Sri Lanka Light Infantry
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|Sri Lanka Light Infantry|
Cap badge of the Sri Lanka Light Infantry
|Active||1 April 1881 - Present|
|Branch||Sri Lanka Army|
|Size||15 regular battalions,
8 volunteer battalions,1 RFT battalion
|Regimental Headquarters||Panagoda Cantonment, Panagoda.|
|Motto||"Ich Dien" German - (I serve).|
|Colors||Red and Blue|
|March||"I am Ninety Five"|
|Engagements||Second Boer War
World War I
World War II
Sri Lankan Civil War
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
|Decorations||1 Parama Weera Vibhushanaya|
|Centre Commandant||Col K.J Jayaweera RSP|
|Maj Gen RMD Rathnayake RWP RSP USP ndu psc|
|Gen. Sir John Kotelawala, KBE, CH|
|"LIGHT INFANTRY" shoulder tab|
The Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) is the oldest regiment in the Sri Lanka Army and the oldest infantry regiment in the army. It is made up of ten regular battalions, five volunteer battalions. Headquartered at Panagoda Cantonment, Panagoda. Over the years it has become the most distinguished and dependable regiment in the army.
The origins of the regiment goes back to the formation of the Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteer force was formed on 1 April 1881 by a proclamation issued by the Governor of Ceylon it was a reserve unit.
The first commanding officer of the force was Lt. Col. John Scott Armitage and the Colonel of the Regiment was HRH Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales. It is said that the Regimental March "I am Ninety Five" and the Regimental Bugle Call, in use up to now, was adopted soon after raising of the force. In the same year, the Unit had the distinction in that HRH the Prince of Wales accepted the Honorary Colonelcy of The Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteers, by virtue of which fact the Unit adopted his Crest and motto as Its badge. In 1892, a mounted infantry company was formed and later it became a regiment of its own by the name of the Ceylon Mounted Rifles.
The Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteer force troops were sent to South Africa in 1900, for the Boer war and after the distinguish service in South Africa the force obtained the Banner from HRH The Duke of York.In 1902, King Edward VII became the Colonel-in-Chief.
In 1910 with formation of the Ceylon Defence Force CLIV became a part of it and was renamed as the Ceylon Light Infantry. The regiment saw action during World War I along with allied troops. Soon after the war a regular element of the regiment was formed to take up garrison duties in Ceylon. This unit was named the Mobilised Detachment of Ceylon Light Infantry (Mob. Det., CLI). The regiment was again mobilized during World War II and was deployed in the Seychelles and the Cocos Islands.
After Ceylon gained its independence from Britain in 1948 and with the Army Act of 1949 the CLI became the Ceylon Infantry Regiment and came under the newly formed Ceylon Army. But in 1950 the regiment once again became the 1st Battalion, The Ceylon Light Infantry becoming the regular unit and the Volunteer Battalion was re-designated as the 2nd (Volunteer) Battalion, Ceylon Light Infantry.
The regiment was deployed for counter insurgency operations in during the 1971 Insurrection and in 1972, when Sri Lanka became a republic, the regiment changed its name to Sri Lanka Light Infantry. In the early 1980s units of the regiment has been deployed in the norther parts of the island. In the ambush of the Four Four Bravo patrol from the C Company of the 1st Battalion marked the beginning of the Sri Lanka civil war. Since then the SLLI has been deployed combat operations thought out the island and has expanded to its present size of 15 Battalions.
In 1881 a cadet platoon was formed at Royal College, Colombo attached to the CLI. This eventually expanded to became the Cadet Battalion, Ceylon Light Infantry under the Ceylon Defence Force. Later this unit became the Ceylon Cadet Corps, now known as the National Cadet Corps.
The regimental colours were awarded to the regiment in 1921 and on 22 March 1922 Ceylon Light Infantry was awarded with the King's and the Regimental Colours. When the first battalion regular force was formed HM Queen Elizabeth II presented the new colours to the battalion in 1949. The Queens and Regimentals Colours were presented to the 1st battalion on 21 April 1954 by HM Queen Elizabeth II. With the declaration of the Republic of Sri Lanka were land to rest within the regimental museum on 29 June 1974.
