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Project Two


Orders, Decorations and Medals relating to Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
from 1795 to the present.

 Sample biography

Deshamanya General Don Sepala Attygalle LVO ADC idc psc

He was born on 14 Oct 1921 and was educated at Royal College, Colombo where he represented the college in Athletics & Rugger. He was commissioned in the CLI as 2/Lt. on 15 Nov 1940, and rose to the rank of Captain. He continued with his sports in the Army & was the Defence Services 100 metre Champion until 1944. He terminated his war service on 9 March 1946, and received the War medal and the Defence medal. He was awarded the EM [Ceylon] as 334 Capt. on 15 Sept 1950. After being demobilised in 1946, he served ffor a short time as Assistant Controller of Textiles and Assistant Controller of Exports and Imports. With the formation of the regular Ceylon Army on 10 Oct 1949 he was commissioned into the 1st Bn. CLI on 22 Oct 1949 as Capt. (Personal Number 0/50010) and appointed GSO3 Army HQ with effect the same day.  On 27 July 1950 he was appointed Extra ADC to H.E. the Governor-General. He was promoted to Maj. on 1 Jan 1952 and appointed GSO2 Army HQ, 1 Feb 1952.

Deshamanya General Don Sepala Attygalle LVO ADC idc psc

He followed a Company Commanders' Course at the School of Infantry, Warminster, 20 May to 18 July 1952 and a Land/Air Warfare Course at the School of Land/Air Warfare, RAF, Wilts, 12 Oct to 7 Nov 1952. He was also attached to the First Battalion of the Queens Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, in Germany, serving with the NATO Forces in Europe.A He relinquished the appointment of GSO2 Army HQ on 18 Jan 1953 & left for UK to follow a course of training at the Staff College in Camberley. On 2 June 1953 he was ppointed Equerry to H.M. The Queen at the Coronation and received the Coronation Medal. He was appointed a MVO (now re-classified as the LVO) on 21 April 1954 when H.M. The Queen visited Ceylon. Back in the CLI he was associated with the formation of the "D" Company which was raised on 14 May 1954 and was himself the first to command that Company. He was awarded the Ceylon Armed Services Inauguration Medal during this period.
In 1955 he was given the task of raising the Ceylon Armoured Corps (CAC) and was appointed its first CO on 10 Oct 1955. On 17 Dec 1955, a Combined Services Buddhist Mission left for Burma by RCyNS Vijaya, to represent the Armed Forces of Ceylon at the Buddha Jayanthi Commemoration Celebrations. The Contingent carried with them a gift of a Bo sapling which was ceremonially planted during the celebrations. This contingent was led by Major Attygalle MVO. He held the appointment of OC Troops, Echelon Square from 25 Dec 1955 to 9 Aug 1956. On 1 Oct 1958 he was promoted to the rank of Lt.Col. He followed a course of training with the RAC from 23 March to 17 April 1959.
On 1 Dec 1962 he was promoted to Col. & in addition to his duties as CO, CAC, he was appointed Commander, Army Force Panagoda. In June 1963 he went on an official visit to Yugoslavia (where he went through a gruelling guerilla warfare training course in Yugoslavia ) and the UK. He relinquished the appointment of Commander, Army Force Panagoda on 13 Aug 1963 and. was appointed Commander TaFII on 14 Aug 1963, covering Jaffna, Mannar and Trincomalee. He relinquished duties as CO, CAC on 20 March 1964 and was appointed Chief of Staff of the Ceylon Army with effect from 21 March 1964. He relinquished his duties as Commander TaFII on 30 June 1965. In 1966 he proceeded to UK to follow a Course at the Imperial Defence College. On his return to Ceylon, he continued to hold the appointment of Chief of Staff. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier on 22 Sept 1967 & appointed Act.Commander of the Army. On 1 Oct 1967 he was promoted to the rank of Maj.Gen. and appointed the Commander of the Ceylon Army. As Army Commander he paid official visits to the USA and Canada in March 1969 and to USSR in Feb 1972. He was promoted to the rank of Lt.Gen. on 4 April 1974. With this promotion he achieved the unique distinction of being the first Ceylonese and the first Commander of the Ceylon Army to be promoted to the rank of Lt.Gen. He commanded the Army for ten years and on retirement (13 Oct 1977) he was promoted General & took up the appointment of Addt. Secretary in the Defence Ministry and also as the Chief Co-ordinating Authority in the MoD. He was also the National Security Adviser, a Director of the National airline, Airlanka, Founder Chairman, Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited and Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in London. He is also the recipient of the Ceylon Armed Services Long Service Medal, the Republic of Sri Lanka Armed Services Medal (1972) and the SL Army 25th Anniversary Medal (1974). In May 1990, President R. Premadasa honoured Gen. Atygalle with the national honour Deshamanya. He passed away on 15 Jan 2001, in Colombo, after a brief illness.

Decorations and Medals of Gen. Attygalle LVO

The three ribbon bars at the top of the photo show the Republic of Sri Lanka
Armed Services Medal (1972); LVO; Coronation Medal 1953; War Medal 1939-45;
Defence Medal 1939-45; Sri Lanka Army 25th Anniversary Medal (1974); Ceylon
Armed Services Long Service Medal; Efficiency Medal [Ceylon] and the Ceylon
Armed Forces Inauguration Medal.
(Please note that the second ribbon bar has been mounted upside down)

1996 -2002, Charles Ameresekere. Content may not be copied by any form without the prior consent of the Author