Sri Lanka Army

Defenders of the Nation

Published on - 1/4/2005

Army Officers and Soldiers on duty Among Tsunami Victims

A Colonel, one Major, one Lieutenant, one Navy Lieutenant and two Warrant Officers (WO II) of the Army and Navy were among the 60 Army and Navy personnel now confirmed killed during monstrous tidal waves that wreaked havoc in Sri Lanka on Sunday (26) after an earthquake in Indonesia sent tidal shock waves across the Indian sub-continent.

One Police Constable was also feared dead in the catastrophe, according to reports received on Tuesday (28) afternoon.

Encroaching tidal waves washed away and killed Commander, 232 Brigade, W. M. S Gunaratne with his son while his family was at Kalkudah Brigade Headquarters on a brief holiday, but his wife and the daughter survived. Major H.W.D.L.R.A Wickramasinghe, who attempted to salvage his mother in trouble after dashing waters began to submerge her house in the water. Lieutenant S.C.S.R Premasiri was in Jaffna when he fell victim to the horrifying waters. Warrant Officers I.W.M. Amarasiri and M.W. Jayatissa perished while they were on duty at Nagarkovil and Valaichchenai.

There were Corporals, Lance Corporals, Gunners, Privates, Recruits, and several Riflemen of the Army were among the rest confirmed killed in the disasters.

Their funerals with full Military honours are to be held on Wednesday (29) after initial postmortems are conducted at the locations where remains were recovered. Lt General S.H.S. Kottegoda, Commander of the Army has directed all possible assistance be provided to the members of bereaved families on a priority basis.

Almost all those dead Service personnel fell victim to the devastating waves while they were on duty in the Jaffna Peninsula, Batticaloa and Trincomalee areas as deployed by their respective units.

Two hundred and ninety two Service personnel including Six Officers as of Tuesday (28) undergo medical treatment at Military Hospitals and elsewhere after they were admitted in the aftermath of the disaster.

Whereabouts of twenty five service personnel including two officers who had been reported missing are yet to be traced. Seven Army personnel from Jaffna, fifteen (Batticaloa) and three others from Galle and Jaffna areas including one Naval Officer are among those who had gone reportedly missing while they were on duty at respective duty points. Surveillance Operations assisted by Sri Lanka Air Force are still on with a view to rescuing any survivors, if any.