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Major Harry Leslie Reed       

Major Harry Leslie Reed M.A. (Cantab) was born on the 16th of October 1885 and was educated at Merchants Taylors and Clare College, Cambridge. Wrangler, Marhematics Tripos , 2nd Class historical Tripos. Asst. Master Science and Mathematics, Westminster School London. He took office as the principal on the 19th of August 1920 to March 1932 on a salary of £ 800 per annum. He served in the First World War as Major in Territories (1915) and in France (1916-1918). Wrote (1) Text Book "Plane Trigonometry" (1930). (2) "Monthly Mathematical Test Papers" (3) "Plane Problems Papers for Upper Middle forms." Reed visited Ceylon and the old school in 1955.

Reed presided over many innovations in school affairs in Education and in Sports
• Perfect System was introduced (1920)
• Re-Organised the House System (1921)
• Held the First Classes for N.C.O.'s in Cadet Battalion (1921)
• Formed Games Club (Associated with Old Boys Union (1921)
• New College Crest (1922)
• Associations Formed :
            Junior Literary Association / Social Services League / Master Guild
            Arts Society / Natural History Society / Radio Club
            The Historical Association (1930) / Introduced 'Mathematical sets'

• College Song (composed and set to music by him - 1927
• Colours Awarded for sports (1922)
• Blazer for cricket (stripes and crest)(1928) and plain Blue Blazer with crest for Boxing, Rugby and Athletics and for Tennis plain Blue Blazer with Crest with Crown and word 'Floreat" (1928)
• Building of the College Pavilion (1930) assisted by Old Boy's Union.
• The writing of the 'History Of The Royal College' (1931/32).
Principal Reed initiated the formation of the Management Section (School) of the Ceylon amateur Athletics Association which organized the First Public Schools Athletics Meet in 1930.

All of the Reeds successful innovations have lasted the past 65 years. Major Reed was the son of Mr. & Mrs. G. Marlowe Reed who was Chairman Middlesex country council of London. Mrs. Reed took a very keen interest in college activities, especially in training the college Choir-which beat all the leading Girls schools in Colombo from 1920-1931 (the competition was not held in one year). Reed has an achievement unique amongst our Principals. In his last 3 years Royal College were Public Schools Cricket Champions (1929-1931), Public School Athletic Champions 1930-1931 (shortly after he left Ceylon, Royal were Athletic Champions again in 1932) and also won the Meaden Shield for Singing for Schools for 10 successive years (1920-1931).
He died on the 27th of October 1969 in England.

Lionel Henry Wynn Sampson
Lionel Henry Wynn Sampson, B.A. ( Oxon ) F.R.G.S was born on the 15th of July 1880 . Educated at Kings School Worcester, he obtained Kings Scholarship and went up to Hertford College Oxford. Fellow Royal Geographical society. He joined as Classics & History Master on 23rd September 1909. He served as the First Vice Principal of Royal College from October 1923 to March 1932.

On War Service in the First World War as 2nd Lt. Royal Army Service Corps ( horse transport ) with the Egyptian Expeditionary force in Palestine & Syria from 1917 to 1919 ( on leave from College ), under the command of General Allenby.

He became Principal of Royal College from March 1932 to March 1938. On retirement he was a lecturer in history and classics at Christ College, Brecon, Wales. As acting Principal in 1920 he saw the introduction of Rugby (Royal vs. Trinity College) and as acting Principal in 1924 he introduced the College Flag with the Crest embroided in the center and he issued badges to prefects (both on prize Day 30th July 1924 ).

Sampson also introduced:
• Swimming and Gymnastics into the sports programme
• Enforced strictly the under 19 age rule for all sports
• Sinhalese & Tamil and Science Libraries were started
• Sinhalese & Tamil Literary Societies formed
• Parent Teacher Associations started
• Sinhalese and Tamil as Compulsory subjects in 1938
Principal Sampson was a disciplinarian who followed the tradition of his illustrious predecessors. His weekly visit to the Form to take the ‘positions’ is still remembered by many. Especially by those who paid a return visit to the Principal's office for a caning. For the first time Sinhalese and Tamil were made compulsory Subjects along with Latin and English. In his Prize Day Report he gave his plans which were heartily approved by his Excellency the Governor Sir Reginal Stubbs (1937) and put into effect in 1938.
A good Golfer, he took part in many competitions at the Royal Colombo Golf Club. To date he is the only Principal to have arranged an Overseas cricket tour for the Royal College Team. He was solely responsible (aided by L.V Gooneratne) for the highly successful tour of Perth, Adelaide & Melbourne High School. In 1935 he offered the L.H.W.S. Sampson Challenge Cup (to be completed annually) for the Schools 440 vs. at the AAA Meet.

