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Circulation, approval and signing of the Minutes of the 266th Meeting of the Commission.
Apologies for absence received from Mr Lawson, Sir John Kennedy, and the Adjutant-General.
Attendance Of The Director of Graves Registration And Enquiries At Meetings Of The Commission
Refers to the practice to appoint the Adjutant-General for the time being as a Member of the Commission. With the war creating difficulties for the Adjutant-General to attend Commission meetings, it was proposed that another representative (namely Brigadier J.K. McNair, the Director of Graves Registration and Enquiries) be invited to attend in an advisory capacity instead.
Review Of Recent Events
Colonel Higginson was recovering and hoped to return to duty the week following the Meeting.
Announcement of the death of Sir George Humphreys, formerly Honorary Consulting Engineer.
Announcement of death of Mr S.J. Jackson, the caretaker at Wooburn House and formerly 32 Grosvenor Gardens.
Major-General J.H. Roberts had departed to take up his appointment as Chief Administrative Officer in France and Belgium on March 12th.
The second party of Commission staff consisting of three Clerks, one Travelling Superintendent Gardener, one Travelling Craftsman and six Gardeners, had left this country on 3rd March with Lieut.-Colonel Haworth in command. Three of the party travelled to Arras and nine, went to Ypres to reopen the Commission's Branch Office in the Rue d’Elverdinge, which was its address before the war. The Branch Office at Albert had also been reopened.
Mentions a paragraph in the Daily Mail which stated that when American military authorities had reached Cologne, they had found the British graves in the Southern Cemetery well attended and for the most part undamaged. It was hoped one of the Commission’s gardeners who had formerly worked in Germany would be able to take charge of the graves. Also mentions a set of Registers for the late war cemeteries in Germany had been sent to Colonel Stott.
Colonel Peek, Deputy Director of Works, Western Mediterranean District, had reported the taking-over of the cemeteries at Oued-Zarga and Thibar in Tunisia. These were the first cemeteries in French North Africa to come under the Commission’s control and it was expected Mareth Guards Cemetery would be taken over on 6 March 1945.
The Commission’s Area Superintendent for Tunisia had visited the cemetery at Bizerta on 18 February 1945.
Reading of extract of letter that Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson had received from the Delegate of the Minister of Finance in Algiers.
Colonel Buller had sent some photographs of N’Gong Road Cemetery, Nairobi, which would be passed around for Members to see.
Captain Haigh, the Commission’s Area Superintendent in Iraq, had made a tour of inspection in Persia in January and visited the cemeteries at Kasvin, Hamadan and Teheran. Comments about repairs at Kasvin where Russian forces were in command of the town, snow at Hamadan, and condition at Akbarabad Cemetery.
Reports received regarding British Ambassador’s visit to Baghdad (North Gate) Cemetery on Armistice Day.
Mentions that wreaths had been laid at Jerusalem Cemetery by Field Marshal Lord Gort, the Chief Secretary, the United States Consul-General, the Polish Consul-General, the British Legion arid several Old Comrades' Associations.
Report Of The 311th Meeting Of The Finance Committee
Adoption of the report, with specific reference to:
Item 7, which concerned the purchase of graves in a neutral country.
Item 9, which recommended the issue of a statement by the Vice-Chairman to the staff informing them of benefits similar to a Civil Servant if injured on duty.
Item 10, which concerned the disposal of the superannuation benefits of a deceased gardener in a rather unusual direction.
Financial Authority To The Vice-Chairman
Resolution regarding the authority given to the Vice-Chairman to authorise minor items of expenditure and staff adjustments within the approved estimate for 1945, such authorities being reported to the Finance Committee for confirmation.
Visit Of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore And Mr J. Hubert Worthington To Gibraltar And Malta
Report of visit by Sir Arthur Longmore and Mr Worthington to Gibraltar and Malta, with comments about conditions of North Front Cemetery, the provision of a new Cross of Sacrifice at North Front Cemetery, a meeting of the Gibraltar Agency held during their stay.
Also mentions problems at Malta, where burial authorities had to make vaults and bury three or more bodies in one grave owing to the rock and shortage of space.
Comments about cemeteries at Addolorata, Pembroke, Imtarfa, Pieta, Capuccini (Bighi), Rinella, as well as meeting of the Malta Agency (chaired by General Sir Edmond Schreiber).
Brief discussion about temporary wooden crosses for graves at the naval cemetery at Malta.
Annual Report Of The Commission For The Year 1943-1944
Update on the Annual Report, including comments about printing difficulties and the publication of the report on 4 April 1945.
Report Of The Fourth Meeting Of The Anglo-Egyptian War Cemeteries Committee
Mentions since the meeting that the Prime Minister of Egypt had been killed.
Refers to Item 6, which referred to the proposal that Anglo-Egyptian War Graves Agreement should be extended to cover the graves of the present war.
Resumption Of The Commission’s Work In France And Belgium
Update on question asked in the House of Commons on what proportion of the Commission’s gardeners employed up to 1940 in France and Belgium had received permission to return to their duties and families in those countries, with 343 gardeners reported to be available for re-employment, of which 70 had already resumed their duties.
Comment from Vice-Chairman regarding his dissatisfaction with the rate at which staff were returning to work and noting the difficulty for the families of the gardeners in obtaining rations.
Date Of Next Meeting
The next meeting would be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday 19 April 1945.
Major-General Sir Fabian Ware, K.C.V.O., K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G., LL.D. (Vice-Chairman, in the Chair)
Colonel E.H. Jones, D.C.M., E.D. (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
V.C. Duffy, Esq., M.V.O. (Representing the High Commission for Australia)
C. Knowles, Esq., C.B.E. (Representing the High Commission for New Zealand)
I.T. Meyer, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
D. James Davies, Esq., C.B.E. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
S.N. Dutt, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for India)
Lieut.-Colonel S. J. Cole, C.M.G., O.B.E. (Representing the Secretary of State for the Colonies)
General Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith, V.C., K.C.B.
Colonel Sir John Shute, C.M.G., D. S.O., T.D., J.P., D.L., M.P.
Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore, G.C.B., D.S.O., D.L.
There were also present:
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Frederic Kenyon, G.B.E., K.C.B.
Colonel S.G.G. Fraser, M.C. (A.A.G., D.G.R.& E.)
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen, C.B.E. (Adviser on Post-War Organisation and Reconstruction)
Lieut.-Colonel H.F. Chettle, C.M.G., O.B.E. (Director of Records)
F.C. Sillar (Assistant Secretary, Finance)
Captain F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
Lieutenant O.D. Holt