2019 May 17
Today, we celebrate the tenth Remembrance Day as Sri Lankans; 10 years since the end of the civil war. Today, we remember the great War Heroes who made us proud and the civilians who perished during the thirty-year long dark chapter of Sri Lanka.
In remembrance of those who served our nation, here are some stories of a few great heroes who sacrificed their lives for our country.
Lieutenant Colonel Jal Jayasinghe
The date: 20th November 2008. The location: Oddusudan, Sri Lanka
Our hero, along with a group that included the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol of the Special Forces, entered enemy ground as stealthily as they possibly could. Their objective: to destroy the LTTE terrorists who were gathering to attend the “LTTE heroes day” commemorations.
Although he himself was not well, our hero led this operation and when attacks were occurring back and forth on the Mankulam – Oddusudan road, he showed exceptional qualities as a leader. During the battle that followed, even though he had the chance to evade towards the rear, he fought on as a valiant hero.
However, while crawling closer to the enemy with the sole determination of safeguarding the lives of his fellow soldiers, he received gunshot injuries to his head. He succumbed to the injury and left Mother Lanka as a hero.
Captain U.G.A.S. Samaranayake
The date: 2nd March 2008. The location: Pudukudiirippu Town
Captain Samaranayake and his troops had one objective, and that was to recapture this LTTE stronghold. Although the Captain and his troops had a good understanding of the situation, they sustained heavy injuries in the encounter.
Ignoring his own bleeding wounds and armed with some serious will power this hero, led his troops until they were able to consolidate their power in the area.
However, not everyone was lucky to get through this battle alive and Captain Samaranayake soon laid down his life due to the aggravation of bleeding injuries that he sustained.
Sergeant Bandara H.G.S.
The date: 17th May 2009. The location: A small islet in Nandikadal
Amidst the legendary Wanni Humanitarian Operations, whilst the operations were in full swing to capture the Nandikadal Lagoon area, a small team of eight, headed by Sergeant Bandara, was laying an ambush.
Things were not pretty as this small team had to face more than a hundred and fifty LTTE cadres and everyone sustained injuries during the fierce attack on the enemies. Being the hero that he was, Sergeant Bandara evacuated injured soldiers for medical treatment but he himself continued to fight on with reinforcements.
Even though they succeeded, the condition of this warrior was critical due to the excessive loss of blood and he thus sacrificed his life for our motherland.
Lieutenant Commander J.L.D.S Wijethunga
The date: 30th March 1996 The location: Somewhere between Trincomalee and Kankasanthure
As the commanding officer of the P458 attack vessel, his main objective on this day was to provide security to another vessel transporting troops from the harbour at Trincomalee to that of Knakasanthure. This entourage was attacked by an LTTE suicide vessel and this is when the battle ensued.
Upon noticing the suicide vessel charging towards the entourage, the Lieutenant Commander attacked the enemy ship with full force causing it to explode. However, due to this explosion, the P458 vessel too was heavily damaged and sunk to the bottom of the ocean taking our hero down with it.
Chief Petty Officer K.G. Shantha
The date: 1st November 2008 The location: Off the coast of Manalkadu
Being the commanding officer of the Z141 vessel, Officer Shantha received orders to investigate a suspicious vessel that was heading towards Point Peduru from Kudarappu.
Vessel Z141 was assisted by a host of other vessels including vessel P164 and, off the coast of Manalkadu, attacks started raining in. At one point, vessel P164 was being attacked by two enemy ships. Although one was destroyed, there was another vessel charging towards vessel P164 which was only noticed by Chief Petty Officer K.G. Shantha.
In order to protect the other vessels, vessel Z141 launched heavy attacks towards the enemy ships and, in the battle that took place, both vessels collided causing both of them to explode.
Wing Commander T.D.S. Silvapullai
The date: 19th December 1999 The location: Thamilamadam
As the front lines of the Sri Lankan army were being attacked, Wing Commander T.D.S. Silvapulla, with his attack helicopter I24, volunteered to launch air attacks on the enemy ships.
During the battle that took place by helicopter, I24 was able to attack and destroy a vast number of enemy ships and even though the weather conditions were not favourable, our hero and his team braved on. As the enemy ships were retreating, helicopter I24 chased them and this is when it was attacked by a missile and was destroyed upon impact.
Today, we recall the brave individuals who fought for our country and lost their lives in the process. In light of the most recent attacks, let these stories serve as a reminder that we must do our utmost to ensure that history does not repeat itself.