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1  GENERAL / Reminiscing / The 1971 Insurgency in the Uva area. on: August 10, 2008, 10:35:33 AM
At the time the Insurgency occurred, Ranjan Wijeratne was on Demodra Group and I was on Battawatte Estate in Madulsima. Ranjan was on the Council of the P.A. and also a Planting Representative in the C.E.E.F. He requested me to arrange transport of essential foostuffs from Colombo to Uva using estate lorries and also to persuade groups of planters within the district, to patrol certain main roads in the vicinity of their estates, armed with shotguns available on their estates, several times a day.

These assignments were to be undertaken by liasing with the Government Agent in Badulla and with the members of the Police Force who were stationed throughout the district.

He made this request as, at that time, I was representing Uva as District Chairman at  the Planters' Association and the Ceylon Estate Employers' Federation in Colombo.

The former assignment went off well, as estates' lorries took consignments of tea to Colombo and returned with essential foodstuffs to the estates which distributed them to workers within the estates. I remember 'patrolling' the main road from Madulsima town passing Verellapatana, Galloola, Battawatte, Cocogalla estates to Roeberry and back to the town.

In these 'patrols' I was joined by Cyril Fernando, Dick Van Houten and Panditha Jayatunge each with an estate hand-me-down unloaded shotgun in untried and dubious condition. Patrols went on for no more than three or four days and were thankfully uneventful.

In hindsight, I believe we were not only foolish to have undertaken these patrols but also very lucky in that we were not ambushed and slain by the insurgents. We had been quite unaware that they had not only infiltrated the areas that we passed but also had been observing our patrols as we passed them on long isolated stretches of roads.

Later, a resolution was unanimously passed at a district meeting of the PA. that it was decided that Planters ought not to be required to carry out obviously dangerous 'policing' work by patrolling public roads to keep them safe from insurgents.

Tony Perera
2  GENERAL / Reminiscing / Richard Wynell-Mayow on: August 10, 2008, 09:19:59 AM
I have added the name of Mr Richard Wynell-Mayow in the Planters' Register. However, I have no information on his planting career in the years before I served under him as SD from 1961 until 1967, having taken over the Upper Division of Craig Estate, Bandarawela from the late Ubhaya de Silva.
Mr Mayow was well known for having increased the yield per acre on Craig substantially with his close attention to timely plucking rounds and applications of fertiliser. There was very little about plantation management that he wasn't aware of and was always ready to share with his SD's and friends. If there was anyone who earned the respect of others by his kindness and readiness to teach, it was certainly Mr. Mayow. If he disagreed with a suggestion made, he would clearly state the reasons why, immediately, and that too became a learning experience.
During the time I was his SD, the following were also undertaken and successfully completed by Mr. Mayow. A factory expansion costing over Rs 300,000, the successful introduction in the older tea fields of Shear Plucking, the use of Rotorvanes in the rolling room, supplying both the Big and Small bungalows with A/C 220 volt electricity, replanting an acre per annum and not having more than one percent of casualties in any year. Each year, he had many visitors who came to see the results of his vegetatively propogated clones of tea, planted in the one acre "show-pieces." If he was absent from Craig, for more than a week, at any time, it was because he was on other estates as their Visiting Agent. He was one of the most sought after V.A's of his time.
He was probably one of the planters who left the industry and the country at the very end of the exodus of non-national planters. I can say with a great deal of certainty that there was never a planter that I knew, during the 21 years that I was associated with the tea industry in Ceylon, who was more knowledgeable, innovative and most importantly approachable to many.
He passed away while living in Oxford when he was in his mid-eighties. His wife, Eileen, entered an assisted living facility close to their home soon after his death.

Tony Perera
3  GENERAL / History of Ceylon Tea website / Re: More Compliments. on: August 10, 2008, 09:15:40 AM
Thank you for sending me the Link to the "new" History of Tea in Ceylon. You have done a splendid job with this Link, as its Editor.
Vije Johnpillai sent this to me last week and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading, so far, the Minutes of the DMCC and the article written by Moira Colin-Thome of her visit to Killarney Estate on which I was the SD, for two years 1959-1961 when Douglas Kelly occupied the Big Bungalow and I, the spruced up Tea Maker bungalow.

Tony Perera
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