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Sampath Gunasekera

Historic Images Of Old Ceylon - Automotive And Otherwise

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Friends,

This is an e-mail I received from Mr. H. D. I. Anthony (Anthony Hettiarachchi) , a retired Senior Railway Guard of CGR, as a result of reading this thread & seen old photos.

Now he is at 78 and on the verge of publishing a book with his experience at CGR . Recently I had a chance to read few chapters at proof reading level and really amazing and interesting. I am waiting to see the final product soon which will be a historical document with some valuable illustrations.

I attached same e-mail as JEPGs, as otherwise it will be difficult to read Singhala words.

Enjoy this…..

---------------------------------------------------------------

Re historic images of Colomo

Hey Sampath,

This reply was delayed because my computer was out. It took some times to get it repaired. So I am sorry for the delay. Pardon me.

I was born in 1934. I can very clearly remember from the year 1940 onwards. That was the period of Second World War. Those days there were only propeller air crafts. To bomb a target the Japanese air crafts had to dive down until the craft was nearly about 100 ft from the ground level. Therefore to protect Fort Railway Station number of huge balloons, each about the size of double decker bus, each tied at end of a thick strong wire, were sent about 200 ft up round in that vicinity

By 1941 we were at Panadura. I was in grade 02. When we go to school we each had to have a round piece of wood about 10 cm long and 2cm diameter and a small cloth bag about the size of man’s hand filled with cotton, a small roll of bandage and a vial of some medicine which I can’t remember what. These two were hanging from our necks. Each house was compelled to dig a trench about six feet deep and two feet wide in front of each. Suddenly we heard a loud dronning sound “O…………….” from a sirent. If we were at school, whatever we were doing at that moment, we must throw everything and creep under the closest bench and sleep there face down. If at home we had to jump into the trench and lie down likewise. All the time each must hold hard the piece of wood with each’s teeth and remain there till the sirent is heard again.

Friendly aeroplanes were flying always. If you stand on Pandura beach you can see a huge rock far away close to the horizen. Planes were practicing to shoot keeping that rock as the target. So we used to call it “gd.Ü .,” . Immediately after such shooting practices we used to run to the beach. There we could get empty brass cartridges thrown away.

My father also joined the army. That was the railway platoon. Every weekend they had marching practices. Immediately after the practice they were given rations of food much more than what is necessary for consumption of our family. So we were helping our poor neighbors with residue.

General public were suffering with shortages of everything. Food ration given free from the cooperative boutiques for everyone for a coupon was hardly enough to exist three days. Many poor people in remote areas had no cloths. So they wrapped themselves in coarse jute fiber materials (mvx.= ).

No where we could buy cups and glasses. But empty bottles thrown away by soldiers were here and there. So do you know how people made glasses for them for drinking? You take an empty bottle and pour diesel oil up to the size of the glass you want. Then take an iron rod. Keep it in burning fire till it becomes red hot. Then immerse red hot iron rod in the fuel in the bottle. Then immediately the bottle get cracked right round the top of oil layer. Now you have a fine glass.

Special trains were often run with foreign soldiers. When such trains were passing we tiny fellows used to show “ V” made with index finger and middle finger. Then they threw coins to us.

There was an armoured special train also. Whole of that train was painted in army camouflage colours. The last vehicle of that train was a perfectly round platform with a huge revolvable aircraft destroyer gun.

Sometimes they stop a soldier transporting special train for day or two and have a temporary camp. Then they start cooking. We small fellows take plates and stand close to them. Then they served food to us before they got served themselves.

War was a suffering for many, but we enjoyed it.

I never forget the day 5th April 1942.

It was early morning. Cloudless blue sky was illuminated with rays of the sun just coming out of the horizon. All were engaged in their morning miscellaneous tasks. Suddenly our attention was drawn by an unusually heavy rumble of aeroplanes. All came out and looked at overhead sky. Do you know what did we see?. We were amazed. The aircrafts were so high their shining silvery aluminum bodies were of the size and shape of tennis balls. There were two squadrons each in the shape of V with point towards Colombo where they were heading and the back opening towards Galle the direction from where they were coming.

After about two hours we heard over the radio that Colombo habour was bombed by Japanese air crafts. The Kolonnawa oil installation tanks were camouflaged by potted plants so that from air crafts they saw a thick jungle there. So they bombed Kolonnawa Oil Installation. Do you know where the bomb fell - on lunatic asylum at Angoda.

Then most of the people migrated away from Colombo. My father’s two brothers who were living at Colombo Mutwal ( fudaor ) left to Ragama.

English administration expected the Japanese to bomb the Railway bridge over the Kelany River. So they had converted Enderamulla as a fully equipped railway locomotive shed.

