Celebrating the hotel’s history of warmly receiving memorable people, The Galle Face Hotel recently welcomed Commander Anthony Pearse as he sailed his way back to Sri Lanka after 72 years. His last visit to the Galle Face Hotel was in 1943.
Commander Pearse entered the Royal Navy at the age of 18 and fought bravely during the Japanese war. He was appointed commander in chief of the Kenyan Navy heading a training team in the country and was involved in fiery politics in Malta during his time there his many experiences inspired him to write his book ‘From Stormy Seas to Calmer Waters. The book is a colourful illustration containing personal tragedies and successes that he obtained during 37 years of experiences in Her Majesty’s Royal Navy and 15 further years in commerce.
He writes in his book, of his visit to the Galle Face Hotel in 1943, “…found three young gentlemen enjoying the delights of the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo. Those who will have stayed there on holiday will recollect the calm and essentially colonial atmosphere, and so it was after their swim, that the three were devouring cucumber sandwiches washed down by Earl grey tea whilst languishing in the comfortable wicker chairs of the lounge, All this to the delicate strains produced from the strings of violins in the hands of three ladies of an indeterminate age in cocktail frocks. Alive to the realities, the sound of very low flying aircraft had the effect of disappearance under the tables of the majority of the clientele. Rising sheepishly, a few minutes later, it was with considerable embarrassment that it was realized that “we’ll gather lilacs” had continued without a note having been lost, by the three old dears. Somerset Maugham I think!.” (From Stormy Seas to Calmer Waters, by Commander Anthony Pearse).
Having being established in 1864, The Galle Face Hotel still continues to carry its legacy of ‘Timeless Grandeur” by serving many a man and purpose thus proving its presence as a proud landmark of a bygone era.
Many such stories, Commander Pearse’s being one of dozens, still delight those who have an association with the Galle Face Hotel.