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Sri Lanka IconsThe Right Honourable General Sir John Lionel Kotelawala, CH, KBE, LLD is perhaps best known as a former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. Erect and soldierly in his bearing, ‘Sir John’ as he was affectionately known was undoubtedly one of the most colourful personalities of his time.

Always frank and outspoken, Sir John never hesitated to call a spade a spade. He always enjoyed a good story even at his own expense. Anecdotes about his wit and rollicking sense of humour are told and retold to this day.

Beneath his tough exterior, Sir John was a kind hearted and a generous statesman, who made numerous friends among a variety of people. Kandawala with its magnificent mansion and sprawling acres was the home of Sir John for well over five decades.

Being a soldier himself, he had a great regard for the military. In a final gesture of philanthropy and realizing the need for a well-disciplined national security system, Sir John took the decision to bequeath his property to the nation for the establishment of a much-needed Defence Academy.

The General Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy is surely a fitting monument that stands as testimony to the character, patriotism and statesmanship of the great son of Sri Lanka who held the position of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence from October 12, 1953 to April 11, 1956. (More…)

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