War was a source of employment. Young boys were eager to join the English army. In that period we had a custom. If any male wear longs he must be able speak in English. Young boys from remote villages did not know any English. But they were recruited to the army. So people used to say they did marching practice not to usual “Left Right ” but to the command of “f,akaiq ll=, kslx ll=,” .

There was an old beggar. He used to dance at places where people gathered to get something. For his dance he had got a recital composed by himself. That recital was:-

8]“ il, nqcx fldg l,six

8]we|f.k ux hkafk fuoex

8]c¾uksh foi n,d”

This sarcastically reflected the general trend of the youth then.

Army trucks were tearing the streets very often. They were full with local soldiers. They were the authorities who ordered house dwellers to dig trenches, supervised them tooted the sirent and instructed people what to do. They visited schools and gave us lessons about the war and how to protect ourselves from bombs. They were in dark blue uniforms. They were known as ARP. I do not know what it actually meant. But they were popularly known as “ wfma rfÜ msiafid”

One day we visited our uncles at Ragama and were returning by train. Our train was stopped for a long time at Enderamulla. The reason was soldiers were engaged in shooting practices. Their shooting range was over the railway track. They were shooting from the over head bridge at Hunupitiya railway station. Their target was a hillock by the railway track close to Enderamulla. That hillock was known as “ gdlÜ lkao” .

Am I wasting your valuable time by reciting trash? Sorry sir. Pardon me. But you made me to forget myself by showing me old pictures of Colombo. There you tell even today you recount those old days when you walk from Pettah to Fort along the Main Street. You showed me not only tram cars but also tram car tickets which I myself was buying. You showed me pictures. I have none. But I have vivid memories fresh still in my head. So I tried to show you them.

They say “ fï jdikdjka; wfma msxj;a rg`” But not a single tram car or a single trolley bus was saved to show our children’s children. Not only that in railway there were grate engines and narrow gauge locomotives. All were sold for wasted iron.

Thank very much for wasting your valuable time.

You tell about the demolition of the wall of Colombo Fort. If you have any photographs of that wall or its demolition, please show me them. I know a folk verse about the wall:

“ fld<U fldgqj fldgq fodrlv ókÉÖ

8]WUj n,kakg tk fldg ? fjÉÖ

8]WUg f.kd leg iQlsß Èh fjÉÖ

8]wog msKg fodr wermka ókÉÖ ”

I remain,

With love,

H D I Anthony

5th Dec. 2012

page1hb.png

page2of.jpg

page3f.jpg

Edited by Sampath Gunasekera
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Sampath,

Can you pass our warm regards and thanks to Mr. Hettiarachchi. His writing style and vivid details is amazing! I could picture every single moment he narated with so much drama and excitement.

I'm not sure if he saw the images on this thread on his own or if someone downloaded it and showed it to him, but if it was the former I'm sure he can read our comments too!

Thank you Mr Hettiarachchi for your contribution, and I assure you, should you be able to key down your memories here, you will have a sizeable group of eager fans awaiting your words!

Warm Regards!

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Sampath,

Can you pass our warm regards and thanks to Mr. Hettiarachchi. His writing style and vivid details is amazing! I could picture every single moment he narated with so much drama and excitement.

I'm not sure if he saw the images on this thread on his own or if someone downloaded it and showed it to him, but if it was the former I'm sure he can read our comments too!

Thank you Mr Hettiarachchi for your contribution, and I assure you, should you be able to key down your memories here, you will have a sizeable group of eager fans awaiting your words!

Warm Regards!

Wachman,

Surely I will pass your regards to Mr.Hettiarachchi.

Also do my best to get him on Autolanka and share his valuable memories in this thread.

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Friends,

Correction

You may remember I posted a Diary page(1891) under the name of “Private Company owned trains” together with Railway schedules.

According to Mr. Anthony Hetttiarchchi, those are not private owned trains, they are Horse Carriages. There “Kochchi” means “Coach”.

Here I re-post the page and the description given by Mr.Hettiarachchi.

Thank you Mr.Hettiarchchi for correcting the point.

02privatetrains.jpg

anthoney1.jpg

anthoney2.jpg

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Thank you Sampath for the great info and thank you Mr Hettiarachchi if you are reading this for that glimpse of the past. Being an avid enthusiast of all things historical it was very nice to read through what you had written.

Im sure there will be many more people here who would love to hear more.

Edited by maliths

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Thank you Sampath and Mr. Hettiarachchi. This is a very valuable and important information. I was a lover of the History of the Sri Lanka in my teenage. This thread revoke me again. Thanks a lot and waiting for more.

