Corps Of Engineer Services

Initiate & Complete

History of Corps of Engineer Service

Brigadier MLDA Perera
The Father of the Crops of Engineer Services

The History of CES in Brief

The history of the Engineer Services Regt SLLE runs as far back as 1911. Although three was no regiment by this name at that time the beginning of the regiment could be traced back to this year. In February 1911 the Ceylon Engineers (Volunteers) was formed as a part of the Ceylon Defence Force. This Engineer had a Works Services component.

After the formation of the Ceylon Army the present Engineer Services Regiment was born in the form of "1 Works Section Ceylon Engineers" on 10th January 1950. On this day the first Engineer Officer in the Ceylon Army. Captain MLDA Perera was commissioned as the first Garrison Engineer. A few months later the first other Rankers S/sgt Labrooy EFD was enlisted. These two persons constituted the " 1 Works Section CE" and were the pioneers of the Regiment. Capt MLDA Perera ;later retired in 1973 in the rank of Brigadier. S/sgt. Labrooy who was later promoted to WO I resigned from the Army and migrated to Australia 1955.

The Works Section CE situated at the Army Headquarters premised and the other Ranks were billeted in Echelon Barracks with 1 CLI Troops. Their administration was done by the Camp Commandant. The Garrison Engineer functioned in an advisory capacity and the work was carried out by the public works Department. The following is a chronological record of the more important events that followed.

Year 1951

Lt EC Janson was commissioned as Assistant Garrison Engineer. Civilian cadre was included in the establishment and the "1 Works Section Ceylon Engineers" carried out "Maintenance" Services and "Additions and Improvements" Services hitherto carried out by the PWD. Most of the Civilian employees were those Served in the Engineer Regiment of the Ceylon Defence Force. Inventor zing the Engineer and Electrical fittings of all Army Buildings was also started for the first time. In July the Unit was re-designated as " 3 Works Services Squadron Ceylon Engineers. The Unit was called upon to handle works services of the other two Services as well. Work for other Department was carried out on an agency basis.

Year 1952

The First Garrison Engineer's Office and the Yard was opened in the Army Headquarters premises itself in 1952. This still exists as the Garrison Engineer (CBO) Office and Yard. More other ranks and civilian Employees were taken in during this year and Capt. MLDA Perera was appointed as Deputy Commander Ceylon Engineers (DCCE) Works.

Year 1953

The need to establish an Engineer Storehouse was felt and WOI W Don Victor was enlisted as the first store Keeper. The Storehouse was situated near the present Military Hospital. Also during this year Lieut. MBA Class was commissioned as the first Electrical and Mechanical Engineer and the Electrical and Mechanical Section was established.

Year 1954

Lieutenant DD Gammampila was commissioned into the Regiment and was appointed as the Administrative Officer. Since the work - load at Diyathalawa was increasing; a Garrison Engineer Station was established in Diyathalawa. WO I Labroy was the First Garrison Engineer in the Station. A sum of Rs. 55 million was approved for the construction of the buildings at the new cantonment at Panagoda Deputy Commander Ceylon Engineers (Works) was appointed as the coordinating Officer for this task which was undertaken by the PWD. This task made it necessary for the Unit HQ to be shifted to PNG from AHQ premises. The present Unit HQ is where it originally started together with the PWD Staff Office. Accommodation and rationing of Works Services Troops were provided by the 1st Battalion, the Ceylon Light Infantry. The work was carried out by the soldiers (mainly L/Cpl) as well as civilians supervised by PWD and Works Services Supervisors. The third Garrison Engineers office and yard were opened at Panagoda. The Main Storehouse was shifted from Army Headquarters premises to Panagoda.

Year 1956

In Sept 1956 the unit was re-designated assign as '' Works Services Ceylon Engineers" The work load of the other two services was also gradually removed from our responsibility with the formation of the Works Services component in the Navy and Air Force.

The late Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, the Hon. Prime Minister, visited the Unit HQ during this year. Also during this year the unit held the an "Arms Drill on the March" display on the occasion of the visit of Major General AM Muttukumaru, OBE, ED, ADC idc, Commander of the Army, when he visited the Unit.

Year 1957

The appointment "Deputy Commander Ceylon Engineer (Wks) held by the Commanding Officer was re-designated Commander Ceylon Engineer (Wks). Capt K Rajanathan was commissioned into the unit and was put in charge of the newly opened "Plans and Estimates" Section.

Year 1958

Resulting from the communal riots the unit had to provide temporary accommodation and ancillary services for nearly 10,000 Tamil refugees. 'Prefab' type buildings were constructed for the first time by Unit personnel. The Unit won the Inter Unit Badminton Championship for the first time and Corporal Vinasathamby won the Army Badminton individual Championship.