16th June 2021 21:13:16 Hours
General S. Cyril Ranatunga (Retd), one of the most respected and highly acclaimed military leaders in the Sri Lanka Army and a former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence passed away peacefully on Wednesday (16) at the age of 91 years. He, who had given leadership as a General Officer Commanding, Joint Operations Command and Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army during the 1980s also served as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea as well as in the United Kingdom. He was honoured by appointing him as Chancellor of the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy after his retirement.
A private family funeral, confined only to his closest family members, would take place sans military formalities at the request of his family on Thursday (17) at 12.30 noon at Borella General Cemetery, adhering to pandemic health guidelines.
As a veteran military leader who actively contributed to the culmination of the 1971 insurrection and prevention of the growth of militancy in Gurunagar area and the peninsula in general was awarded the Vishishta Seva Vibhushanaya (VSV) military decoration and several other medals in recognition of his unblemished service to the motherland.
In January 1977, he was appointed Military Secretary of the Army HQ and in January 1978 he was appointed Commander, Western Command at the Panagoda Cantonment. On 4 February 1978 he was confirmed to the rank of Brigadier and in January 1980 he was appointed as Commander, Support Forces in addition to serving as Commander, Western Command. In this capacity, he was instrumental in forming the Army Provident Fund.
In February 1982, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army and Commander Security Forces Headquarters – Jaffna. During this tenure, he was based in Gurunagar, containing the expansion of the Tamil militancy. To this end, he developed military intelligence in Jaffna and retired from the Army in 1983.
Following retirement, General Ranatunga served as Chairman of the Airport and Aviation Services. In February 1990, President Ranasinghe Premadasa appointed him as Secretary to the Ministry of Defence where he managed the budgetary allocations and administration of the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces. He stepped down as Defence Secretary in April 1993.
Here follows the Part I Order, issued by General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army.