Royal People

A dedication to those wonderful people who served Royal Primary School & Royal College, in Sri Lanka, since 1835, and, who will be remembered for their committment, sincerety and unselfishness.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Harry Goonatileke

Air Vice-Marshal W.D. Harry Goonetileke ndc, psc was the fifth Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force from 1st November 1976 to 30th April 1981.

Educated at Royal College, Colombo, Harry Goonetileke joined the Air Force as a Flight Cadet in 1951 in the first batch of locally trained recruits.

He received his flight training in the Chipmunk and Balliol aircraft and earning his Wings in 1954, and 4 years later in 1958 was promoted to Squadron Leader. He was one the members of a team that flew to UK and back ferrying the RCyAF's new de Havilland Heron aircraft to Ceylon. His commands included Commanding Officer No. 2 Squadron and Commanding Officer of China Bay , with responsibility for the Cadet training there. In 1962 he became Station Commander and after further training at Staff College, Wellington he was appointed Director of Operations with responsibility for all flying and ground operations in the Force. Harry Goonetilek saw action during the 1971 Insurrection. He also began the archival process that led in later years to the formation of the SLAF Museum and contributed greatly to SLAF sports particularly Rugby Football.

In 1955 he married Marian Perera and had two sons and two daughters. Both his sons joined the Sri Lanka Air Force, his eldest son Air Marshal Roshan Goonatilake is the current Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force, his younger son Group Captain Shirantha Goonatilake RWP,RSP, SLAF was killed in 1995 when the plane he was piloting was shot down by a SAM.


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