Instructions for raising of the 55th Division were published ARO 117/96 ref SD / 51(149) dated 20th December 1996 in the view of increasing the fighting capacity of Sri Lanka Army during Operation ‘JAYASIKURU’ conducted in Wanni theater of operation. Duties of the newly raised 55 Division was took over by Brig SHS Kottegoda RWP RSP as the first General Officer Commanding. Meantime Brig NR Marambe USP psc was appointed as the Deputy General Officer Commanding and subsequently 551 Brigade, 552 Brigade and 553 Brigade were raised under the Division.
Up to date, the chain of Division was commanded by Generals & Brigadiers namely Brig AED Wijendra RSP USP psc, Maj Gen GSC Fonseka RSP psc, Brig MDS Chandrapala RSP USP psc, Brig TM Bohran RSP USP, Brig S Wanigasekara RWP RSP USP, Maj Gen SD Thennakoon RSP, Brig KJN Senaweera RSP USP Ldmc, Brig WUB Edirisinghe, Maj Gen VR Silva RSP USP IG, Maj Gen SG Karunarathne RWP RSP USP psc, Brig GDHK Gunarathne RWP RSP USP psc, Maj Gen PP De Silva WWV RWP RSP psc, Brig ALSK Perera RSP, Brig JR Kulatunga RSP psc, Brig BHMA Wijesinghe USP psc, Maj Gen A Kariyakarawana USP ndc, Brig SK Thirunavukarasu USP, Maj Gen MKD Perera RWP RSP USP ndu, Maj Gen NA Dharmarathne WWV RWP RSP ndc psc, Brig MASK Muhandiram RSP, Maj Gen HMJK Gunaratne WWV RWP RSP ndc psc and at presently by Maj Gen KNS Kotuwegoda ndc ndc IG is commanding the Division.
Before commencement of Humanitarian Operation on 22 Dec 2002, LTTE signed a peace agreement with then existed government. It aimed in making a political framework through dialogs to bring a lasting peace to the country. This paved the way for the LTTE to begin to work as a political party in government controlled areas. Subsequent to that on 08 March 2002, the A-9 was re-opened & the famous entry/ exit point was set up at MUHAMALAI.
During the period of which the agreement was signed, LTTE was controlling most of the land/areas of Northern & Eastern provinces. However, LTTE’s so called capital of the Ealam; the city of JAFFNA was in government's hand. The agreement allowed LTTE to open their political offices & engaged in political activities within JAFFNA peninsula. Nevertheless, LTTE continued in recruiting more child soldiers to enhance their military capability. Moreover, they used to bring the image as a revolutionary force in the international forum. More significantly, LTTE tried all means to establish its political stability with the government as well European community with the support of the Norwegian Peace facilitator LTTE collected large sum of money and goods/items from innocent people that were passing through entry/exit points at MUHAMALAI & OMANTHAI by imposing various taxes. However, the security forces could to prevent arms & explosives passing through.
For almost four years, LTTE used entry exit point at MUHAMALAI towards it’s own advantage/ benefit under the cover of the peace accord. They engaged in sabotage activities using civilians, sympathizers & schoolchildren. Furthermore, they carried out isolated attacks at security posts and camps in order to create an unstable situation in the JAFFNA Peninsula. By doing this, their aim was to prompt Security Forces to carry out an unwanted situation and to restrict security forces to their camps & barracks. However, troops of 55 Division were helpless as they could not take any counter action due to the restrictions imposed by the peace accord.
As a result of that the 55 Division was raised at the beginning of the JAYSIKURU Operation to open a supply route to JAFFNA from VAUNIYA. During the peace agreement period 55 Division was deployed along the MUHAMALAI Forward Defence Line (FDL). The Division Headquarter was located at MIRUSUVIL under the command of Major General VR Silva RSP USP ndu IG.
Humanitarian operation undertaken from July 2006 and May 2009 to free the country from LTTE and 55 division along with its under command Brigades and Battalions could contribute with maximum operational strength to engage with LTTE for eradication of the conflict. During this period Divisional troops succeeded in capturing significant strategic locations/townships such as EPS, IYAKACHCHI, MUHAMALAI, PALALI and NAGARKOVIL with number of ferocious battles. More soldiers who engaged in the battle sacrificed their lives for the Nation and large number of soldiers got WIA (Wounded In Action) and MIA (Missing In Action) during the battle.During this entre war period, 55 Division was able to succeeded almost all operations; significantly the Humanitarian Operation launched against LTTE under the leadership of brave Divisional Commanders. At presently the Division is located in KADDAIKADU close to EPS under the command of Security Force Headquarters (JAFFNA) and consists with 551, 552, 553 Brigades and the Divisional Battalion Training School. Brigades are consisted with 23 GW, 4 SLSR, 1 MIR, 16(V) SLLI, 10(V) VIR and 12(V) VIR at present.
