Reverend Canon Ivan Corea mentioned in ‘The Most Dangerous Moment of the War – Japan’s attack on the Indian Ocean’ book


Vernon and Ernest Corea’s late father, the Reverend Canon Ivan Corea has been mentioned in a book, ‘The Most Dangerous Moment of the War – Japan’s Attack on the Indian Ocean, 1942,’ by writer John Clancy. The book mentions that Reverend Canon Ivan Corea was preaching in a service at St. Luke’s Church Borella in Sri Lanka when the Japanese zero aircraft attacked Colombo on the 5th of April, 1942. RAF Hurricane Aircraft engaged the Japanese zero aircraft high above the church that morning.


The Church of Ceylon – The Anglican Church in Sri Lanka

Vernon Corea was linked to three churches in Sri Lanka – St. Luke’s Church Borella, St. Paul’s Church Milagiriya and The Church of St.Mark in Badulla. Vernon’s father, Reverend Canon Ivan Corea was Vicar of St.Luke’s Borella and St. Paul’s Milagiriya. Here are pictures of many churches in the Church of Ceylon – the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka.

Vernon and his wife Monica were married at St. Mark’s Church in Badulla.

Lord Louis Mountbatten and Wartime Radio in Ceylon

Lord Louis Mountbatten moved his base to Ceylon in April 1944, here Liord Mountbatten arrives at the RAF Base in Koggala, Sri Lanka during World War II.

Lord Louis Mountbatten moved his base to Ceylon in April 1944. Here Lord Mountbatten arrives at the RAF Base in Koggala, Sri Lanka during World War II.

Lord Louis Mountbatten moved the RADIO SEAC operations from New Delhi first to Kandy and then to Colombo during World War II. This was Ceylon’s first ever wartime radio station and it played a vital role from 1944 – 1946. During this time Vernon and Ernest were teenagers, living at the Vicarage of St.Luke’s Church in Borella. Like many Ceylonese families and many listeners all over the world they tuned into on their wireless sets to the BBC. One day that young teenager in Borella, listening with his family to the BBC, would be the Corporation’s Ethnic Minorities Adviser and BBC Local Radio’s first ever Asian Programmes Officer.

Radio SEAC played a vital role during World War II broadcasting for 18-20 hours on the 19 meter band at 15.120 mhz. A poweful shortwave transmitter was set up in Ekala, the announcers operated from the studios in Colombo.

Radio programs and important announcements including the speeches of Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Lord Louis Mountbatten were beamed from Ceylon right across India, Burma, Malaya, Singapore. It went a long way in boosting morale of the troops stationed in these countries. David Jacobs and Desmond Carrington (who later fronted programs on BBC Radio 2 in London) were the popular English announcers of Radio SEAC operating from Ceylon – they introduced request programs and programs for loved ones back in the United Kingdom. The songs of Bing Crosby were very popular with the forces at the time – they sent in so many requests to Radio SEAC.

Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten was the favourite Uncle of His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales who has himself visited the island of Sri Lanka. Vernon Corea met Prince Charles in the 1980s when he was the BBC’S Ethnic Minorities Adviser.

Here is a rare film of Independence Day in Ceylon in 1967 at Galle Face Green in Colombo with the Prime Minister of Ceylon Dudley Senanayake and the Governor-General of Ceylon William Gopallawa – on the side of the platform is Lord Louis Mountbatten with former Governor-General of Ceylon Sir Oliver Goonetilleke watching the proceedings:

Ceylon Independence Day 1967

Ceylon Independence Day 1967

Newspaper article from 17th April 1944 stating that Admiral Moutbatten had moved his headquarters to Ceylon:

Lord Mountbatten addresses the personnel on board the USS Saratoga in Trincomalee Ceylon in 1944:

The Battle for Ceylon – 5th April 1942 – Japanese Newsreel on the bombing of Colombo and Trincomalee

Vernon Corea was just 15 years old when the Japanese made a surprise attack on Colombo, Ceylon on the 5th of April 1942 bombing parts of the city. Vernon was living at the vicarage at St.Luke’s Church Borella in Colombo. His father Reverend Canon Ivan Corea was preaching at St.Luke’s Church, Borella at the time the Japanese attacked Ceylon. His mother Ouida Corea and brother Ernest were also there at the Easter Sunday Service at St.Luke’s, the church was packed.

RAF Hurricanes flew out of the Colombo Racecourse grounds nearby to intercept the Japanese zero aircraft high above St. Luke’s Church Borella. Vernon witnessed the Battle for Ceylon from right outside the church. The Japanese Fleet followed that up by bombing Trincomalee and sinking the British carrier HMS Hermes off the east coast of Sri Lanka.

We found some Japanese newsreel on the worldwide web from 28th April 1942, filming the Battle for Ceylon and the bombing of Trincomalee. The newsreel shows Japanese zero attack aircraft and zero bombers taking off from Japanese aircraft carriers to attack Colombo on the 5th of April 1942 on Easter Sunday.

Here is a short film on youtube from Wikipedia on the Easter Sunday Raid:

Vernon Corea’s last flight was on Air Lanka to Colombo Sri Lanka

Vernon Corea’s last flight to Sri Lanka was in August 1991. He flew on Air Lanka LIOII – Tristar to Bandaranaike International Airport from London. While he was in Colombo he attended his son’s wedding. He visited the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and visited old friends – he didn’t fail to attend the English Service at St.Luke’s Church Borella. He also visited Chilaw – the family home town for the last time in 1991.

Air Lanka Postcard - The Air Lanka LIOII Tristar aircraft - Vernon Corea flew on the Tristar.

The Stewardesses on Air Lanka

You Tube Film on Rev. Canon Ivan & Ouida Corea of St.Luke’s Church Borella

Watch the youtube film on Vernon Corea’s parents – Reverend Canon Ivan Corea and Ouida Corea of St.Luke’s Church Borella….