He passed away on the 15th of May 1963 in England.


Edward Laurence Bradby     

Edward Laurence Bradby, M.A. (Oxon) was born on the 15th of March 1907, educated at Rugby and at Oxford, he was on staff of Merchants Taylors. First in Classics and first in Moderations, Secretary, International Student Service Geneva (1936-1939). He became Principal from 12th of November 1939 to December 1945 on a salary of £ 1,100 per annum. On retirement from Ceylon, Bradby was Principal of St Paul’s Training College, Cheltenham.

Bradby was the youngest Principal of Royal since 1879 at 32 years. Bradby took over during the most difficult time in Ceylon's history. World War II had commenced (on 2nd September 1939) when he arrived and only ended at the time of his departure in 1945. A chaotic situation was to move out in a very short time from Reid Avenue. Cinnamon Gardens was ably handled and the move to the University College buildings was completed without a hitch.18 Make shift arrangements for Science Lab. work and Sports practice were smoothly affected. It was a job well handled. For his untiring efforts Bradby falls into the line of Royals great Principals
He introduced:
• Additional 5th and 6th forms
• Pali as a Subject
• Scouting on a permanent basis (With the aid of Lt.Col.M.K.J. Cantlay)
• Farming into the School curriculum
• The Gymnasium was declared open in 1940
• He obtained permission from the Department of Education for boys to sit for the London Inter-Science & Inter-Arts from Royal College hitherto allowed only to those at the University College & Private Students.
• He was the First Principal of Royal to take an active part in the Cadet Battalion as Officer Commanding 'A' Company (1941) and was 1st Group Scout Leader of the Scouts of Royal; College(1944).

Bradby like all the earlier Principals from Cull to Sampson was a lover of Sport and will be remembered for many a year by all sportsmen in Sri Lanka as the Donor of the 'Bradby Sheild' for the Rugby contest between Royal College and Trinity College, Kandy. The Bandarawela Branch of the Royal College was started during Bradby's term of Office (1942 and lasted till 1948). It was a very successful venture born out of necessity in wartime conditions.

Mrs Bradby like the wives of our previous Principals took a keen interest in College activities. Bradby was the last of the long line of Englishmen to guide the destinies of Royal College.


James Clifford Aelian Corea 

James Clifford Aelian Corea, M.A. Psychology (Lond), Diploma in Education (Cantab) was born on the 17th of January 1904. Corea was educated at Royal College and was a Master at Kingswood Collge Kandy and at Wesley College, Colombo.

He was also the President of All Ceylon Teacher's Union. Then Vice principal of Royal College 1943-1945. He succeeded as the Principal on January 1946 to June 1953.

Corea, was the First Ceylonese and First old Royalist (at Royal 1922) to become Principal of Royal College. During his tenure of office the new school buildings were constructed which accommodated the New Library, Theatre Hall, Music Room, Geography and Woodwork Room. Social Studies were introduced and the Film Society formed. Royal College got its first turf pitch in 1953.

Corea brought the boys back to their old home at Reid Avenue in January 1946 after 4 years of exile. Corea saw the dawn of new era in Education in Ceylon with the implementation of the Free Education Scheme in 1947.

After retirement he was Warden, Ceylon Students Centre in London and Education Officer at the Ceylon High Commission in London. He was in Sri Lanka along with Principal Bradby in July 1983, and visited his old College.

Dudley Kenneth George de Silva
Dudley Kenneth George de Silva, B.Sc., (Lond). Diploma in Education (Cey) was born on the 27th of July 1911. Colombo. Educated at Royal College and University College Colombo. He was a member of the staff of  Kignswood College, Kandy and Principal of Wanduramba Central School, Akmeemana and Piliyandala Central College. He was an Education Officer in Charge of Adult Education. He subsequently became Principal of Royal in April 1954 to until the October 1966. He was later promoted as Director of Technical Education from 1966.

As in Reed's time, during Dudley de Silva's tenure of office many innovations took place :
• College Song in Sinhala was used for the first time (1962)
• Societies formed were :
The Photographic Society / Oriental Orchestra / Islamic Society
Buddhist brotherhood / Hindu Students Union / Orchid Circle
Oriental Music Society / Catholic Union / Western Music Society
            Junior Tamil Literary Society / Industrial Arts Club / Students Christian Movement

• New sports were introduced :
            Rowing / Basket Ball / Hockey / Rifle Shooting

As principal he found time to take regular classes in Maths. A true Christian, he was greatly respected by the students. He was the moving spirit in the formation of the Student Christian Movement in College but did not neglect the other religions. Dudley de Silva trained and conducted the College Choir.