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Thanks all for your comments.

If you need, you can contact Mr.Anthony Hettiarchchi though e-mail.

His e-mail address is [email protected]

Additionally to the description on 2nd World War by Mr.Hettiarachchi, I found following two posters belong to same period.

Thank you Ceylon - Wartime aid poster printed by the British Government - 1943

Original Source: Facebook - Old Ceylon

1943o.jpg

WW II Warning Poster printed by the Ceylon Government - 1943

Original Source: Facebook - Old Ceylon

19432.jpg

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Finally found time to go through it all.Great read!...BTW what's the point of biting that piece of wood during bombing raids?

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Finally found time to go through it all.Great read!...BTW what's the point of biting that piece of wood during bombing raids?

it does the similar job of engine mounts. . .

Bomb blast generates a huge vibration wave, which can cause the vibration of jaws, upper jaw can vibrate on the lower jaw and teeth Can break due to this .so they hold a piece of rubber or wood to prevent above happening.

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(1) Easter Sunday Raid (or Battle of Ceylon) - 05th April 1942

http://en.wikipedia....ter_Sunday_Raid

(2) ARP - Air Raid Precautions (related to Ape Rate Pisso story in Mr.Anthony Hettiarchchi's description :) )

http://en.wikipedia....aid_Precautions

Edited by Sampath Gunasekera
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This is Hon. D.S. Senanayake's Rolls Royce .

Now this car belongs to Mr. Hema Ratnayake in USA.

However details are not easy to find like Sir John Kotelawala's Cadillac.

(Original Source: Facebook-Old Ceylon)

98235002.jpg

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"Air Lanka" Advertisement" - 1985

(Click on the photo to enlarge & read )

(This is from my scrap book -1984/85 and sorry for the poor cut and paste jobs.)

airlanka1985.jpg

Edited by Sampath Gunasekera

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Rice price up in Polonnaruwa…(1985)

Good example for the value of Rs.10/= , 27 years ago…..

riceprie1985.jpg

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20 Years Old Paper Advertisements...

26th May 1992 , Tuesday - "Diwaina"

Now a days hard to find an advertisement on brake liners....

1992add1.jpg

Motorcycles.....

No Bajaj , No TVS, No Indian brands..

Dominated by only Japanese Honda, Yamaha , Suzuki....

1992add3.jpg

1992add7.jpg

1992add2.jpg

Computer graphics were not much sound on news paper advertisements...

Even hand writing can be seen....

1992add6.jpg

1992add4.jpg

1992add5.jpg

Edited by Sampath Gunasekera

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Thank you 'Sampath Gunasekera' for introducing us to Mr. Hettiarachchi; this thread has turned into quite the most amazing read.

Mr. Hettiarachchi- It was amazing reading about how things were in Sri Lanka back during the second world war, and really: Thank you for sharing / letting Sampath share them with us. Please do keep us updated on the progress of the book, I'd love to have a copy.

Edited by Kavvz

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"History of the Automobile" - 26th May 1992, Tuesday – “Diwaina”

77876838.jpg

48382310.jpg

Ford Model T

tbig.jpg

Ford Model T – Assembly Line

ford-model-t_12.jpeg

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Relationship between "Lotto" lottery and Toyota Townace CR-36

121105211702_thumb.jpg

Those days, Toyota Townace CR-36 was awarded as the 1st price for "Lotto" lottery.
So nick name cooked up as "Townace -Lotto Model"

At the beginning Lotto lottery came with two slips (lower one with a carbon paper and somewhat similar to cash deposit slips at banks) and had four chances to win. Person should select the target numbers and write his contact details and return the original to lottery dealer and second copy must keep with him. A strange lottery to Sri Lanka at that time (As I remember 1988-1989......) :)

"Lotto" advertisement - Monday,14 December 1992 - Daily News

lottor.jpg

Edited by Sampath Gunasekera
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Originally SsangYong introduced to Sri Lanka by D I M O - 1995

SsangYong Musso
2 Page advertisement - 09th July 1995 - The Sunday Times - Auto Focus

(17 years old advertisement)

ssanyongmusso1.jpg

ssanyongmusso2.jpg

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Alfa Romeo Advertisement - The Sunday Times - 09th July 1995

alfaromeoadd.jpg

Mr.Sampath Gunasekera,

Does this agent still do the service?

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

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Mr.Sampath Gunasekera,

Does this agent still do the service?

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

Mr. Silvy, I am not sure that. These are old paper cuttings in my collection. So don't know the present situation.... :)

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Mr.Sampath Gunasekera,

Does this agent still do the service?

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

The agent no longer exists, they went out of business years ago.

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