Latitude 6°50'58"S Longitude  79°55'25"W

Approximate location

   

ACQUISITION

Purpose built facility

 

OPENED

October 1943
 

COMMISSIONED

October 1943 'on Books of BHERUNDA'
01 December 1944 as independent command 'MONARA'
 

PAID OFF


 

CLOSED


 

O.I.C./COMMANDING OFFICER

Lt. Cdr L. C. Orman, DSC, 01 Oct 1943
Commander G.T. McInnes, 23 January 1946

 

 

FUNCTION

Training of Ceylonese recruits as Aircraft mechanics and Motor Transport mechanics

RN transit camp
 

ADDRESS

Royal Naval Air Ceylonese Establishment
Maharagama,
Ceylon
 

LOCALITY

The establishment lies 3 miles NE of RNAS Ratmalana  and 5½ miles S of RNAS Colombo Racecourse.

 

ROAD AND RAIL ACCESS

Roads to Colombo amd Ratmalana. Railway station at Maharagama on Kelani Valley line connects to Colombo 6 miles N. and Yatiyanthota 28 miles NNE..
   

 

   
Not applicable.
   
   
Not applicable.
   
   

ACCOMMODATION

Living quarters in main camp area/

 

Capacity:

Officers:

Unknown.

Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings:

Unknown.

W.R.N.S. Officers:

None.

W.R.N.S.  Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings;

None.

 

ARMOURIES

Not applicable.

 

COMPASS BASE

Not applicable.

 

DISPERSAL

Not applicable.

 

HANGARS

 

Number /Type

Size

Door Height

Door Width

Locally constructed temporary aircraft shelters - number unknown      
       
 

MEDICAL

 

 

METEOROLOGICAL

Not applicable.

 

FUEL AND OIL

Aviation:

Not known.

M/T:

Not known.

Oil :

Not known.

   

TEST BASE

Not applicable.

 

TEST BUTT

Small arms range.

 

WORKSHOPS

Special scale.

 

 

 

List of first and second line squadrons, station flight and other flying units based at this location

 
 

No squadrons operated from this establishment.

A small number of instructional airframes were held on site including:-

Seafox (rotary engine)

Albacore (rotary engine)

Fulmar (in-line engine)

Possibly a Corsair (rotary engine)

 

 

 

Opened in October 1943 the Royal Naval Air Ceylonese Training Establishment was tasked with recruiting and training Ceylonese boys as Aircraft and Motor Transport (MT) mechanics. Once trained they were to take the place of British personnel on duties within Ceylon. Lieutenant Commander L. C. Orman, DSC was appointed as Officer-in-Charge and the establishment was borne on the books of HMS BHERUNDA, RNAS Colombo Racecourse.

 Recruits came to the establishment after completing technical and other educational courses at colleges around Ceylon and after a successful interview with the establishment's Recruiting Officer Mr W. H. R. Allson, RN, began training.

The 9 month long accelerated training programme included basic military training during first three months, including use of small arms, parade drill, physical training and preliminary lectures on the Royal Navy and Aircraft & MT. Beginning in month four trainees received lectures specific to their career path, for example those going forward as Air Mechanism were taught about  aerodynamics and MT trainees were taught to drive and the workings of the  Internal Combustion Engines; all trainees learnt metallurgy, engineering drawing and technical mathematics while practical work was done in the workshop.

Workshop training included the use of basic hand tools, leading to a precision metal fitting exercises involving cutting out, and shaping to fit, a ¼ inch thick metal square which must fit into a corresponding square hole in a ¼ inch thick plate. They also also repeated the test with the more demanding hexagonal shaped piece in the same way.

During the final two months trainees were given instruction on engines; MT trainees on Petrol and Diesel engine, Air mechanic trainees on aero-engines, both the British ‘inline’ Rolls-Royce Merlin and the American Pratt & Whitney double-wasp ‘radial’ engines using dismantled and cross-sectioned parts as visual-aids. A decommissioned Fairey Fulmar two-seater fighter was used for practical training for the Merlin engines and (it is assumed) a single seat Chance- Vought Corsair for the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp. On completion of training, the new Ceylonese Mechanics were posted to Royal Naval Air workshops and Air Stations in Ceylon.


Commissioned as H.M.S. MONARA

On December 1st 1944 the establishment was commissioned as HMS MONARA, ceremonial divisions were held and Rear Admiral H C Rawlings, CB, DSO (Rear-Admiral Naval Air Stations, Indian Ocean) took the salute at the march past. As part of the proceedings the Admiral launched a 48-inch-long model of an aircraft carrier made by the trainees. In keeping with tradition, he broke a flask of wine on the bow and the model slid down a track into the stations water tank while the ship’s company looked on. T

he establishment continued its work after the end of the war, Commander G.T. McInnes was appointed as Commanding officer in January 1946. It is possible the site become an RN transit camp once the need for Boy recruits had passed but is not clear when it was closed.

 


 

 

Click here for a list of Primary sources


Additional sources:

 Liyanaratchi, K. (2006). Employment problems of recent Sri Lankan skilled immigrants in Australia. Accessed March 1st 2019

 

 

 

 


 

 



Young Ceylonese recruits receive instruction in the workings of a Merlin in-line aero engine © IWM (A 22204)
 


Young Ceylonese recruits receive instruction in the workings of the rotary engine design © IWM (A 22207)

 

Trainees in the workshop receiving instruction in the use of tools and metalworking © IWM (A 22209)

 

Click to see gallery of images relating to RNACTE Maharagama
 

 

 


Comments

No comments yet.

Add Comment

 

Click to refresh the page after posting your comment or to hide the form