Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment

Swift & Bold

6th Battalion of the Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment

Lieutenant Colonel HR Stephan and soldiers at Vasuvilan

LTTE terrorists continued their relentless attacks on a daily basis with the aim of occupying the camp in the Jaffna Fort. This resulted in the camp being totally cut-off and prevented the regular supplies of food, arms and ammunitions as well as any form of medical assistance reaching the camp. The only form of supply of food and other requirements were through the limited number of airdrops carried out by Air force helicopters. However, with all the difficulties and the lack of resources the personnel successfully defended the camp. On 18th November 1990 the troops involved in 'Operation Trivida Balaya' rescued those that were trapped with the Fort. At the time of the siege of the Jaffna Fort on 3rd July the Air force carried out 'Operation Eagle' and evacuated several personnel who were injured and also delivered to the camp, an officer, a medical team with medical supplies and munitions. Those transported to the camp were Captain PJJ Fernando and five others, who disregarding the dangers to their lives and the possibility of their being trapped inside without a chance of escaping came forward to serve their brothersin need. This, at the time was one of the fiercest attacks to have been launched by the enemy against an Army position and it was through sheer will power and heroism that a small contingent of 2 officers and 63 soldiers successfully defended their position. The 6 soldiers who died during this period were buried within the premises of the Jaffna Fort.

Commencing 14th June 1990 the terrorists surrounded and continuously attacked the Kilinochchi Camp using all possible resources they had. The officers and soldiers of the battalion were able to defend their camp without allowing it to fall into enemy's hands until they were rescued in the 'Operation Gajasinghe' they were later transferred to Elephant pass Camp. The battalion lost soldiers in the battle.

At the time, part of the cement factory at Kankesanthurai (KKS) was used to store explosives of the Army. Approximately 5000 Kgs of gelignite and 15000 electronic detonators were in stock at the store when the LTTE encircled and besieged the complex with the aim of looting the stock. The defence of the stores and the safety of the army personnel now trapped within the complex was a matter of great concern as the running over of the position by the LTTE seemed imminent. Major PLU Buddhadasa of this battalion volunteered to carry out a rescue mission and did so on the night of 27th June 1990 along with a team of one officer and nine soldiers. The group stormed through the LTTE's positions, rescued the personnel who until then been trapped, destroyed the stock of explosives and safely returned to their base carrying the body of S/33077 Corporal Jayalal KP who was killed in the attack.

In December 1990 Lieutenant Colonel DK Podimaththaya temporarily took over command of the Battalion as Lieutenant Colonel HR Stephen proceeded abroad on a course of study. On his return, Lieutenant Colonel HR Stephen resumed command of the battalion.

In December 1990 the entire Battalion was deployed in Elephant Pass.

On 28th December 1991 Major SG Karunarathne took over the command of the Battalion.

On 27th April 1991 an operation was aiming to expand the area of the Elephant Pass Camp. The move by the Army was fiercely contested by the enemy which resulted in the Battalion loosing (killed) an officer, namely Captain JPRWK Jayakody, and 27 other rankers while an officer and 52 other rankers sustained injuries.

Corporal Gamini Kularathna

On 10th July 1991 at approximately 4.20 in the morning the LTTE commenced attacking Elephant Pass. The Camp being isolated with no land route connection with the rest of the army dominated areas, and the fact that Elephant Pass was completely open country the enemy adopted conventional tactics in it attack. During the night on 11th July, the terrorists approached the Camp with tractors and bulldozers modified with thick steel plates welded on to them to give it protection from any explosive projectiles hitting the vehicles. The troops of the Battalion successfully repulsed the attacks. The night of 13th July once again the terrorists attempted to break through the camps perimeter utilizing the modified bulldozers. Sensing an imminent enemy break through, S/34553 Corporal Gamini Kularathna approached a bulldozer and tossed a hand grenade into it destroying the vehicle. Unfortunately the Battalion lost him as he too was killed in the incident.