Alexander Richard Udugama
|Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament|
7 June 1970 – 18 May 1977
|Preceded by||Alick Aluwihare|
|Succeeded by||Alick Aluwihare|
|Born||11 November 1911|
|Died||14 May 1995(aged 83)|
|Political party||Sri Lanka Freedom Party|
War Medal 1939–1945
|Branch/service||Ceylon Defence Force|
|Years of service||1940–1966|
|Unit||Ceylon Light Infantry, |
Ceylon Sinha Regiment
|Commands||Commander of the Ceylon Army|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Major General Deshamanya Alexander Richard Udugama, MBE, psc, CSR (11 November 1911 – 14 May 1995) was a Sri Lankan military leader, politician and diplomat. Former Commander of the Ceylon Army (1964–1966), he was elected as Member of Parliament for Matale in 1970 and served as Sri Lankan Ambassador to Iraq from 1979 to 1982. He was accused of an alleged coup d'état in 1966.
With the out break of World War II, he joined the Ceylon Defence Force and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Ceylon Light Infantry in 1940. Thereafter he was posted to the 1st, 3rd and 4th Battalions of the Ceylon Light Infantry and undertook several infantry courses in Ceylon and India. He was promoted to the rank of Captain on 1 January 1943. In November 1943, he was transferred to the British 14th Army operating in Burma Campaign. During this time he served with the 7/2nd Punjab Regiment in the Arakan area, on the eastern side of Mayu Range. At this point he was captured Japanese and held in a POW camp until the end of the war in 1945. For his war service he was awarded the Burma Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal 1939–1945. After the war, he was demobilized and became a planter. However he joined the new Ceylon Army when it was established in 1949 as a regular officer with the rank of Major.
By the early 1960s he had reached the rank of colonel and was attached to the Ceylon Sinha Regiment as its commanding officer and was stationed in Jaffna as commanding officer of Troops Jaffna. There he was noted for breaking up a protest organized by the Federal Party.
Following the 1962 attempt coup d'état he was brought back to Colombo and appointed Commander of the Ceylon Army in 1964, by passing seven more senior officers after Major General H.W.G. Wijeyekoon had to retired in 1963. He was the first Sinhala-Buddhist Army Commander with the rank of Brigadier.
Major General Udugama was recalled while on an official tour in Europe, and arrested on his arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport. He was arrested on the charges of plotting a coup against the government of Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake in what was known as the Bathroom coup.
He was held at the Welikada Prison for three years as the trial took place and the Supreme Court found him not guilty and acquitted him of all charges. His legal counsel was Neville Samarakoon, QC and Tissa Wijeyeratne.
Following his acquittal he contested the Matale seat from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and was elected as a Member of Parliament which he held till 1977. By the late 1970s he became a supporter of the United National Party and in 1979 he was appointed as Sri Lankan Ambassador to Iraq until 1982. The government of Sri Lanka bestowed the title of Deshamanya and on his death in 1995 a State funeral was granted with full Military honours.
General Udugama married Rita Nugawela Kumarihamy, daughter of Tikiri Banda Nugawela Rate Mahatmaya of Udu Nuwara and sister of Colonel Allan Nugawela. They had a son (Ajith Ravindra) and a daughter (Kshanika Udugama).
- He was awarded the title Deshamanya from the Government of Sri Lanka.
- He was a Member of the Order of the British Empire.
- Trinity Prize from Trinity College, Kandy
| Commander of the Ceylon Army