Sri Lanka Engineers

The Sri Lanka Engineers (SLE) is a combat support arm of the Sri Lanka Army which provides military engineering. It is made up of ten regular regiments and one volunteer regiment. Headquartered at Panagoda Cantonment, it is headed by the Centre Commandant.

Sri Lanka Engineers
Active1911 – Present
Country Sri Lanka
Branch Sri Lanka Army
TypeEngineering Regiment
RoleMilitary engineering,
Combat engineering
Size10 regular regiments,
1 volunteer regiment
Regimental CentrePanagoda Cantonment
Motto(s)"Ubique" Latin – (Everywhere)
EngagementsWorld War I
World War II
1971 Insurrection
Insurrection 1987-89
Sri Lankan Civil War
Decorations1 Weerodara Vibhushanaya,
2 Weera Wickrama Vibhushanaya
Centre CommandantBrigadier M Mayadunna RSP USP
Colonel-CommandantMajor General AN Amarasekara USP ndu
General Denis Perera VSV
Brigadier P. D. Ramayanayake

The corps provides combat engineering, construction and other technical support to the Sri Lankan Army and civil authorities. The corps' key roles are mobility and counter mobility. That is providing mobility to friendly forces while denying movement to enemy forces. Engineers are able to conduct tasks including penetrating minefields, locating and disarming booby traps, purifying water and building roads and bridges to maintain lines of communications.


SLE Demining Unit on Victory Day Parade
SLE Military Bulldozer
SLE Demining Unit on Victory Day Parade
SLE Bomb Disposal Unit on Victory Day Parade

Formation and World WarsEdit

The Ceylon Engineers was formed in 1911 as part of the Ceylon Defence Force, following the transfer of Royal Engineers units from Ceylon. Duties of this unit were to the coastal searchlight and signal works. The unit was made up only of Europeans at its inception, mostly volunteers who had transferred from the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps. Its first commanding officer was Captain T. H. Chapman who held the post of Director of Public Works in government service. The Ceylon Engineers were mobilized during World War I and demobilized at its conclusion.

After the war, the Commander of the Ceylon Defence Force, in consultation with the GOC Ceylon, recommended that the members of the Burgher community who were enlisted to the Colombo Town Guard be invited to replace the Ceylon Engineers which was to be disbanded by 31 December 1926. This proposal was accepted and the reconstituted Ceylon Engineer Corps was raised on 1 January 1927. Personnel for the reconstituted unit were individually re-enlisted and a strength of 11 officers and 144 Other Ranks was recorded. This attracted the attention of two prominent members of the Legislative Council, D. S. Senanayake and E. W. Perera, who raised the question as to why there should be racial[clarification needed] military units in the Island. In 1928 the Committee set up by the Governor of Ceylon to inquire into this question, proposed in their report that the Ceylon Engineer Corps shall comprise British subjects of good character and respectability. From then onwards, the Ceylon Engineer Corps was open to all Ceylonese. The Corps was to comprise two Companies of Field Engineers (for combat engineering), two Companies of Fortress Engineers (to man defence lights and engines) and one Company of Signalers. In 1939 the Corps was mobilized for World War II and in 1943 a second signal company was raised. These formed Ceylon Signals Corps.

Post IndependenceEdit

With the establishment of the Ceylon Army after independence, the 1st Field Squadron was formed in 1951 under the command of Major (later Brigadier) Douglas Ramanayake. This became the core of a new Ceylon Engineers which was formed in 1957, with the regimental headquarters permanently located at the Panagoda Cantonment. A military engineering unit was set up in May 1958 at Konduwattuan Camp in Ampara, this school was moved several times before been located at Thunkama in Embilipitiya where it is today. In 1959, the 1st Field Engineer Squadron became the 1st Field Engineer Regiment. The Volunteer counterpart of the ‘Sappers', the 4th Development and Construction Engineers Regiment was raised in 1964, replacing 2nd (V) Field/Plant Regiment, which was disbanded in 1962 after the attempted military coup that year which involved some of its officers.

In the recent years, the Corps of Sri Lanka Engineers have been deployed in many parts of the country in support of military operations against terrorists. Since its conception in 1951 the corps has taken part in many development projects carried out in Sri Lanka by the government and has assisted during several natural disasters.


Sri Lanka Engineers Demining Unit


  • Engineering Division
    • Field Engineer Brigade
    • Plant Engineer Brigade
    • General Engineering Brigade

Regular ArmyEdit

  • 1st Field Engineer Regiment [1]
  • 5th Field Engineer Regiment SLE
  • 6th Field Engineer Regiment SLE
  • 7th Field Engineer Regiment SLE
  • 8th Field Engineer Regiment SLE
  • 9th Field Engineer Regiment SLE
  • 10th Field Engineer Regiment SLE
  • 11th Field Engineer Regiment SLE
  • 12th Field Engineer Regiment SLE
  • 14 CBRN Regiment SLE
  • 16 Workshop Regiment
  • Sri Lanka School of Military Engineering[2]
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron

Volunteer RegimentsEdit

  • 4th(Volunteer) Field Engineer Regiment SLE
  • 15th(Volunteer) Field Engineer Regiment SLE

Notable membersEdit


Order of precedenceEdit

Preceded by Order of Precedence Succeeded by

See alsoEdit


External links and sourcesEdit