The former Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force, Air Chief Marshal PH Mendis (Retd), who passed away on Tuesday (Jan 18), was laid to rest with full military honours on Wednesday (Jan 19). According to Air Force media, the final rites were conducted at the ‘Nisala Sewana’ Cemetery in Dehiwala – Mount Lavinia.
Air Chief Marshal Pathman Hariprasadha Mendis (Retd) is the first Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force. Born 24th of January 1933 he joined the newly formed Royal Ceylon Air Force (RCyAF) as its fifth recruit in August 1951 and had undergone training in Britain. He was the first Ceylonese to be trained as a Qualified Flying Instructor.
Rising through the ranks he became the 4th Commander of the Royal Ceylon Air Force on the 1st of January 1971 and was also the first Ceylonese Officer to command the Royal Ceylon Air Force. Later when the country became a republic and the Royal Ceylon Air Force came to be known as the Sri Lanka Air Force, Air Chief Marshal PH Mendis became the first Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa paid his last respects to the late Air Chief Marshal Mendis, on Wednesday morning. Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Defence Secretary Gen. Kamal Gunaratne and Secretary to the Ministry of Public Security Maj. Gen. Jagath Alwis also paid last respects to the late former Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force.