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Battle of Ceylon - 1942
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Author:  Lanka [ Thu Sep 15, 2005 3:38 am ]
Post subject:  Battle of Ceylon - 1942

Battle of Ceylon war veterans visit Sri Lanka

DM / Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Australian and United Kingdom High Commissions jointly hosted a reception recently to welcome veterans of the Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire and British aircraft carrier HMS Hermes which sank on 9 April 1942 during the Battle of Ceylon.

The veterans Mr Bill Price, Mr Vince Cesari (HMAS Vampire), Mr Stan Curtis and Mr Alec Rusk (HMS Hermes), returned to Sri Lanka for the first time in 63 years to participate in the filming of a documentary on the Battle of Ceylon.

The function was attended by Dr Greg French, High Commissioner for Australia and Mr Stephen Evans, High Commissioner for the United Kingdom, the Commander of the Sri Lankan Army, Lt-Gen Shantha Kottegoda, the Secretary of Defence, Maj-Gen Asoka Jayawardene, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, the Hon Arjuna Ranatunga MP and Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourist Board, Mr Udaya Nanayakkara, as well as Sri Lankan veterans of the Battle of Ceylon.

The veterans also visited their former home base of Trincomalee and areas near the former allied Headquarters at Kandy. The Sri Lankan Navy provided a vessel to allow the veterans to pay their respects to fallen comrades through a wreath laying ceremony at sea. The Sri Lanka Tourist Board hopes that the documentary will generate interest in travel to areas that have special historical significance to veterans of the Battle of Ceylon.

A major focus of the documentary was underwater filming on the wreck of HMS Hermes and the search using sophisticated underwater radar for HMAS Vampire. Expert marine archaeologists from the Western Australian Maritime Museum assisted in the three week search and dive operation off the eastern coast of Sri Lanka.

The documentary will form part of the second Shipwreck Detectives series produced by Prospero Productions for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Australia's largest public broadcaster.

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