The Gemunu Watch

Tarry Not Forward

3rd Volunteer Battalion of the Gemunu Watch

The origin of 3rd (Vol) Bn the Gemunu Watch is the Ruhunu Regiment established at historical Matara Dutch Fort in 1950. The then government after real-izing the requirement of having a military unit in Ruhuna, established a volunteer unit by the name of Ruhunu Regiment. The first Commanding Officer of the unit was Lt Col CA Dharmapala. In 1956 the Ruhunu Regiment was disbanded and officers comprising of 04 with 182 other ranks were absorbed into the unit, 3rd (Vol) Bn the Gemunu Watch was established on 1st September 1965. The 1st Commanding Officer of 3rd (Vol) Bn the Gemunu Watch was a son of Ruhuna called Lt Col CA Dharmapala who was commanding the disbanded Ruhunu Regiment. He was the Chief Security Officer of Ratmalana Air Port during the 2nd World War.

Lt Col CA Dharmapala OBE ED commanded the unit from 1965 to 1969. With the limited resources, he managed to develop the unit even by spending his own money. He was a popular sportsman and well known social worker who headed many organizations as a person who rendered much service to Ruhuna. He was made the Defence Secretary and later as Defence Adviser to HE the President. Although he is no more, he is still remembered with gratitude and honour as the founder Commanding Officer of the battalion. In 1965 as a volunteer unit, this battalion performed duties in the North, engaged in the act of preventing illicit immigration and contraband goods entering

the country, up to 1973 keeping a record of earning the maximum amount of revenue for the government beating regular and other volunteer units. In 1971, during insurgency, this unit maintained security from Matara to Hambanthota and cleared the whole of Sinharaja forest of insurgents. This Unit actively participated in the 1976 Non Aligned Summit by providing 03 officers and 75 other ranks for security purpose. 03 officers as Liaison officers for Heads of States and 03 Aassistance Liaison Officers from this unit participated in the Non Aligned Summit which should be specially mentioned.

The unit that served the Southern Province from the inception was deployed in 1990 under the Divisional Commander Jaffna at Palaly in order to actively participate in “Operation Jayashakthi” under the command of Lt Colonel K Amarasinghe. After that since 1992 for 12 long years this unit performed operational duties in Mannar. Again in 2004 this unit was deployed under Security Force Headquarters Jaffna, under command to 52 Division serving at Velvetithurai, Thonda-mannar and under 55 Division at Pallai on operational duties. With the ending of operations, the unit was again deployed in Mannar in 2010 at the Dutch Fort.

In appreciation of the service rendered by 3rd (Vol) Bn the Gemunu Watch, the awarding of the President's Colours and Unit Colours by his Excellency the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka took place in the historical city of Galle on 15th August 1980, which is hereby recorded with humble pride. This occasion brought honour not only to 3rd (Vol) Bn the Gemunu Watch but for the Army and entire Ruhuna. During the occasion Lt Col BA Perera as Commanding Officer of the unit, Major Weththasinghe as the Second in Command, Capt VS Botheju as Adjutant and WO I BPG Punchihewa were present. In addition to them for the Colour Awarding Ceremony 06 officers and 120 other ranks from each unit of Gemunu Regiment were present. The Parade was made more colourful by having three white horses galloping with the troops reminding of the art of war according to old Sinhala traditions.

Former Commanding Officers:

Srl No Rank Name From To
1 Lt Col CA  Dharmapala  OBE ED 01.09.1965 04.08.1968
2 Lt Col CA  Dharmasena 05.08.1968 10.04.1971
3 Maj EAA De S  Senarathne 11.04.1971 01.12.1971
4 Lt Col KJTN  Gunawardena  SLSR  01.12.1971 17.07.1972
5 Lt Col EG  Thevanayagam SLSR 18.07.1972 30.03.1976
6 Lt Col H  Wanasinghe  SLA 30.03.1976 01.12.1977
7 Lt Col BA  Perera 01.12.1977 31.07.1981
8 Lt Col U  Wetthasinghe 01.08.1981 15.01.1985
9 Lt Col PV  Pathirana  KSV 15.01.1985 15.05.1987
10 Lt Col SD  Lankadeva  KSV 15.05.1987 26.02.1988
11 Lt Col PV  Pathirana  KSV 27.02.1988 12.05.1989
12 Lt Col K  Amarasinghe 12.05.1989 01.09.1991
13 Lt Col M  Suriyaarachchi  KSV 01.09.1991 07.04.1997
14 Maj RLG  Dharmawickrama 07.04.1997 06.10.1999
15 Lt Col APGM  Wijayathilake  06.10.1999 15.05.2002
16 Lt Col WMMK  Walpita 15 .05.2002 06.04.2006
17 Lt Col CMMSJ  Silva 08.06.2006 01.05.2009
18 Lt Col MK Thusara 01.05.2009 02.10.2014
19 Maj JWK Gamage 03.10.2014 22.12.2015
20 Maj YMJ Gnanadara  23.12.2015 28.02.2019
21 Maj WAKU Chandika  28.02.2019 Up to Date

The first 2nd in Command of the unit was Major CA Dharmasena (1967 to 1968), after that 22 officers had held the appointment before. The first Adjutant was Capt P Paksheweera ( 1st October 1965 to 15th February 1968). Since then 24 × Adjutants have served the unit. Up to now, 14 × Regimental Sergeant Majors have served the unit and the1st RSM was WO I MNM Ebrahim ( 15.12.1967 to 05.12.1971 )

The members of this unit who fought for the unity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka in operations against terrorism such as Vadamarachchi, Jayashakthi, Bal-awegaya and Green Belt, Edibala I & II, Ranagosa IV are remembered with gratitude.

Just as His Excellency the President Awarded Colours, in appreciation of services rendered by the unit from the inception, HE the President Re - awarded Colours to the unit in appreciation of the services rendered by the unit for protecting the unity and sovereignty of the nation.