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Ananda College - traditional birthplace of freedom fighters

On this historic occasion of felicitating the patriotic heroes of the defence Forces who have rid the country of terrorism, it is opportune to trace the historical growth of Ananda cadet corps.

Cadetting was introduced to Sri Lanka during the beginning of the 20th century, and almost during this period, Mr. Fritz Kunz who was the Principal of Ananda College took some positive steps to introduce cadetting to Ananda College. But there was a confrontation from the Old Boys and parents, that cadetting should not be introduced to Ananda College as she is a Buddhist oriented school.

P.De.S. Kularatne successor to Mr. Fritz Kunz, was able to convince the old boys & parents that the introduction of cadetting, which will be the breeding place of future soldiers do not mean preparation for a war: but to be in readiness to face any form of aggression either from a foreign power or a disgruntled group of terrorists.

His view was it should be the bounden duty of Anandians to fight for freedom and defend the country, her sovereignty and the people. He further convinced the parents and old boys by tracing the past history-the war between Dutugamunu & Elara and the ultimate defeat of Dravida rule from the country. Kularatne was successful and in 1920 the first cadet corps was formed in the school with a Senior and a Junior Platoon. During a very short period of time, the enthusiasm of students to join the cadet corps was kindled by the veteran teachers like Capt. Gunasekara, Mr. D.L. Edissuriya, Mr. B.I. Perera and Mr. B. Wijemanna. The principals who led the Anandian Cadets were Lt. Col. E.A. Perusinghe (1964-1969), Col. G.W. Rajapaksa (Commanding Officer of the Ananda Cadet Corps) and Col. V.S. Kudaligama (Deputy Director of Cadets 1982-1987).

In the year 1928, Ananda Cadet corps became the best and won the Herman Loos Challenge Cup. Ananda Cadet Corps was the first school to win the Governor General's Challenge Cup in 1927. They were able to beat all schools and also the regular Army as well. In 1934 again they won the Herman Loos Challenge Cup. In 1950 Ananda cadets displayed their skills, competence and talents at the Diyatalawa Rifle Camp and there after in Hunupitiya at the Special Rifle Camp. In 1958 the Junior Cadet Corps won the C.L.I.Challenge Cup. They were able to win the Herman Loos Challenge Cup eighteen times during the period 1928-2002.

In the year 1972 Police Corps was formed in the school. By 1975 the Ananda Cadets have taken great strides ahead and had become unbeatable.

So much so, they won the Inspector General's Challenge Trophy, for the best all round platoon. Mr. Kularatne took the initiative to promote cadetting by organizing training camps and Educational Seminars. That was the beginning of an era during which period more and more schools followed Ananda and formed their own Cadet Corps.

Ananda Cadets proved successful in Rifle Shooting. In 1961 they won the C.P.R.A. Shield at the Rifle shooting held at Hunupitiya. The scores were, Ananda (C) Team 109 points, Ananda (A) team 106, Ananda (B) team 95 and Royal 93. Thereafter, they won the C.R.A. Shield beating all other schools. The points obtained were, Ananda (A) 825 points, Sahira 789, Royal (A) team 684, St. Peters 636, Ananda (B) team 630, St. Thomas's 592 and Royal (B) team 418. In 1934 they won the All Ceylon Rifle Shooting Shield. The young Anandians who excelled themselves in cadetting later became the first few to join the Sri Lanka Army and reach the highest ranks.

They are Major General C.A.M.N. Silva, Major General Asoka Jayawardana and Major General Hamilton Wanasinghe, Major General Rohan Daluwatta and Major General Lionel Balagalla. During the passage of over a century, Ananda was in the forefront of producing generations of young Anandians for the Defence Forces of the country.

During the unfortunate period of LTTE war waged against the State, thousands of young Anandians had to make the Supreme Sacrifice in defending the country. The whole nation is indebted to these young Anandians who had shed their lives at the prime of their life.

Ananda is proud that she had produced heroic soldiers of the calibre of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (Secretary of Defence), General Sarath Fonseka (Commander of the Sri Lanka Army), Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda (Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy) and Director General of the Civil Defence Department Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara and many others holding the highest ranks in the Defence Forces.

Ananda is in the process of expanding her cadet contingent. Now she is fully equipped with Army, Navy and Air Force Cadet Corps. These Cadet Corps have qualified to participate in the Herman Loos Challenge Trophy which is due to be held in September 2009.

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