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Sri Lanka Light Infantry
Cap badge of the Sri Lanka Light Infantry
Cap badge of the Sri Lanka Light Infantry
Active 1 April 1881 - Present
Country Sri Lanka
Branch Sri Lanka Army
Type Light Infantry
Role Infantry/Light Role
Size 15 regular battalions,
8 volunteer battalions,1 RFT battalion
Regimental Headquarters Panagoda Cantonment, Panagoda.
Nickname(s) SLLI
Motto(s) "Ich Dien" German - (I serve).
Colors Red and Blue
March "I am Ninety Five"
Mascot(s) Kandula
Anniversaries 1 April
Engagements Second Boer War
World War I
World War II
1971 Insurrection
Insurrection 1987-89
Sri Lankan Civil War
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
Decorations 1 Parama Weera Vibhushanaya
Centre Commandant Col K.J Jayaweera RSP
Colonel of
the Regiment
Maj Gen RMD Rathnayake RWP RSP USP ndu psc
Gen. Sir John Kotelawala, KBE, CH
"LIGHT INFANTRY" shoulder tab

The Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) is the oldest regiment in the Sri Lanka Army and the oldest infantry regiment in the army. It is made up of ten regular battalions, five volunteer battalions. Headquartered at Panagoda Cantonment, Panagoda. Over the years it has become the most distinguished and dependable regiment in the army.


The origins of the regiment goes back to the formation of the Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteer force was formed on 1 April 1881 by a proclamation issued by the Governor of Ceylon it was a reserve unit.

The first commanding officer of the force was Lt. Col. John Scott Armitage and the Colonel of the Regiment was HRH Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales. It is said that the Regimental March "I am Ninety Five" and the Regimental Bugle Call, in use up to now, was adopted soon after raising of the force. In the same year, the Unit had the distinction in that HRH the Prince of Wales accepted the Honorary Colonelcy of The Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteers, by virtue of which fact the Unit adopted his Crest and motto as Its badge. In 1892, a mounted infantry company was formed and later it became a regiment of its own by the name of the Ceylon Mounted Rifles.

The Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteer force troops were sent to South Africa in 1900, for the Boer war and after the distinguish service in South Africa the force obtained the Banner from HRH The Duke of York.In 1902, King Edward VII became the Colonel-in-Chief.

In 1910 with formation of the Ceylon Defence Force CLIV became a part of it and was renamed as the Ceylon Light Infantry. The regiment saw action during World War I along with allied troops. Soon after the war a regular element of the regiment was formed to take up garrison duties in Ceylon. This unit was named the Mobilised Detachment of Ceylon Light Infantry (Mob. Det., CLI). The regiment was again mobilized during World War II and was deployed in the Seychelles and the Cocos Islands.

PM visits the 1st Bn CLI

First Prime Minister of Independent Sri Lanka Hon. D.S.Senanayaka visiting the 1st battalion of the CLI at the Echelon Square and watching volunteers being trained to handle light machine guns.

After Ceylon gained its independence from Britain in 1948 and with the Army Act of 1949 the CLI became the Ceylon Infantry Regiment and came under the newly formed Ceylon Army. But in 1950 the regiment once again became the 1st Battalion, The Ceylon Light Infantry becoming the regular unit and the Volunteer Battalion was re-designated as the 2nd (Volunteer) Battalion, Ceylon Light Infantry.

The regiment was deployed for counter insurgency operations in during the 1971 Insurrection and in 1972, when Sri Lanka became a republic, the regiment changed its name to Sri Lanka Light Infantry. In the early 1980s units of the regiment has been deployed in the norther parts of the island. In the ambush of the Four Four Bravo patrol from the C Company of the 1st Battalion marked the beginning of the Sri Lanka civil war. Since then the SLLI has been deployed combat operations thought out the island and has expanded to its present size of 15 Battalions.

The regiment took par in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti in 2003.[1][2]

Cadet BattalionEdit

In 1881 a cadet platoon was formed at Royal College, Colombo attached to the CLI. This eventually expanded to became the Cadet Battalion, Ceylon Light Infantry under the Ceylon Defence Force. Later this unit became the Ceylon Cadet Corps, now known as the National Cadet Corps.

Regimental ColoursEdit

The regimental colours were awarded to the regiment in 1921 and on 22 March 1922 Ceylon Light Infantry was awarded with the King's and the Regimental Colours. When the first battalion regular force was formed HM Queen Elizabeth II presented the new colours to the battalion in 1949. The Queens and Regimentals Colours were presented to the 1st battalion on 21 April 1954 by HM Queen Elizabeth II. With the declaration of the Republic of Sri Lanka were land to rest within the regimental museum on 29 June 1974.[3]

In 10 October 1978 H.E. President J.R. Jayawardena awarded the President's and Regimental Colours to the 1st Bn SLLI and 2nd Vol Bn SLLI.

Regimental InsigniaEdit

In early stage, from March 1881 to 28 November 1881 volunteer corps used an elephant and a coconut tree as their emblem.[4] With the declaration of republic of Sri Lanka 1st and 2nd battalions of CLI decided to retain as much with the configuration and pattern of the existing badge. As result of these suggestions, a new insignia was introduced with following details;

  • To retain the silver bugle horn bound with brass, which is on the existing badge. This was retained because the bugle traditionally represents the infantry arm and by doing so, the Regiment could perpetuate in no small measure some of the high ideals associated with the previous insignia.[4]
  • It in corporate with three sheaves of paddy arranged in a manner of up to the three plumps on the existing crest. These were in corporate to signify prosperity and the heritage of the people as an agrarian nation. It retains the motto of the Prince of Wales “ICH DIEN” which has been adopted as the motto of the regiment in its translation form “I SERVE”.[4]


Regular BattalionsEdit

  • 1st Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 4th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 6th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 7th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 8th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 10th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 11th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 12th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 15th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 19th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 20th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 23rd Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 24th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 25th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 26th Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • RHQ Battalian Sri Lanka Light Infantry (RFT)

Volunteer BattalionsEdit

  • 2nd(v) Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 5th(v) Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 9th(v) Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 14th(v)Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 16th(V)Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 17th(V)Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 18th(V)Sri Lanka Light Infantry
  • 21st(V)Sri Lanka Light Infantry


Recipient of the Parama Weera VibhushanayaEdit

Notable membersEdit

Order of precedenceEdit

Preceded by
Sri Lanka Signals Corps
Order of Precedence Succeeded by
Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment

See alsoEdit


External links and sourcesEdit

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