After the Easter Sunday attack on 21 April 2019, the existed peace situation was effected and thereby troops were deployed on various IS duties to ensure the normalcy of the area under command to 55 Division. Presently under the leadership and command of present General Officer Commanding, Maj Gen KNS Kotuwegoda ndc IG, the Division is functioning in effective and efficient manner in accordance with the 5R Concept (Resettlement, Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Reconciliation) to ensure the peace, harmony and stability within the Area.
|Brig||HSH Kottegoda RWP RSP||10.03.1997||10.10.1997|
|Brig||EAD Wijendra RSP USP psc||04.11.1997||28.12.1997|
|Brig||GSC Fonseka RSP psc||28.12.1997||26.04.1998|
|Maj Gen||GSC Fonseka RSP psc||27.04.1998||08.11.1998|
|Brig||MDS Chandrapala RSP USP psc||08.11.1998||08.04.1999|
|Brig||S Wanigasekara RWP RSP USP||06.11.1999||01.05.2000|
|Brig||SD Thennakoon RSP||01.05.2000||30.05.2000|
|Maj Gen||SD Thennakoon RSP||31.05.2000||01.01.2002|
|Brig||KJN Senaweera RSP USP Ldmc||01.01.2002||31.07.2002|
|Brig||VR Silva RSP USP IG||18.08.2003||08.02.2005|
|Maj Gen||VR Silva RSP USP IG||09.02.2005||23.08.2005|
|Maj Gen||SG Karunarathne RWP RSP USP psc||23.08.2005||12.09.2006|
|Brig||GDHK Gunarathne RWP RSP psc||12.09.2006||28.04.2008|
|Brig||PP De Silva WWV RWP RSP psc||28.04.2008||28.07.2009|
|Maj Gen||PP De Silva WWV RWP RSP psc||29.07.2009||07.08.2009|
|Brig||ALSK Perera RSP||08.08.2009||25.07.2011|
|Brig||JR Kulathunga RSP psc||26.07.2011||03.06.2012|
|Brig||BHMA Wijesinghe USP psc||04.06.2012||03.01.2014|
|Brig||Kariyakarawana USP ndc||04.01.2014||04.03.2014|
|Maj Gen||Kariyakarawana USP ndc||05.03.2014||22.07.2014|
|Brig||SK Thirunavukarasu USP||23.07.2014||28.10.2014|
|Maj Gen||MKD Perera RWP RSP USP ndu||31.10.2014||01.09.2015|
|Maj Gen||Damarathne WWV RWP RSP ndu psc||05.09.2015||11.04.2017|
|Brig||MASK Muhandiram RSP||14.04.2017||08.09.2017|
|Maj Gen||HMJK Gunartne WWV RWP RSP ndc psc||15.09.2017||14.03.2019|
|Maj Gen||KNS Kotuwegoda ndc IG||15.03.2019||25.07.2020|
|Maj Gen||SPKA Pilapitiya RWP RSP USP||25.07.2020||21.06.2021|
|Maj Gen||MK Jayawadena RSP USP ndu||22.06.2021||21.12.2021|
|Maj Gen||MKUP Gunarathna RSP ndu psc IG||21.12.2021||Up to Date|
Major General MKUP Gunarathna RSP ndu psc IG
General Officer Commanding
55 Infantry Division
Major General Prasanna Gunaratne RSP ndu psc IG is widely admired as the accomplished scholar-warrior with 33 years of exemplary military service to the nation in different capacities. He is presently serving as the General Officer Commanding of the 55 Infantry Division.
On 20 April 1969, Prasanna Gunaratne was born in the historical inheritance upcountry city of Kandy. He is a proud product of St. Sylvester College, Kandy. Having completed his education, he opted to join the Sri Lanka Army leaving behind many lucrative opportunities due to his exceptional accomplishments in the studies and sports achievements on being a national level Boxing player. He joined the Sri Lankan Army as an Officer Cadet on 17 February 1989 and followed the basic military training as a Cadet Officer of Intake 31 at Pakistan Military Academy and became the first in order of merit in his course. He was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery on 5 October 1990.
During his illustrious military career, he has been privileged to hold significant command, instructional and staff appointments given his professional competence and incomparable devotion towards the call of duty. His key appointments include Officer Instructor, Sri Lanka Military Academy, BM 223 Brigade, Commanding Officer, 11th Regiment Sri Lanka Artillery, Chief Instructor of Army War College, Commandant-School of Artillery, Commander- 623 Infantry Brigade, Regimental Centre Commandant- Sri Lanka Artillery and Brigadier General Staff, Security Forces Headquarters, Jaffna.
Major General Prasanna Gunaratne is acclaimed as an accomplished career military leader, respected communicator, renowned military scholar, ambitious instructor and transformational change manager. His dynamic command philosophy, visionary mindset, meticulous planning proficiency, administrative pragmatism and Emotional Intelligence competence have impeccably influenced to transform the organizations he served into a remarkable success. As the Commanding Officer of 11th Regiment SLA, he laid the foundation to harness an exceptional level of team effort, esprit-de-corps and camaraderie among the Officers and Soldiers to achieve an extraordinary outcome. His Intellectual vision towards investment in intellectualism and professionalism have persuaded many subordinate officers under his command to attain excellent accomplishments given his leadership and exemplary professional conduct.
Major General Prasanna Gunaratne has also extensively exposed to the key local and foreign training exposure during his illustrious career. He is a graduate of the Defence Services Command and Staff College, an alumnus of Pakistan Military Academy, School of Artillery, Pakistan, School of Artillery India and National Defence University of the People’s Republic of China. His academic exposure ranges from Diploma to Master Degree in many disciplines. Given his professional competence, Major General Prasanna Gunaratne is often invited to share his leadership and professional insights/best practices by diverse forums in Sri Lanka.
In recognition of his noble service to the Nation, Major General Prasanna Gunaratne has been awarded Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP) in honour of his valor and bravery in the face of the enemy. He was also awarded Distinguished Service Medals, Campaign Medals and Service Medals for his exceptional conduct and meritorious service.
Major General Prasanna Gunaratne is also an avid sportsman. His national level Boxing sports achievements have outstandingly contributed to developing the Regimental and Army Boxing teams to attain local and international achievements.
Major General Prasanna Gunaratne is married to Nayomi and they are blessed with two daughters. He is a devoted husband and a caring father who was able to strike a perfect balance between his military career and family life.