Death of Air Chief Marshal Paddy Mendis

Air Chief Marshal Pathman Hariprasadha Mendis, fondly known as ‘Paddy’ Mendis, who was the youngest Air Force Commander passed away yesterday. He was 89. “Paddy Mendis” was born on January 24, 1933. An alumnus of S.Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, he joined the newly formed Royal Ceylon Air Force (RCyAF) as its fifth recruit in 1951.

 After enlistment, Mendis was sent to Britain for training at the Royal Air Force College in Cranwell. In 1959, then Flight Lieutenant Mendis was sent to the RAF Central Flying School to be trained as Flying Instructors at RAF Little Rissington in Gloucestershire. He was the first Ceylonese to be trained as a Qualified Flying Instructor.

Air Chief Marshal P.H.Mendis made steady progression through the ranks of Pilot Officer to Air Commodore and was appointed as the fourth Commander of the Royal Ceylon Air Force on the January 1, 1971. He was the first Ceylonese Officer to command the Royal Ceylon Air Force. With Ceylon becoming a Republic in 1972, the Royal Ceylon Air Force changed its name to the Sri Lanka Air Force along with all its insignia and Air Vice Marshal P.H. Mendis became the first Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force.

The former Air Force Commander’s remains will lie at the Mahinda Florists 591, Galle Road, Mount Lavinia. Funeral today (19) at the Mount Lavinia Cemetery at 2.00 pm.

by Daily News Sri Lanka

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