In 10 October 1978 H.E. President J.R. Jayawardena awarded the President's and Regimental Colours to the 1st Bn SLLI and 2nd Vol Bn SLLI.
In early stage, from March 1881 to 28 November 1881 volunteer corps used an elephant and a coconut tree as their emblem. With the declaration of republic of Sri Lanka 1st and 2nd battalions of CLI decided to retain as much with the configuration and pattern of the existing badge. As result of these suggestions, a new insignia was introduced with following details;
- To retain the silver bugle horn bound with brass, which is on the existing badge. This was retained because the bugle traditionally represents the infantry arm and by doing so, the Regiment could perpetuate in no small measure some of the high ideals associated with the previous insignia.
- It in corporate with three sheaves of paddy arranged in a manner of up to the three plumps on the existing crest. These were in corporate to signify prosperity and the heritage of the people as an agrarian nation. It retains the motto of the Prince of Wales “ICH DIEN” which has been adopted as the motto of the regiment in its translation form “I SERVE”.
- 1st Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 4th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 6th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 7th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 8th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 10th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 11th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 12th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 15th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 19th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 20th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 23rd Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 24th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 25th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 26th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- RHQ Battalian Sri Lanka Light Infantry (RFT)
- 2nd(v) Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 5th(v) Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 9th(v) Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 14th(v)Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 16th(V)Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 17th(V)Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 18th(V)Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- 21st(V)Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- Second Boer War
- World War I
- Home defence
- Western front
- World War II
- Home defence
- Cocos Islands
- 1971 Insurrection
- Insurrection 1987-89
- Sri Lankan Civil War
- United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
Recipient of the Parama Weera Vibhushanaya
- General Sir John Lionel Kotelawala, CH, KBE- Former Prime Minister of Ceylon
- General D. S. Attygalle, MVO -Former Commander of the Sri Lankan Army
- General T. I. Weerathunga, VSV, ndc - former Commander of the Sri Lankan Army and Chief of the Defence Staff
- General Shantha Kottegoda, WWV, RWP, RSP, VSP, ndc -Former Commander of the Sri Lankan Army
- Major General Anton Muttukumaru, OBE, ED - First Ceylonese Commander of the Ceylon Army
- Major General B.R. Heyn -Former Commander of the Ceylon Army
- Major General A.R. Udugama, MBE - Former Commander of the Ceylon Army
- Justice Eugene Wilfred Jayewardene - Judge of the Supreme Court of Ceylon
- Major General T.T. Ranjith de Silva, RWP, RSP, USP, PSC - Former Security Forces Commander - Eastern Province and Government Agent, Trincomalee District
- Major General Nanda Mallawaarachchi, RWP, VSV, USP, ndc, psc -Former Chief of Staff of the Sri Lankan Army and present Sri Lankan Ambassador to Indonesia
- Major General Lakshman 'Lucky' Wijayaratne † RWP, RSP - Former brigade commander, 22 Brigade
- Colonel T G Jayewardene - First Ceylonese commanding officer and former member of the State Council of Ceylon
- Colonel Waldo Sansoni, OBE, VD, JP, UM - Colonel commanding, Ceylon Light Infantry (1935-1939)
- Lieutenant Colonel Angelo Peiris, RWP, RSP † - Leader of the first wave seaborne landing during Operation Balavegaya
- Lieutenant Colonel Dhananjaya W. Wijesinghe, RSP † - 2nd Commander- 7th Sri Lanka Light Infantry during the Third Eelam War
Order of precedence
Sri Lanka Signals Corps
|Order of Precedence||Succeeded by
Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment
- Sri Lanka Light Infantry
- Haiti - MINUSTAH - Facts and Figures, United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
- REGIMENTAL INSIGNIA,THE COLOURS OF THE REGIMENT, www.army.lk/lightinfan.php
- REGIMENTAL INSIGNIA,INTRODUCTION OF THE REGIMENTAL INSIGNIA, www.army.lk/lightinfan.php
- Major General Lakshman 'Lucky' Wijayaratne