He was closely connected with the Church, as Organist at St. Paul's Church Milagiriya, Colombo 4 and St. Paul's Church Kandy. Dudley de Silva is unique amongst Royal's Principals is that he had six Masters on his staff, M. M. Kulasekeram, C. Samarasinghe, R. C. Edwards, T. M. Weerasinghe, C.E Bellath and R. Rajaratnam, all of
whom taught him at Royal between 1921 and 1927.
 He passed away on the 29th of June 1974.


Bogoda Appuhamilage Premaratne   

Bogoda Appuhamilage Premaratne, B.A. (lond) M.A. Ed:- Teachers College, Columbia University. N.Y. Premaratne was born on the 15th of March 1921 and educated at Ananda College, He served as the Colombo Schools Inspector.  of Vice-Principal January 1971.

He was the First to receive the UNESCO award of Teachers Education Fellowship (U.S.A.) and was Principal of the Teachers Training College, Mirigama. Later he was Commissioner of Examinations.

During his time the following took place,
• The opening of the Swimming Pool 1968.
• The revised version of the College song in Sinhala (1968).
• Reed House was inaugurated (1970).

Principal Premaratne was the first Buddhist and the first non-Old Royalist Ceylonese to be appointed Principal. Premaratne maintained the cherished traditions of the College. Royal was still the College that Royalists, past-knew it to be, a great school to be proud of, at the end of his period.


Don Gunaratne Welikala
Don Gunaratne Welikala, B.Sc., (Lond) was born on the 13th of December 1923. Educated at Ananda College, Colombo and the University of London. He became Principal from February 1971 to February 1972. Subsequently promoted as Regional Director of Education, Gampaha.

During his tenure the College Boarding House was reopened in 1971.


Don Joseph Noel Seneviratne

Don Joseph Noel Seneviratne, M.A. (Columbia); B.A. (Hons) (Lond); FG.TRD Cert. History (Ceylon). Born
On the 15th of December 1919, he was Educated at St Anthony's College, Katugastota and the University College, Colombo.

He served as Principal of St Sylvester's College, Kandy and became Principal of Royal from February 1971 to 31st July 1972. Subsequently promoted Regional Director of Education, Kandy. He requested the Ministry of Education to relieve him from the post of Principal Royal College (1972)

During the period February 1971 to July 1972 one institution - the Automobile Club, was formed.


Lokukankanange David Hemachandra Peiris
Lokukankanange David Hemachandra Peiris, B.Sc., (Lond), Diploma in Education (Ceylon). Born on the 16th of  July 1920. Educated at Ananda College, Colombo and the University College, Colombo, he was appointed Principal in August 1972 where served until December 1980. He also served as the Director of Education, for Nuwara Eliya.

Vast changes took place during the tenure of office of Principal Peiris. The School Roll at Reid Avenue increased to nearly 7000 pupils-a University size population. Even with the ever expanding administrative affairs, Principal Peiris had his fingers on the pulse and a grip on the affairs of his 'little State'. He weathered the efforts to change the name of Royal College, with the support of the Old Boys Union and he was to see Royal College reach great heights. Both in Education and in Sports, Royal College virtually took first place in the island during his regime
Principal Peiris was a man of firm decision, who did not cave in, when others tried to avoid the rules. A strict disciplinarian (who never used the cane), Principal Peiris may have made a few errors but the good done to the School far outweighed the few errors. Items of interest during his period were:
1. The College Institutions formed during Peiris' tenure as principal, numbered 33
2. The Sports Trophies won constitute a record - 269 Trophies & Championships.
The Cricket Team lost only one match out of 128 games (won 36) between August 1972 and December 1980. The Academic achievements were "First Class". Principal Peiris' regime was a Golden Era, surpassing the eras of Harward and Reed. He retired from Government Service in December 1980. Principal Peiris reintroduced the Grade 6 Admission Tests, and the teaching of French, German & Japanese. Royal reached the high water mark of its 145 years History during Principal Peiris' regime.


Colombopatabendige Titus Marcus Fernando           

1981/86 - CTM Fernando was principal when Royal celebrated its 150th Anniversary. The items of interest

During this period,

  • Opening of J.R. Jayewardene Pavilion (1985)
  • Baseball was introduced
  • Government made land available for the new Rugby grounds on site of old Race Course at Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha (1986)
  • Carnival for 150th anniversary, was organised for fund raising for pavilion
  • Initiated the first Rural Development Project by a Colombo College (with Royal College, United Nations Club and National Housing Development Authority at Haldola village in Ratnapura District- The village integration project was named RAJASISUGAMA - a beneficial social service project


B. Suriyaarachchi
1986/1994 - B. Suriyaarachchi was the next Principal

  • In 1994 the best results in GCE A/L Exam were recorded by Royal College a record of 27 students with 4 distinctions
  • New Rugby grounds came into use
  • In keeping with government policy, mixed Sinhalese and Tamil classes were restarted
  • Royal received its largest single donation ever, (Rs. 500,000) from Old Royalist L.M.Maarlyn Dias (plus another anonymous Old Royalist donating Rs. 400,000 for the Gymnasium)



during his period revived entry to "A"Level Arts exam. Initiated Colours awarding ceremony for sportsmen (1997) and introduced broadcast of School song at opening of College daily (English) and at close daily

He initiated the building of the War memorial for Old Royalists who made the supreme sacrifice in the ethnic conflict which lasted for 3 decades.


