In 1942, during the Second World War, the campus of S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia was taken over by the British Army to serve as a military hospital. The students of the School were scattered and small branches were started at Getambe, Milagiriya and at Gurutalawa on a Farm donated to college earlier in 1942 by a relation of the then Warden Canon R S de Saram, Leslie de Saram. Gurutalawa became the first full branch of the parent school at Mount Lavinia.
Warden C H Davidson in his Prize Day speech as Chief Guest at Gurutalawa quoted the poet Wordsworth: ‘TWO Voices are there; one is of the sea, One of the mountains; each a mighty Voice…’ so S. Thomas’ College has existed in Mount Lavinia and in a very different form at Gurutalawa since 1942. To date, both schools, though situated geographically apart, share the same motto, colours, flag and traditions.
In 1946 when the war ended and the exiled Thomians returned to Mount Lavinia, Canon de Saram and Dr Hayman decided to continue to maintain the Gurutalawa campus. S. Thomas’ College, Gurutalawa was to continue as an integral part of the main school until at least 1964 after which circumstances pushed the two campuses apart into two separate entities.
On Friday the 20th of May 2016, this historic link between these two counterparts is celebrated. This year’s celebration will commence with a service in the Chapel of the Transfiguration at S. Thomas’, Mount Lavinia (at 7.40am), followed by the annual cricket match between the two schools.
Old boys and well-wishes of both schools are warmly welcome to join the service and to participate in strengthening the links between these two schools for the years to come.
By V E C Perera
Courtesy, STC Media Unit.