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General Officer Commanding, Ceylon

General Officer Commanding, Ceylon (also known as Commander of Troops ) was the designation of the General Officer appointed to command all British Army units stationed in the island of Ceylon during the British colonial administration of the island.[1] The post was succeeded by the Commander of the Ceylon Defence Force.


  • History 1
  • List of General Officers Commanding, Ceylon 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The post entitled the holder a seat in the Executive Council of Ceylon and advised the Governor of Ceylon on military matters.

Apart from British Army units that were deployed for garrison duty in the island, the officer held command over the Ceylon Defence Force if mobilized. However mobilized could be carried out only under orders from the Governor.

Following independence in 1948, the command was split. With the creation of the Ceylon Army, it head had was referred to as the Commander of the Ceylon Army and the British troops in Ceylon came under the command of the Commander, Ceylon Garrison and UK troops in Ceylon until the withdrawal British troops from the island.

List of General Officers Commanding, Ceylon

No. Portrait Rank Name Appointment Left office Unit Decorations
1 Colonel James Stuart 1796
2 Major general Welbore Ellis Doyle 1 January 1797
3 Colonel Peter Bonnevaux 30 June 1797 10th Madras Native Infantry
4 Brigadier general Pierre Frédéric de Meuron 12 July 1797
5 Colonel Josiah Champagne February 1799
6 Major general Hay MacDowall 19 July 1799
7 Major general David Douglas Wemyss 1804
8 Major general Sir Thomas Maitland 1805 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot GCB, GCH
9 Major general Sir John Wilson 1811
10 Lieutenant general Sir Robert Brownrigg 1812 9th (East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot GCB
11 Major general Alexander Cosby Jackson 1812 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot
12 Major general Sir Edward Barnes 1820 47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot GCB
13 Major general Sir James Campbell 22 July 1822
14 Major general Sir Hudson Lowe 1826 GCMG, KCB
15 Major general Sir John Wilson 14 October 1831
16 Major general Sir Robert Arbuthnot 1839 76th Regiment of Foot KCB
17 Lieutenant general Sir Colin Campbell 16 April 1841 78th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot KCB
18 Major general William Smelt 28 January 1847
19 Major general P. Bainbrigge 23 May 1852
20 Major general T. Reed 13 September 1854
21 Major general Henry Frederick Lockyer 1856
22 Major general Terence O'Brien 1860
23 Major general Studholme John Hodson 1865
24 Major general Henry Renny 1869
25 Major general John Alfred Street 1874
26 Major general William Wilby 1879 1886

See also


  1. ^ "British Commanders". Retrieved 21 March 2014. 

External links

  • British Commanders
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