HISTORY OF AIR FORCE BASE CHINA BAY


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     The runway at China Bay was established in early 1930s by the British who were ruling Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at that time. In Mach 1942 Royal Air Force was established in China Bay with the following aircraft squadrons.
          
            a. Hurricanes
            b. Spitfires
            c. Catalinas


Cinema Hall used during RAF days

Air Display-Air Force Day 1969

    On 08th April 1942 the Trincomalee Harbour and the Air Base were attacked by the Japanese fleet.  Several Japanese aircraft were destroyed during this attack.

     In the year 1944, during the   World War II, the British used the runway at China Bay to re-capture Malaya.  A large fleet of B-29 bombers flew into China Bay.  On completion of the mission they returned to China Bay on their onward journey to Britain.

     Though Sir Lanka won independence in 1948, until Nov 1957 all Military Bases were commanded by  the British.  The control of China Bay airfield was taken over by the RCyAF in November 1957 as part of the agreement reached between Britain and Ceylon.

Vist of Apollo 11 Astronauts

Bambara House
     In December 1958, the first  serious  accident in the history of aviation in Ceylon occurred when three officers and two other ranks , crashed into oil tanks in Trincomalee on take-off killing Flt.Lt. Vartharasa,  the pilot of the ill-fated aircraft, Flt.Lt. AGM Shilbey, an engineering officer, Major Hacker of the British Army , Sgt Guy and Lac Peiris.
    For the very first time a Sri Lankan (Flt Lt DBS Weerarathne) was appointed on 03rd April 1961 as the Station Commander  of RCyAF China Bay. In May 1971 Royal Ceylon Air Force China Bay was re-structured as RCyAF Base and was re-named as SLAF Base China Bay in May 1972.

Opening of Air Force Academy 1976

Opening Of Gymnasium
      Sri Lanka Air Force Base China Bay was converted and restructured as the Air Force Academy and this was declared opened by then Honourable Prime Minister Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike on 06th March 1976.  With the re-structuring, No 01 Flying Training Wing and the specialized ground training school  were established under command of a Commandant.
    
     Taking into consideration the situation of the country and the requirement of Marine Patrolling, in January 1987 SLAF Academy Cby was restructured as an Air Base with individual formations placed under the command of the Base.

 

Sri Lanka Air Force