Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force

The Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force (SLAVF) is the principal and Volunteer reserve force component of the Sri Lanka Army. It is a collective name for the reserve units and the Sri Lanka National Guard of the Sri Lankan Army. The SLAVF is made up of part-time Officers and soldiers paid at a similar rate, while engaged on military activities, as their Regular equivalents. This is in contrast to the Regular Army Reserve, which currently comprises people who have a mobilization obligation for a number of years after their former full-time service in the regular army has been completed. Overall administration and recruitment of reserve personal is carried out by the Volunteer Force Headquarters in Battaramulla, headed by the Commandant of the Volunteer Force, this is usually a Major General. The current commandant is Major General J. J. P. S. T. Liyanage.


The history of the SLAVF goes back to 1861 when the Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteers where created.

Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteers

The second phase in the employment of non-British personnel commenced in 1861 after the enactment of an ordinance designed to authorize the creation of Volunteer Corps in the island. It was designated the Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteers (CLIV). This move compensated for the disbandment of the Ceylon Rifle Regiment in 1874. The Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteers was originally administered as a single unit. However over the years various sections of the volunteers grew large enough to become independent from their parent unit. The different units that emerged from the Volunteer Force were the,

Ceylon Defence Force

Main article: Ceylon Defence Force

In 1910 the name of the military was formerly changed to the Ceylon Defence Force (CDF). It continued to grow throughout the early period of 20th century. The CDF saw active service when a contingent of the Ceylon Mounted Infantry (CMI) in 1900, and a contingent of Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps (CPRC) in 1902, took part in the Second Boer War in South Africa. Their services were recognized by presentation, in 1902, of a color to the CMI, and a presentation in 1904, of a Banner to the CPRC. In 1922, the CDF was honored by the presentation of the King's and Regimental colors to the Ceylon Light Infantry (CLI).

During the First World War, many volunteers from the Defence Force traveled to England and joined the British Army, and many of them were killed in action. One of them mentioned by Arthur Conan Doyle was Private Jacotine of the CLI, who was the last man left alive in his unit at the Battle of Lys, and who continued to fight for 20 minutes before he was killed.[1]

In 1939, the CDF was mobilized and an enormous expansion took place which required the raising of new units such as the Post and Telegraph Signals, the Ceylon Railway Engineer Corps, the Ceylon Electrical and Mechanical Engineer Corps, the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the Ceylon Corps of Military Police, the Ceylon Signals Corps and the Colombo Town Guard Unit, which had been previously disbanded, but was later re-formed to meet military requirements. During the Second World War Britain assumed direct control over the Armed Forces of Ceylon.[2]

Army Volunteer Force

Following the formation of the army in 1949, the CDF became the nucleus of the Ceylon Army and all volunteer units of the CDF—which was the majority of the CDF— became the Ceylon Volunteer Force (CVF). A large number of Second World War veterans were serving in the CVF at the time and in the post-Independence years the CVF played an important role while a new regular army was being formed.

During this time the CVF was mobilized a number of times to counter riots and strikes that occurred, however, after several of its senior officers were implicated in the failed attempted coup in 1962 the post of Commandant of the Volunteer Force has since been filled by a combat officer of the regular army.

In 1972 when Sri Lanka became a republic the name of the force was changed to Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force. The current strength of the SLAVF is about 50,000 volunteer combat officers and other ranks attached to various units and regiments of the Sri Lanka Army. The commandant of the SLAVF is normally the third most senior combat officer of the regular army holding, the rank of Major General.

Cadet Corps

Since the formation of the first cadet platoon with students of the Royal College, Colombo which was attached to the Ceylon Light Infantry, the Cadet Battalion came under the Ceylon Defence Force. From 1949 the Ceylon Cadet Corps with its cadet battalions came under the Volunteer Force until 1988 when the National Cadet Corps was formed as a separate entity.

Current units

Sri Lanka Armoured Corps
Sri Lanka Artillery
Sri Lanka Engineers
Sri Lanka Signals Corps
Sri Lanka Light Infantry
Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment
Gemunu Watch
Gajaba Regiment
Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment
Engineer Services Regiment
Sri Lanka Army Service Corps
Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps
Sri Lanka Army Ordnance Corps
Sri Lanka Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
Sri Lanka Army General Service Corps
Sri Lanka Army Pioneer Corps
Sri Lanka Army Women's Corps
Sri Lanka Rifle Corps
Sri Lanka National Guard
Volunteer Force Training School (VFTS)


Volunteer officers undergo basic training at the Sri Lanka Military Academy and the other ranks at the Volunteer Force Training School (VFTS).

Awards and decorations


The following have commanded the SLAVF:

Notable members

See also


  1. ", Sri Lankan Army". Indias. Retrieved 2006-02-04.
  2. "History of the Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regiment, Sri Lanka Army". Sri Lanka Army. Archived from the original on 2006-07-08. Retrieved 2006-02-04.

External links

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