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September 18, 2018
SLAF - Retired
(A 6-month remembrance)
It is depressing to learn of the death of any known person, but it is more poignant when the person concerned was a fellow Officer, who served his Country and the Sri Lanka Air Force, well.

Flight Lieutenant Thawheed M.Khalid (popularly "THAW") was eighty-three when he passed away at his residence in Narahenpitiya on 12th March 2018.

Enlisting in the Royal Ceylon Air Force on 12thSeptember 1952, he served with RCyAF Regiment in Katunayake,and in the 1960s was a Weapons Instructor at SLAF Station Diyatalawa. He was soon commissioned in the rank of Pilot Officer in the Regiment Branch.

During the Insurgency in 1971, at the HQ of the Co-ordinating Officer, Gp.Capt.DBS Weeratne, in Hamban- tota, he was deployed as Officer in-charge of External Security at Ridiyagama Insurgent Detention Camp.The Senior Staff Officer overlooking the Operations,Wing Commander EH Ohlmus has recorded there was not a single escapee,nor any complaint of brutality or harassment made by the detainees,during the whole duration of SLAF involvement.

With an enthusiastic band of Regular and Volunteer Officers and Men handling administrative and logistics functions, Thaw had accomplished his task admirably.

He was a fine sportsman both as a victor and as a loser - a hard, fast and fair puncher.He represented the Air Force and Combined Services at Boxing, Wrestling and Rugby, excelling in the first and with his bustling play as a forward in the last.

He won Air Force Colours in all these three sports, and Defence Services Colours in Boxing and Rugby.The Xavier Roche Memorial Challenge Shield Boxing Championships 1960 saw the RCyAF Force Team, with Bertie Ekanayake and Donald Labrooy led by Thaw winning for the Service a National Sports event for the first time.

Thaw served with the Air Force for twentyfive years and retired in the rank of Flight Lieutenant on 12th September 1977. Thereafter he joined the Security Department of Bank of Ceylon and retired finally in 1998.

He was a founder member of the Sri Lanka Ex Air Force Association.

He was a versatile speaker and held his audience in comfort. When Air Chief Marshal WDHS Goonetileke celebrated his Seventyfifth Birthday Anniversary in 2004, amongst his family and friends, a distinguished gathering of his Army,Navy and Police friends graced the occasion. Thaw was among the Officers who had served under his Command and had been called to attend. He was invited to join Admiral Basil Gunesekera, Air Vice Marshal AB Sosa, Gp.Capt.HAD Ranasinghe,Sqdn.Ldr.Sam Samarasinghe and Sqdn.Ldr.Rex Fernando, to speak at this illustrious occasion.

My association with Thaw dates back to 1952,when we gathered at Stable Hill Camp, Royal Ceylon Air Force,Diyatalawa to follow the No.1 Basic Recruit Training Course under the command of Flt.Lt.JP Howard,RAF. In early 1953 he was selected to join the RCyAF Contingent to the United Kingdom for the Queen's Coronation Parade.

Very smart and methodical in his ways,he sported an honest and obliging personality and was always willing to help. Surprisingly, he had a touch for the Theatre,and was even the Stage Manager for a play THE DEACON produced in Colombo by Wendy Whatmore of Speech and Drama fame.

Among the mourners, the many Oficers and Members of the SLAF Ex-Servicemen's Association who paid their last respects at his residence was a fitting tribute to his character in life.

Flight Lieutenant Thawheed M.Khalid leaves behind his wife IRIS ,and two brothers (ex Air Force)and will be sorely missed and remembered by his family, friends and members of the Retired Air Force Officers, and Sri Lanka Ex-Air Force, Associations.

"Well done good and faithful servant".
St.Matthew 25:23

W. A. M. Dep
(SLAF Officer-Retired)
Hertfordshire UK
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