It is not exactly known as to when Diyatalawa became a training Station for troops, but available records show that it was selected around 1885, when the British Military first established a battalion at Diyatalawa. At that time training was conducted at the Imperial Camp. Prisoners of the Boer War were imprisoned here. During the World War I an internment camp for enemy aliens was set up. It is at an altitude of 1,499 m (4,918 ft) and has become a popular destination for local holiday makers since ancient times. The Royal Navy had a holiday station; HMS Uva was situated at Diyatalawa with recreational facilities; this was later taken over by the Royal Ceylon Navy in 1956, commissioning it as HMCYS Rangalla and established its training center there. They had to move out in 1962 and it was taken over by Gemunu Watch troops. It is a home to the Diyatalawa Garrison of the Ceylon Army which gives evidence to consider Diyatalawa as the garrison town.
Early administration and training was carried out by (RAF) officers and other rank instructors, who were seconded to the R Cy A F. After Sri Lanka gained its independence in 1948, all military facilities were taken over by the Sri Lanka Army and Navy. In 1952 the Royal Ceylon Air Force established Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Diyatalawa in the central highlands of Sri Lanka in the Badulla District of Uva Province. The establishment was taken over from the Royal Ceylon Air Force on 15th October 1952 at the “Stable Hill” where “Bently Parade Ground” is existed now. The camp area was used as a stable during the British rule; even now you can witness the remaining old buildings which have been converted as ballets were used as stables. Flt Lt JVP Howard was fortunate enough to become the first Commanding Officer of the Ceylon Air Force Diyatalawa Camp.
History in Pictures