Commander of the Army (Sri Lanka)

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Commander of the Sri Lanka Army
ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ යුධ හමුදාපතිවරු
Lieutenant general Mahesh Senanayake

since 4 July 2017
 Sri Lanka Army
Member ofNational Security Council
Reports toMinistry of Defence
Chief of Defence Staff
AppointerThe President
Term lengthNot fixed
Constituting instrumentArmy Act, No. 17 of 1949
PrecursorCommander of the Ceylon Defence Force
Formation20 October 1949; 69 years ago (1949-10-20)
as Commander of the Ceylon Army
First holderBrigadier Roderick Sinclair (as Commander Ceylon Army)
DeputyChief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army

The Commander of the Army is the title of the professional head of the Sri Lanka Army.[1] The current Commander of the Army is Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake.[2]


The post traces its roots to the post of General Officer Commanding, Ceylon, which was the title of the officer commanding the British Army units stationed in Ceylon prior to independence in 1948. After the formation of the Ceylon Army in 1949, the title Commander of the Ceylon Army was formally adopted although it was at times referred to as General Officer Commanding, Ceylon until as late as the 1960s. Brig. Roderick Sinclair, 19th Earl of Caithness was the first Commander of the army of independent Sri Lanka (then Ceylon).

Since the 1980s serving army commanders have by convention been of the rank of Lieutenant General who are promoted to the rank of full general after taking the responsibilities of the Office of the Chief of the Defence Staff. But some commanders were promoted to full general after retirement or posthumously, e.g. Denis Perera, who was promoted to full general in 2007 after 26 years of retirement in recognition to his service.[3]

Official Residence[edit]

The official residence of the Commander of the Army is General's House in Colombo. The house was one of several built as Class A Quarters by the British Colonial Government of Ceylon along Bullers Road for the use of government officials and was used as the quarters of the Commander of the British Garrison in Ceylon. Brigadier James Sinclair, the Earl of Caithness took up residence in the house in 1949 after being appointed the first Commander of the Ceylon Army, and it has been used as the Commander's official residence since, with a brief interruption in 1955.

Retiring commanders are allowed to stay on an additional three months post-retirement to better facilitate their transition.

List of Commanders (including Commanders of the Ceylon Army)[edit]

No. Portrait Rank Name Appointment Left office Unit Decorations
1 Brigadier Sinclair The Earl of Caithness.jpg Brigadier Roderick Sinclair 20 October 1949 17 May 1952 Gordon Highlanders CBE, DSO
2 Brigadier Sir Francis S. Reid 18 May 1952 8 February 1955 Royal Artillery CBE
3 Major General Anton Muttukumaru 9 February 1955 31 December 1959 Ceylon Light Infantry OBE, ED, ADC
4 Major General H. W. G. Wijeyekoon 1 January 1960 31 December 1963 Ceylon Light Infantry OBE, ED
5 Major General Deshamanya Richard Udugama 1 January 1964 10 November 1966 Ceylon Light Infantry MBE
6 Major General Bertram Heyn 11 November 1966 30 September 1967 Ceylon Light Infantry
7 Lieutenant General Deshamanya Sepala Attygalle 1 October 1967 13 October 1977 Sri Lanka Armoured Corps LVO, ADC
8 Lieutenant General Deshamanya Denis Perera 14 October 1977 13 October 1981 Sri Lanka Engineers VSV
9 Lieutenant General Tissa Weeratunga 14 October 1981 11 February 1985 Gemunu Watch VSV
10 Lieutenant General Nalin Seneviratne 12 February 1985 15 August 1988 Sri Lanka Engineers VSV
11 Lieutenant General Hamilton Wanasinghe 16 August 1988 15 November 1991 Sri Lanka Artillery VSV
12 Lieutenant General Cecil Waidyaratne 16 November 1991 31 December 1993 Sri Lanka Armoured Corps VSV
13 Lieutenant General G. H. De Silva 1 January 1994 30 April 1996 Gemunu Watch RWP, VSV, USP
14 Lieutenant General Rohan Daluwatte 1 May 1996 15 December 1998 Sri Lanka Armoured Corps RWP, RSP, VSV, USP
15 Lieutenant General C. S. Weerasooriya 16 December 1998 24 August 2000 Sri Lanka Artillery RWP, RSP, VSV, USP
16 Lieutenant General Lionel Balagalle 25 August 2000 30 June 2004 Sri Lanka Artillery RWP, RSP, VSV, USP, VSP
17 Lieutenant General Shantha Kottegoda 1 July 2004 5 December 2005 Sri Lanka Light Infantry WWV, RWP, RSP, VSV, USP, VSP
18 Sarath Fonseka portrait.jpg Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka 6 December 2005 15 July 2009 Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment RWP, RSP, VSV, USP
19 Jagath Jayasuriya.jpg Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya 15 July 2009 1 August 2013 Sri Lanka Armoured Corps VSP, USP
20 Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake 1 August 2013 21 February 2015 Sri Lanka Light Infantry WWV, RWP, RSP, USP
21 Lieutenant General Crishantha de Silva 22 February 2015 4 July 2017 Sri Lanka Engineers RWP, USP
22 Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake 4 July 2017 present Sri Lanka Engineers RWP, USP

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New Army Commander". Daily News Sri Lanka. 15 July 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Mahesh Senanayake new army commander". Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Former service chiefs promoted". Retrieved 27 October 2017.

External links[edit]