In memory of a great gentleman soldier
Posted on August 7th, 2015

RANJITH SOYSA

It was on 8th of August, 1992 – 22 years ago- the Lt Gen Denzil Kobbekaduwa;was lost to the Nation as result of a remote controlled land mine at Arali in Jaffna while planning for Operation Countdown to wrest the control of peninsula.

He joined the Army in May 1960 as an officer Cadet at the age of 20 years and entered the Sandhurst Military Academy for officer training. He assumed duties in Sri Lanka Armoured Corps He was sent on a compulsory leave following allegations of attempted coup d’etat in 1966 .but, was recalled to the service as a Major having cleared of all charges in 1970.He then functioned in Jaffna as a senior member involved in combating illicit immigration of Indian Tamils under the Ta FAII operations. Subsequently, he was transferred to the Army HQ and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier in mid 1980s and became one of the most important army officers to activate the countering of terrorist operations of the LTTE.

His fight against the LTTE commenced when he successfully cleared the Eastern region and halted the expansion of the LTTE. Then he was moved to Jaffna where he skilfully managed the Operation Liberation also popularly known as Vadamarachchi Operation. The operation had 8000 armed personnel with 3 brigades and commenced in May 1987. After clearing a large area of land and when the forces were on the verge of capturing the LTTE chief Prabahkaran India invaded Sri Lankan skies and the President J.R.Jayawradene terminated the Vadamarchchi operations providing space for the LTTE to subsequently to re-gather and revamp its killing machine,

Among the other notable operations carried out under the valiant leadership of Major General Denzil Kobbekaduwa were Operation Gajasinghe and Operation Balvegaya

He was well loved by the army men and women as he was a gentleman to his finger tips and as he spent timer looking after the welfare of the cadres and into their grievances. He always exerted his efforts to win the hearts and minds of the people who were liberated from the enemy and very often skilfully dragged the war front away from the centres of population to minimize the destabilization of civilians. He involved himself with the civil co-ordinators in fulfilling the expectations of the ordinary citizens with regard to the provision of food, health requirements and educational needs while helping to improve the irrigation facilities and roads.

He flew to Karinagar Navel base on 7th August 1992  and was planning the offensive under Operation Balavegya with Brigadier Vijaya Wimalaratne and Commodore Mohan Jayamaha and decided to visit Araly point the following day. On 8th of August 1992 Major Gen Kobbekaduwa and other officers got into a vehicle to avoid enemy fire and conferred at Araly Point. While returning a land mine exploded and a number of officers including the Brigadier Vijaya Wimalartne was killed on the spot. Major General Denzil Kebbekaduwa died while receiving medical treatment at Colombo General Hospital on 8th August 1992.

He was posthumously promoted to the Lt General rank and awarded the Visista Seva Vibhusnaya and Rana Sura medals.

At a time when the demand for separatism is gaining ground slowly but surely, the Sri Lankans should strive to learn from the legacy left by late Lt General Denzil Kobbekaduwa to function as a stealth counterweight to all divisions.

3 Responses to “In memory of a great gentleman soldier”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    What a great loss to the Nation of Lanka !
    How many able and true men have died since Independence (1948) for no good reasons.

    To be blamed : some 500 yrs of Colonisation leaving behind politics of foreign countries, churches, foreign funded NGOs. Cold War politics. Tamil Caste wars. JVP uprisings & some 30 yrs of the LTTE. Internal weaknesses within the country.

    Let this mad phase stop now ! Lankans, wake up.

  2. purohithaa Says:

    Fran Diaz you are dead right! In this latest election campaign to date over thousands have died killing each other just for supporting the party they believe so much! What a waste of life! The Asian voters in this respect are an ignorant lot to die for wrong reasons. The leaders of the parties should have the decency to request the populace not to kill each other just for the sake of the party politics, look at the Western elections the people silently cast their vote, occasionally a killing related to the election may be reported that’s a rare occurrence. Casting the vote at the election is very important as it decides who to govern the country, wrong choice will definitely bring disaster to the country but sacrificing one’s life is not worth!

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    purohithaa,

    You say “In this latest election campaign to date over thousands have died killling each other just for supporting the party they believe so much !”.

    This statement is not correct.

    However, it is correct to state that that thousands have died SINCE INDEPENDENCE (1948) due to political ideology. JVP uprisings were put down mercilessly (without talks) first by Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s leftist government in the 1970s and again by Pres Premadasa’s govt in the late 1980s.
    The LTTE was removed due to terrorism and violent Separatist ideology.

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