THE RAF AND RCYAF - A PARTING OF THE WAYS
Thus did the control of the Katunayake Base pass from British hands to Ceylonese ones
In similar fashion, the Government acquired control of the British Naval Base in Trincomalee. It is pertinent to record for posterity, the words of farewell from the Acting British High Commissioner on that historic day in Katunayake, and the reply made by the Honourable Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike
Mr T.L. Crosthwaite said, Today, it is fitting to consider how air power has affected the conduct of affairs on this island and in particular, to remember the occasion 15 years ago, when the supremacy of the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean, was no longer paramount. I would like to suggest that if Ceylon were able to develop the institutions and the economy that have, between them, made her into a modern state, we should not forget today that it was the Royal Air Force that preserved this island from disaster, at a most crucial period.
Mr Bandaranaike replied, Today another landmark in the history of our country has been achieved. It is all a good sign that these things can be done by friendly arrangement and agreement, and in an atmosphere of dignity. We, as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, having a position of equality with its members including the United Kingdom, have discussed amongst ourselves any problems of importance in an atmosphere of independence and freedom, and have been able thereby to add to our share in world efforts for the increase of mutual understanding and friendship for the preservation of peace, and the furthering of the cause of happiness and prosperity of us all.
A year after the take over of the Katunayake Base, Air Commodore Bladon relinquished Command of the RCyAF to Air Commodore J.L. Barker