Jan 18, Colombo: The first Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF), Air Chief Marshal Pathman Hariprasadha Mendis has passed away this morning (18), the Air Force announced.
The Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana and all members of Air Force have expressed the deepest sympathies on the demise of Air Chief Marshal PH Mendis (Retd).
Air Chief Marshal Pathman Hariprasadha Mendis (Retd) popularly known as “Paddy Mendis” was born on the 24th of January 1933. He joined the newly formed Royal Ceylon Air Force as its fifth recruit on the 8th of August 1951.
After enlistment, then Officer Cadet Mendis was sent to Britain for training at the prestigious Royal Air Force College in Cranwell. In 1959, then Flight Lieutenant Mendis was sent to the RAF Central Flying School to be trained as Flying Instructors at RAF Little Rissington in Gloucestershire. He was the first Ceylonese to be trained as a Qualified Flying Instructor.
Air Chief Marshal Mendis made steady progression through the ranks of Pilot Officer to Air Commodore and was appointed as the 4th Commander of the Royal Ceylon Air Force on the 1st of January 1971.
With Ceylon becoming a Republic in 1972, the Royal Ceylon Air Force changed its name to the Sri Lanka Air Force along with its entire insignia and Air Vice Marshal PH Mendis became the first commander of Sri Lanka Air Force.
Under the directives of the Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, a special Felicitation Ceremony was held on 01 January 2021 for late Air Chief Marshal PH Mendis (Retd) at the Air Force Museum at SLAF Base Ratmalana on the 50th anniversary of assuming office as the Commander.
The remains of Late Air Chief Marshal PH Mendis (Retd) lie at the Mahinda Funeral Parlor, No.591, Gall Road, Mount Lavinia. The last rites of will be held at 2 pm tomorrow (19 January 2022) with full military honours at the ‘Nisala Sewana’ Cemetery in Dehiwala – Mount Lavinia.