In a solemn moment for Sri Lanka, Retired General Lionel Balagalle, the former Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and Chief of Defence Staff, passed away at the age of 75. His life and career were marked by unwavering dedication, exceptional service, and numerous accolades that have left an indelible mark on the nation’s military history. In this article, we pay tribute to this iconic figure, his illustrious career, and the impact he made on Sri Lanka.
Gen. Balagalle Passes Away
The passing of General (Retd.) Lionel Balagalle is a significant and solemn moment in Sri Lanka. At the age of 75, he has left behind a profound legacy that has made a lasting impact on the country’s military history. General Balagalle’s career was characterized by unwavering dedication and a commitment to excellence, qualities that will be remembered for generations to come.
In recognition of his exceptional service, a funeral with full military honors has been scheduled for October 28, 2023, at the General Cemetery Borella crematorium. This tribute highlights the deep respect and gratitude the nation holds for his contributions. General Balagalle’s legacy is one that has left an indelible mark on Sri Lanka’s military landscape, marking the end of an era in the country’s armed forces. His memory will endure as a symbol of honor and dedication.
Who was Gen. Balagalle?
General Lionel Balagalle was a highly respected Sri Lankan army general who served as the 16th Commander of the Sri Lanka Army from 2000 to 2004. His historic appointment as the Chief of Defence Staff in October 2003 marked a significant milestone in the country’s military leadership, as he became the first serving commander to hold this role.
His journey in the military began in 1965 when he enlisted as an Officer Cadet, and he steadily rose through the ranks to achieve the prestigious position of General. Throughout his illustrious career, General Balagalle received numerous awards and honors, recognizing his unwavering dedication and service to his nation. His contributions to the Sri Lankan military will be remembered as a testament to his commitment and leadership.
|Name:||General Lionel Piyananda Balagalle|
|Date of Birth:||1947|
|Place of Birth:||Colombo, British Ceylon|
|Date of Passing:||26 October 2023|
|Service/Branch:||Sri Lanka Army|
|Years of Service:||1967–2005|
Gen. Balagalle Age
General Lionel Balagalle, at the age of 75, bid farewell on October 26, 2023. His life journey, characterized by unwavering commitment and leadership, serves as an inspiration for those who follow in his footsteps. His passing is a reminder of the profound impact one individual can have on their country’s military history, regardless of age.
Gen. Balagalle Career
General Lionel Balagalle’s military journey is defined by a series of remarkable accomplishments. He embarked on his path in 1965, entering the Sri Lanka Army as an Officer Cadet. Two years later, in 1967, he was commissioned as a second Lieutenant, marking the commencement of an illustrious career. He was initially assigned to the 4th Regiment, Sri Lanka Artillery, where he began his service to the nation.
A pivotal moment in General Balagalle’s career occurred when he assumed the role of the 16th Commander of the Army in August 2000. However, his significance in military history reached a historic peak when he was appointed as the Chief of Defence Staff in October 2003. This appointment was groundbreaking, as it was the first instance in Sri Lanka’s military history that a serving commander held this prestigious position.
Throughout his dedicated service, General Balagalle was honored with several awards, including the esteemed Rana Wickrema Padakkama (RWP) and Rana Soora Padakkama (RSP), among others, underscoring his exceptional contributions to his country.
Gen. Balagalle Family
General Lionel Balagalle’s personal life was a testament to love and family. He shared his life with his beloved wife, Gnana, and their union was blessed with three children. In a remarkable display of familial dedication, one of their sons, named Lakmal Balagalle, chose to follow in his father’s footsteps. He, too, embraced a path of service to their nation by becoming an artillery officer.
This decision not only reflects the family’s deep-rooted commitment to their country but also underscores the values that General Balagalle instilled, not only within his professional life but within the very heart of his family. The Balagalle family’s connection to the military and their dedication to serving Sri Lanka stand as a powerful tribute to General Balagalle’s legacy.
What Happened to Gen. Balagalle?
The passing of Gen. Balagalle was a result of a brief illness, which ultimately took his life while he was under medical care at the Colombo Army Hospital Narahenpita. At present, his remains are resting at No. 21/12 Samanala Road, Kotelawala, Kaduwela.
This location will serve as a place where friends, family, and fellow countrymen can pay their respects to a man whose life was marked by a remarkable commitment to his nation and its armed forces.
How Did Gen. Balagalle Die?
General Balagalle’s death was a result of a brief illness while he was receiving treatment at the Colombo Army Hospital Narahenpita. The exact details of his illness were not disclosed.
Gen. Balagalle Passes Away – FAQs
1. Who was Gen. Balagalle?
General Lionel Balagalle was a highly respected Sri Lankan army general who served as the 16th Commander of the Sri Lanka Army from 2000 to 2004.
2. When did General Lionel Balagalle pass away?
General Balagalle passed away on the 26th of October, 2023.
3. What was the significance of General Balagalle’s career in the military?
General Balagalle’s career was marked by significant achievements, including being the 16th Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and the first serving commander to become the Chief of Defence Staff.
4. How old was General Balagalle at the time of his passing?
General Balagalle was 75 years old when he passed away.
5. Did General Balagalle’s family have a military connection?
Yes, General Balagalle was married to his wife, Gnana, and they had three children, including a son named Lakmal Balagalle, who also served as an artillery officer in the military.
Remembering General Lionel Balagalle is an opportunity to pay tribute to a man whose life and career have left an indelible mark on Sri Lanka’s military history. His unwavering dedication, exceptional service, and groundbreaking achievements will be remembered for generations to come.