Sri Lanka Volunteer Naval Force
The Sri Lanka Volunteer Naval Force (SLVNF) is the volunteer and volunteer reserve force of the Sri Lanka Navy, established on the 22 May 1972. It is headquartered at SLNS Lanka, Welisara, and is tasked with a support and complementary role to the country's navy, partly by serving as a pool of civilian talent and expertise otherwise lacking in (and not regularly required by) the regular naval force, and partly by acting as a reserve force during times of war.
|Sri Lanka Navy|
The Sri Lanka Volunteer Naval Force can trace its roots to the Ceylon Naval Volunteer Force (CNVF) of British Ceylon, and indeed predates its parent force, the Sri Lanka Navy, by several decades. The CNVF was raised in 1937 by the Volunteer Naval Defense Force Act, No. 1, under the command of Commander (later Captain) W. G. Beauchamp, with a complement of 12 officers and 18 sailors.
The first headquarters of the force was set up on 11 January 1939 (formally opened on 14 June 1939), two days before the outbreak of World War II, at Kochchikade. The CNVF was immediately deployed at the Colombo- and Trincomalee harbours; on 1 October 1943, the CNVF was placed under the command of the Royal Navy deployment on the island and renamed the Ceylon Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (CRNVR). Command of the CRNVR was returned to the Government of Ceylon with the end of the War in 1946.
With Ceylonese independence on the horizon, the Government of Ceylon selected a core cadre of 100 servicemen and officers from the CRNVR to form a more regular arm of its military, in the late 1940s. The Navy Act, No. 34 of 1950 established the CRNVR as the Royal Ceylon Volunteer Naval Force (RCVNF) on 9 January 1951, alongside the Royal Ceylon Navy to which the 100 servicemen were transferred. Officers and seamen of the CRNVR not on active service on this date formed the core of the RCVNF, with a strength of 12 officers and 121 men. To keep the port H.M.Cy.S. TISSA safe, Port Commission Officers were commissioned as a separate division of the VNF, with Captain M. Chandrasoma as Commanding Officer; this Division was disbanded in 1956.
The Sri Lankan Constitution of 1972 saw the nation become a republic; the Dominion of Ceylon became the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. As with the other branches of the Ceylonese armed forces, the Royal Ceylon Volunteer Naval Force too underwent a rechristening, becoming the Sri Lanka Volunteer Naval Force (SLVNF). Since then, the SLVNF has been a key support mechanism to the Sri Lanka Navy during its operations in the Eelam Wars.
Citizens with a professional civilian career, in the state- or private sector are eligible to volunteer as officers of the SLVNF, provided they meet educational and professional qualification requirements. Ordinary ratings are recruited to either the reserves or to the active Seamen branch, with leave from active duty being granted in 5-year blocks. Tradesmen in particular are encouraged to volunteer through the SLVNF's Volunteer Special Scheme, which seeks to act as a pool of civil- and tradesman talent/experience.
Awards and decorations
- Prashansaniya Seva Vibhushanaya - 1972. Awarded to commissioned officers
- Prashansaniya Seva Padakkama - 1972. Awarded to all other ranks/rates
- Sir Susantha de Fonseka, KBE - former Deputy Speaker of the State Council and former Ambassador to Burma and Japan
- Rear Admiral Royce de Mel, OBE, ADC, RCyN - First Ceylonese Commander of the Royal Ceylon Navy (1955–1960)
- Rear Admiral Rajan Kadiragamar MVO, ADC, RCyN - Commander of the Royal Ceylon Navy (1960–1970)
- Lt. Commander, Peter, Neville, Leslie Mendis.
- Rear Admiral D.V. Hunter SLN -Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy (1970–1972)
- Rear Admiral Palitha Fernando, PC, VNF - Judge Advocate of the Sri Lanka Navy
- Commodore G.E.S. de Silva, PSV, FCMA, FCFA, FCMI, VNF - Commanding Officer, VNF
- Captain Malcolm de Costa - Commanding Officer, VNF
- Commodore VNF I.M.P.Sarath, BA(Econ.),LL.B,Attorney-at-law ,Commanding Officer-VNF