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Articles | S. Thomas' College | Souvenir 02

A Tribute to C.E.L. ("Kalla") De Silva on his 100th Birth Anniversary
(By Nishan Perera)

1921 & 1922

A Tribute to C.E.L. ("Kalla") De Silva on his 100th Birth Anniversary

(By Nishan Perera)

The Commencement of a Royal Thomian Cricket encounter in the eyes of many who knew C.E.L. ("Kalla") De Silva would not have been complete unless we saw the robust figure of this great Thomian cricketer walk-up to the centre for a pre match inspection of the pitch. He would offer valuable advice to the Coach & the Master in Charge and would probably forecast what we would be in for in the next two days to come in terms of Cricket. He would then do a dash to the MUSTANGS TENT where he would be in high spirits for the next two days.

It is a coincidence that the 100th birth anniversary of this former Thomian cricket captain falls on the 09th of March 2002, the last day of the 123rd Battle of the Blues. It is an opportune moment for us to pay tribute to a great Thomian who always upheld the true Thomian traditions and was held in high esteem by many who knew him, young and old.

C.E.L. De Silva enrolled as a student of S.Thomas' College when the school was at Mutwal and was one of those students on roll at the time when the College was relocated at Mount Lavinia.

His cricketing career for the school began in 1919 when he first played for the 1st XI team under the captaincy of Mr P.B.Bulankulame the first generation of the Bulankulame family to represent the College. In this match the Thomians were beaten in one day by an innings and 32 runs. The following year too the result was in favour of the opponents and under the same captain and the margin by which Royal won was increased to an innings and 52 runs.

In 1921 "Kalla" was entrusted the responsibility of leading the Thomian team and once more there was no change in the result which meant that the Thomians had to wait yet another year to witness a possible result in favour of them, which had eluded them for the past eight years.


Then came the year 1922 where "Kalla" was reappointed captain of the S.Thomas' College Team & I quote from his article titled 'The Old Order Changeth' published in connection with the 100th Battle of the Blues where he describes this victory.

"Came 1922 I was reappointed captain and that year I sought my revenge and we beat our arch rival and friend Royal College by 57 runs, my contribution being 32. My father had promised a rupee for every run I scored and I became richer by Rs. 32/="

Further he goes on to say in the same article

" Our Victory after eight years was certainly most welcome. There was the usual cheering of heroes. I was carried right round the ground by our supporters. When I was brought back to the pavilion, a girlfriend of mine threw her arms around me and even went on to present me with a flag she was carrying. This flag was one of my priced possessions and I presented it to Lakdasa when he played in the Royal Thomian Match of 1965. This was a very proud and a happy moment for me. The Old Boys of both schools entertained most hospitably a very large number of ladies, girls and Old Boys in their enclosures. The medicoes and the diehards had engaged the C L I Band to play an enjoyable selection of music that evening. A holiday was declared and our victory was highlighted by a glittering display of fireworks by night fall which terminated with the release of eleven gas filled balloons which carried the names of the Team proudly displayed on them. We were inundated with numerous invitations for dinner and several prizes were awarded to us and our happiness at beating our rivals knew no bounds"

After leaving school C.E.L De Silva continued his cricket and represented the Sinhalese Sports Club where he played with the likes of the late C.H.Gunasekera (Snr.) Sargo Jayawickrema and F.C De Saram to name a few.

In 1934 after his marriage to Enid de Silva he led a quiet life managing the estates, which he inherited. His most cherished moment was when Lakdasa ("Kalla"Jnr.) played in the Royal Thomian of 1965.

Whatever commitments he may have had, the month of March was very special for him because of the Royal Thomian. He would plan months before about attending the match. After the match he would entertain all his brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces to a grand dinner at Hotel Pillawoos or Buhari at Maradana. If I am not mistaken, he never missed a Royal Thomian Cricket encounter after leaving school until his demise in January 1983.

C.E.L. ("Kalla") De Silva was a grand uncle of mine whom I had associated with for nearly seventeen years until his death. During these years he would proudly relate various experiences during his school era under Warden Stone, whom he acknowledges as his mentor, and so many other interesting stories about his life as a planter and a big game hunter.

On the 02nd of January 1983 C.E.L.C'Kalla") De Silva bade farewell amidst a large gathering at Moratuwa. The last rights were performed not only with the college flag draped round his coffin but the college song was sung perhaps for the first time at a funeral, an acknowledgement from his school to one of her loyal old boys

Finally I quote the words of warden Buck.

"You belong to one of the best schools in the world, a school with splendid traditions and the most honorable name and I charge you to try and hand down those traditions and the name untarnished and unimpaired. Be proud of being Thomians and make the college proud of numbering you amongst its sons. Remember that what ever you do and where ever you go your life and actions will reflect either credit or discredit on the College where you were trained and to which you owe so much. You have learned the best lessons in the world at St. Thomas' College. I trust not only English and Classics and Mathematics but true manliness and truth, courage purity and all those things that make a man and a gentleman. Try never to forget them but be men and gentlemen always"

C.E.L.C'Kalla") De Silva always did his best to uphold these traditions to the best of his ability and he was truly a MAN AND A GENTLEMAN -
Esto Perpetua.