Sri Lanka Army Womens Corps

The powerful Mind is the strongest weapon

History Of 1 SLAWC

Under the guidance of the then Commander of the Army General JED Perera VSV psc ndc SBIM, a Corps of women was formed to render an unstinted contribution towards the war effort made by their male counterparts in the Army. Assistance of Lieutenant Colonel KJ Grapes; Women Royal Army Corps, Major Smith (QHRKL) Major Johnston; Women Royal Army Corps, from the Army Auxiliary office of the United Kingdom to conduct a feasibility study on forming a Women’s Corps in the Sri Lanka Army, as a result of which the Sri Lanka Army Women's Corps was formed on 14.09.1979. Brigadier AW Thambirajah was the first Commanding Officer of the Corps. Women’s Corps was formed as a Regular unit in the Army and was designated as 1 SLAWC.

Lady Officer Cadets KC Jayaweera, MP Wijegunawardena and VP Senevitathna were the first 3 Lady Cadet Officers who were recruited to the Womens Corps in November 1979, and were given a training of 8 months at the Royal Army Training Institute in Camberly, UK. They came back to the island after completing their training successfully in August 1979.

In order to commence duties and activities of Womens Corps, a group of Instructors comprised of Major JL Lawson RAWC, Major JFM Whitehead and Staff Sergeant PN Phillips have arrived in the country. On the 16th October 1980, 10 Non Commissioned Officers were recruited and were given the basic Army training at the Army Training School Diyathalawa. These Non Commissioned Officers passed out in November 1980. The 3 Officers and 10 Non Commissioned Officers participated at the Independence Day celebrations held at the Galle Face Green for the 1st time, in 1981, and Womens Corps has been a part of the countrys Independence celebrations ever since.

The first 10 Non Commissioned Officers are as follows :-

  • 1.Corporal Wilson MHKR
  • 2.Corporal Senathilake KD
  • 3.Corporal Ruberu YDTDKN
  • 4.Corporal Sherif Deen DS
  • 5.Corporal Munasinghe MADK
  • 6.Corporal Perera WATN
  • 7.Corporal Irangani AMK
  • 8.Corporal Palitha WMRT
  • 9.Corporal Sumithra HK
  • 10.Corporal Dadigama RW

On 8th March 1981, 45 female soldiers were recruited to the Army out of 130000 applicants and were given a basic training at Diyathalawa. Out of these 45 soldiers, 33 were chosen for clerical duties and 12 as exchange operators. The 2nd batch of soldiers who were recruited on 29.05.1981, passed out at Rondove grounds on the 08th August 1981. They were given training on clerical and signal duties in Colombo thereafter.

The visit of President JR Jayawardena and First Lady Mrs. Jayawardena to SLAWC Headquarters on 14.05.1982 was a significant moment to the Corps.

6 young ladies were recruited as the 3rd batch of Lady Officer Cadets on 18.11.1983, who were trained at the Sri Lanka Military Academy at Diyathalawa. These Lady Officer Cadets joined the history as the first batch of Officers to be trained in Sri Lanka, and were passed out on 18.08.1984. They are:-

  • 1. Second Lieutenant MHPS Silva
  • 2. Second Lieutenant MWCJK Kumari
  • 3. Second Lieutenant WWMG Perera
  • 4. Second Lieutenant KK Hathamuna
  • 5. Second Lieutenant SDB Lakshmi
  • 6. Second Lieutenant NGANR Munidasa