, Commandant Volunteer Naval Force Rear Admiral Dammika Kumara and Commanding Officer Volunteer Naval Force Commodore N.P.G.N. Wasantha, this dignified ceremony was graced by religious dignitaries, Southern Province Governor Dr. Willie Gamage, State Minister of Defence Premitha Bandara Tennakoon, Defence Secretary General Kamal Gunaratne (Retd), Additional Secretary (Defence) Dhammika Wijayasinghe, Chief of Defence Staff General Shavendra Silva and distinguished invitees.
Navy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Jayantha Kularatne, Navy Deputy Chief of Staff and Director General Operations Rear Admiral Pradeep Rathnayake, senior officers of the Board of Management, Commander Southern Naval Area Rear Admiral Saman Perera, Area Commanders, former Commandants and Commanding Officers of the Volunteer Naval Force and a group of senior and junior officers and sailors were also present.
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