Mr.Honnatarage Lakshman Bertram Gomes

Born on the 7th of October 1940 he had his entire secondary education at Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa and excelled in the Academic field and the Co-curricular activities. Due to his excellent performance in school career, Mr. Gomes was awarded the Gold Medal for the Best ALL ROUND STUDENT in 1960 and the Dr. C.L.X. Muthukumara Scholarship for the Best Student of the university entrance class.

Mr. Gomes graduated from the University of Peradeniya, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He obtained the Diploma in Education in 1971 with the best results of the year and was awarded the certificate in Development of Management skills for principals in 1990. He added another feather to his cap by being successful at the Sri Lanka Educational Administrative Service Class I.
Mr. Gomes started his career as a graduate teacher at Dodangoda Maha Vidyalaya from May 1964 to June 1964 and functioned as the Vice Principal of the School from July 1964 to December 1968. He joined his
Alma Mater as a Staff Member in January 1960 and climbed the ladder of success to become a Deputy Principal of Prince of Wales College from March 1987 to January 1989 and the Principal from February 1989 to 1997. The respect earned by him while serving this college is a testimony to his competence, indefatigable effort and commitment. The excellent performance with commendable results was the key to his succession to be appointed as the Principal of the Royal College.
Mr. Gomes has extended his knowledge of education not only to schools but also to higher education and spread it far and wide even reaching foreign countries. While being a Lecturer Grade II of the Training College from March 1973 to April 1975, he functioned as an Assistant Lecturer of the Department of Education, Vidyodaya Campus temporarily. Mr. Gomes held the post of the Head of the Department of Educational Psychology at the Teachers' College Maharagama, as a Senior Lecturer, Grade I. He was seconded for service and attached to the NIE from June 1986 to March 1987, as a Lecturer, Grade I, in curriculum development.
Mr. Gomes served as a Senior Master Lecturer of Geography & Education at the Training College, Nigeria from June 1983 to April 1986. Mr. Gomes displayed his capabilities in the field of education with many responsibilities as a teacher educator, lecturer in University, NIE, Curriculum centre and Ministry of Education.
As an Educator Mr. Gomes has extended his service to society by involving himself in honorary work, being a lecturer of the Red Cross Society, Colombo, Bikku Training Institute, Maharagama and engaged in panels of talks and discussions with teachers, youths and prefect.
Additionally, he has taken the role of an External Examiner PGDM & B.Ed and Chief Examiner Pertaining to A/L Subject & PGDE. Mr. Gomes was also appointed to serve on various committees such as the Presidential Task Force on Education Reforms and Restructure of the Technical Committee on Performance Appraisal of Teachers and the Committee of Creating Awareness - Resource Person (Media). The other Committees are Development and Upgrading of Schools under the Secondary Educational Development Project.

From 1997 until 2003 as the Principal of Royal College, he was able to improve standards of Academic performances, Sports and Infrastructure of the College. Some of the noteworthy achievements are as follows.

• Excellent Academic performances at Ordinary Level and Advanced Level Examinations.
• Completion of the Sports Complex, costing Rs. 70 millions, with accommodation for over 10,000 spectators, funded by Old Boys and well wishers.
• A new building consisting of 15 classrooms in the Primary Section.
• Modern Computer Centre with facilities to learn information technology.
• A staff room in the middle school.

Principal Gomes passed away on the 25th of March 2010.

Note: Some notes on Principals have been culled from reminiscences of Old Boys written in the Royal College Magazines. These reminiscences cover the period from the year 1845, the first article was by J.B. Siebel in the Royal College Magazine (1895) and by many others whose names are given in this History. The dates of birth, etc. of Principals prior to 1954 have been taken from the Ceylon Almanac, the Blue Book, The Civil List and the book "A List of Inscriptions of Tombstones and Monuments in Ceylon of Historical Interest with an Obituary of People commemorated" by J.P. Lewis CCS (Ceylon Govt. Record Office 1913). Some of the information on recent Principals was supplied by Principal, Royal College.


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