Personal Information
Born:9th July 1912
Died:8th February 1998
Nationality:Sri Lankan
Education:Royal College, Colombo
Occupation:Senior Superintendent of Police
Spouse:Claire De Alwis
Parents:James Alfred Corea and Eugenie Corea

DON HENRI RICHARD ATTYGALLE COREA or Henri Corea as he was best known, was the Founder President of the Edirimana Corea Family Union (ECFU). He realized that as the family grew and spread they were drifting apart, especially the younger generations who did not know their cousins. Visiting relatives he instilled in them a pride, in the family heritage. Delving into historical archives, visiting archeological sites where ancestors ruled and interviewing Buddhist monks inhabiting the monasteries in those areas Henri charted the lineage of the Corea clan. Meeting with the families he painstakingly laid out the family-tree, which is today exhibited on this website.

Henri, born on the 9th of July 1912, was the only son of James Alfred Corea and Eugenie Corea. He had but one sibling his elder sister Amybelle. Educated at Royal College, Colombo, a sergeant of the Cadet Platoon, it was the influence of his uncles, Theodore P. Attygalle, the first Sinhalese Deputy Inspector General of Police and his brother Henry also a Police Officer, that prompted him to enlist as a Sub-Inspector of Police. And throughout his police career, was known to be a strict disciplinarian. Henri lost his father when he was four years of age, but came under the steadying influence of his godfather Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike and his father’s cousin and close friend Victor Corea. He married Claire Maud, the daughter of Gate Mudaliyar Gerald De Alwis and his wife Alice.

Henri, was gifted his first horse by Sir Soloman. A founder member and Secretary of the Colombo Horse Club under the Patronage of his cousin Sir John Kotalawela Henri organized Paper-chases on horse-back, rides along the beach to Kandawela for lunch hosted by Sir.John and moon-lit rides back, during those carefree mid 1950’s. Policemen of the Mounted Division would also participate. As the first Officer-in-Charge, with Gerald Leembruggen his Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Henri established the Colombo City Traffic Branch in the early 1950’s. He started the `Traffic Circus’ as a tool to educate both young and old, especially students, on road safety. The team rehearsed hard as the accidents simulated were at high speed and the skits played out hilarious. As an Assistant Superintendent of Police in charge of `Traffic & Information’ he wrote a daily column on traffic in the `Observer’ news-paper titled, ‘We are telling You’.

He was appointed to escort visiting dignitaries and royalty visiting the island, including, Prince and Princess Mikasa of Japan, Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia and Chou En Lai of China. He earned the sobriquet of `Deer Henri’ when King Mahendra of Nepal shot a magnificent stag in the Wilpattu Sanctuary on the night of the 17th March 1957. The King was a State Guest at the 2500th Anniversary Celebrations of the Lord Buddha’s birth. The resulting political storm threatened to unseat the Government of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, the son of Sir Solomon. The authorization to enter the sanctuary that night was signed by then Minister, the late Jayaweera Kuruppu who was present, which document was in Henri’s possession. His regard for Sir Solomon prompted him to take the rap to assist the Government tide over the embarrassment. In appreciation, King Mahendra gifted to Henri his personal ceremonial ‘Kukri’ and gold `smoking Set’. He was transferred to Kurunegala in 1958 where he faced the riots and then to Kandy the following year. After a short stint in Colombo he returned to serve in Kurunegala once again in 1961. Defying, an overnight transfer to Jaffna on a matter of principal he demanded an inquiry. Exonerated, but labeled as disloyal to the government of Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, he was transferred to Ratnapura and retired in 1964. Re-instated by the Public Service Commission he rose to the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police, but opted to a premature retirement in 1970 when Mrs. Bandaranaike’s Government was returned to Power.

During his service in the Police and his tenure at Lake House as Security Manager, Henri and his lifelong friend Edward (Bugs) Mason, promoted the Soap-Box Derby, Old Crocks Rally, Reliability Trials and Cycle Races. He introduced the Sports Carnival where, Hackery Races, Pony Races and Elephant Races were conducted at the Colombo Race Course. Henri devoted his time to his dogs, exhibiting Boxers and Ridgebacks. In retirement he devoted his time to history and research. He contributed a series of historical romances to the Sunday Observer, under the pen-name AEROC. 

Henri was a teetotaler and abhorred gambling. Henri and Claire ensured that their six children Ilona, Randunna, Devadunna, Uttumdunna, Ranmali and Aruni attended Sunday School and service. Through the turbulent periods it was Claire by his side and his faith in God that gave Henri the strength to face the adversities that came his way. Studying the Bible in his last years he was mellowed person. He passed away on the 8th of February 1998 and was accorded a ceremonial police funeral. The many people from all walks of life who attended, were a tribute to his memory.


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