The History of the Sri Lanka Army in the contemporary era dates back to 1881. The Citizens' Rifle Society was gazetted as the Lanka Volunteer Light Infantry. Lieutenant Colonel Jhon Scott Armtage was the first Commanding Officer. Subsequently more volunteer battalions were established in the Major cities of the country .
By 1910 Ceylon Light Infantry, Ceylon Artillery, Ceylon Mounted Rifles, Ceylon Planters Rifles, Ceylon Army Services, Ceylon Medical Units had been established. All units were brought under Ceylon Volunteer Force commandant in 1910 by an Act. This Volunteer Force was called for active service during WW I and WW II.
Native Officers were enrolled after the WW II. After the Independence on 4 February 1948. The Defense Force and the Ceylon Volunteer Force were established.
Ceylon Army was established by an Act passed on 10 October 1948. Steps were taken to established a regular force. The first regular unit; 1st Ceylon Light Infantry was raised on 12 May 1950. The Ceylon Volunteer Force was renamed as 2nd (Volunteer) Ceylon Light Infantry on the same day. The 1st Ceylon Sinha Regiment and 2nd (Volunteer) Sinha Regiment were opened at Diyathalawa on 1 October 1958. 1st Battalion Gamunu Watch was raised at Diyathalawa on 7 December 1962. After Ceylon became a Republic on 15 August 1972, Ceylon Army was renamed as Sri Lanka Army.
The 1st Battalion of the Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment was raised on 15 March 1981 at Irattaperiyakulam, VAVUNIYA. Lieutenant Colonel TRT Jayathunga was the first Commanding Officer. The Battalion was stationed at Minneriya during the first half of 1982. However, soldier of Rajarata Rifles on election duty was killed on 18 May 1983 and it led to a rioting situation in the battalion. Army headquarters decided to disband Rajarata Rifles and to amalgamate troops to1st Battalion Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment forming a new regiment. With the raising of 1st Battalion Gajaba Regiment on 14 October 1983. The Vijayabahu name was temporarily taken off from the books.
The 80's saw the rapid escalation of terrorism and more troops were required on the ground. The then Commander of the Army Lieutenant General H Wanasinghe VSV ndc recommender to His Excellency the President and obtained sanction to re raise the Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment. The approval was gazetted on 14 September 1988. 1st Battalion Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment was raised once again on 26 September 1988 at the Army Recruiting Office at Malay Street, COLOMBO under Lieutenant Colonel J Nammuni. Troops arrived from 1st , 2nd , 3rd and 4th Battalions of Sri Lanka Light Infantry, 1st , 4th , and 5th Gemunu Watch, 1st , 3rd and 4th Battalions of Gajaba Regiment, Engineer Services Regiment, 1st Sri Lanka Ordnance Crops and 1st Army General Service Crops. The Battalion was stationed at the Army Training School at Maduruoya. After battalion training the inauguration took place on 10 November 1988.
The Regiment Coat of Arms and flag were recreated with the changes to the previous models used in 1981. The Court of Arms; 'Danurdhara - The Archer' is a unique creation and not taken from mythology. A human torso is combined with the body of a lion to resemble the unique qualities of the Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment. The 'Archer' is ready with is bow drawn. The lion is in an attacking posture standing on its hind legs depict that The Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment is ready for battle always.
The flag of the regiment also has include with the Court of Arms. The maroon color on the flag resembles vigor and confidence. Green resembles bountifulness, fertility and life. Gold resembles wisdom and prosperity.
The 1st Battalion Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment was ambulated with the 4th Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment on 18 June 2000 and was de-amalgamated on 15 October 2001. The battalion is completing its 25th years in 2013. There had been 12 successive Commanding Officers. 21 Officers and 384 Other Ranks have laid down their lives and 17 Officers and 589 Other Ranks had become differently able.