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Circulation, approval, and signing of the Minutes of the 270th Meeting.
Apologies for absence received from Sir John Kennedy, the Adjutant-General, Sir Frederic Kenyon and Sir William Halcrow.
General Roberts, the Commission’s Chief Administrative Officer in France and Belgium, had been asked to attend the meeting and had spent a few days with Brigadier Higginson in France and Belgium.
Review Of Recent Events
Mention from the Vice-Chairman that a further party of ten gardeners had left for France on 6 July and another party would be leaving in a day or two. The men were being sent over at a rate of ten a fortnight.
Major-General Roberts reported a satisfactory rate of progress and that it would impossible to cope with more for the present.
Ramleh War Cemetery Extension was taken over by the Commission on 31 May, and also Shaiba Indian Cemetery on 7 June.
The High Commissioner for Canada was present at Brookwood Military Cemetery on Dominion Day (1 July) when the Canadian branch of the British Legion made its annual pilgrimage.
Conference of municipal authorities was to be held in London on 20 September to discuss general questions of cemetery administration in the United Kingdom and would include a formal visit to Brookwood Military Cemetery.
Mention by Major Murphy that the last of such conferences had been held at Portsmouth in 1939.
On 19 September, Lord Chatfield, President of the War Memorials Advisory Council of the Royal Society of Arts, would address the delegates on the subject of War Memorials.
Comment from Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore that he recently visited one of the Portsmouth cemeteries and found its condition very different from that of Brookwood.
Mention of letter received from British soldier stationed in Italy asking for the location of Tezze British Cemetery and that he had followed with a further letter to commend the condition of the cemetery and staff responsible for maintaining it.
Update on visit to Dublin by Captain Vesper, the Commission’s Inspector for Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.
Ceremonies were held at Arras and Ypres in connection with VE Day.
Comments about maintenance of cemeteries in France and Belgium referring to the authorities and local people engaged.
Vice-Chairman mentioned Hautrage cemetery had been visited by a member of the Commission’s staff and seemed to be the only cemetery in Belgium on which an adverse report had been received.
Captain Grinham had represented the Commission at a French ceremony held on 17 June to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Hebuterne.
The High Commissioner for Palestine and other officials had placed wreaths on the Cross of Sacrifice Jerusalem Cemetery for Anzac Day. The Greek community had also laid wreaths on VE Day.
The Admiralty had now agreed to the marking of present war graves at the Royal Naval Cemetery, Capuccini, Malta, by standard wooden crosses.
Mentions conversations with War Memorials Advisory Council of the Royal Society of Arts to consider and recommend proposals for the commemoration of the dead of the present war in the manner of plaques in Westminster Abbey and various cathedrals abroad.
Update on proposed memorial to the Civilian War Dead and meetings with the Dean of Westminster.
Mention of notices in the Press about the short account sent about war graves in the Channel Islands, with reference to the Inspector’s visit in 8 o’clock news bulletin in the BBC Home Service.
Report Of The 315th Meeting Of The Finance Committee
Adoption of the report with references to:
Item 5, which concerned certain temporary appointments to the Commission’s staff in France and Belgium, with comments about difficulty in securing suitable men for positions, the employment of French women in clerk roles, the appointment of Chief Accountant following Colonel Haworth’s resignation, and letters received from Army officers leaving the service who were asking about prospects of employment with the Commission.
Present War Graves In India
Update on subject that Sir Samuel was obtaining the views of the Government of India as rapidly as possible.
Definition Of A War Grave – Auxiliary Organisations
Resolution that the recommendations as to certain auxiliary organisations to be accorded war graves recognition put forward by the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, be approved.
British Seamen Serving In Foreign Ships
Update on the question of the war graves treatment of merchant seamen whose deaths were due to enemy action at sea, referring to guidance from the Ministry of War Transport and recommendations put forward to that Department.
Negotiations With Allied Representatives – Ninth Report
Refers to report, with mention that Brigadier McNair, Colonel Chettle and the Vice-Chairman had recently met with Sir Neville Bland to discuss the acquisition of land for 1939-1945 war graves in Holland and other questions affecting administration of the cemeteries.
Question of Polish Navy graves with reply from Colonel Chettle that no Polish Naval burials had taken place during the period under review, or at any rate had been reported to the Commission.
Maintenance Of War Graves In The United Kingdom – 11th Quarterly Report
Comments about graves in the Channel Islands, including suggestion that the Commission might wish to send an expression of thanks to the Bailiff of Jersey was his action in setting aside the war cemetery in the Howard Davis Park at St. Helier.
Question from General Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson about the removal of German graves with response from Mr Murphy explaining the difficulty had arisen in 1940 during the Battle of Britain when in Kent alone Germans had been buried in 67 different burials places.
Pressure brought on the Commission to have German graves at Portsmouth and Northern Ireland removed.
Refers to visit by Joint Committee to Germany and remarks on the way in which the Germans looked after British graves throughout the war.
Comments about strong local feeling in Belgium in regard to providing land for cemeteries where German soldiers may be buried.
Headstone Badge Designs – Third Report.
Mention that on page 2 paragraph 3 of the report, the words “India Office” should have read “Office of the High Commissioner for India”.
Date Of Next Meeting
The next meeting would be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday 16 August 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 Commissioner for Australia)
C. Knowles, Esq., C.B.E. (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
I.T. Meyer, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
D. James Davies, Esq., C.B.E., J.P. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
Sir Samuel Runganadhan (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., J.P.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore, G.C.B., D.S.O., D.L.
There were also present:
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen, C.B.E. (Adviser on Post-War Organisation and Reconstruction)
Brigadier J.K. McNair, C.B.E. (Director of Graves Registration and Enquiries, War Office)
Major-General J.H. Roberts, C.B., D.S.O., M.C. (Chief Administrative Officer, Central European District)
Lieut.-Colonel H.F. Chettle, C.M.G., C.B.E. (Director of Records)
F.C. Sillar, Esq. (Assistant Secretary, Finance)
Major R.W. Murphy, M.B.E. (Area Superintendent, United Kingdom)
Captain F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
Lieutenant O.D. Holt