|Content Note||Topics discussed:|
Apologies for Absence received from Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore and Sir William Halcrow.
Death of Lady Peacock
Announcement of death of Lady Peacock, late wife of Sir Edward Peacock, G.C.V.O., Senior Trustee of the Commission’s Endowment Fund.
Visit of the President to War Cemeteries in Libya
Report on informal visit by the Commission’s President H.R.H. The Duke of Gloucester to cemeteries in Libya, including Tobruk and Acroma (Knightsbridge). Comments regarding letter from His Royal Highness in which he expressed he was pleased with the progress of constructional work as pointed out to him by Colonel Peek.
Benediction ceremonies held in the United States Military Cemeteries at Brookwood and Madingley
Note on the benediction ceremonies held at the American cemeteries at Brookwood and Madingley (Cambridge) and reading of comments by General Clayton Bissell (Military and Air Attaché at the American Embassy, London) expressing thanks for the Commission’s assistance with the ceremonies and with the temporary and permanent programme for the burial of American war dead in Britain, with comment that roughly 60% of the bodies of American soldiers would be repatriated.
India and South East Asia District
Update on the cancellation of a tour of India and South-East District planned for Major Colin St. Clair Oakes, Principal Architect, due to a car accident before Christmas 1947, with note that tour was instead undertaken by Brigadier Obbard, (Chief Administrative Officer) and Brigadier Barker (Director of Works), who provided a report.
Visit of Canadian Parents to the Graves of their two sons
Note of a visit to the Commission’s London Office by a Mr Ward, a Canadian, to express his gratitude for how his two sons’ graves were being kept at Great Bircham (St. Mary) Churchyard and Hottot-les-Bagues War Cemetery respectively, with note that while Mr and Mrs Ward were at Great Bircham they had been invited to visit Sandringham where they had spoken to the Queen.
Correspondence with the Civil Service Clerical Association
Report on a circular letter and correspondence sent to the Commission’s President H.R.H. The Duke of Gloucester, and to all other members of the Commission, by the Civil Service Clerical Association, with note of reply written on the advice of the UK Treasury stating that the Commission must insist that it was for them to decide if a particular clerk was at a particular grade, and further note that the UK Treasury had advised the Commission against receiving a deputation from the Association, which was agreed.
Definition of War Graves: Deserters
Discussion regarding the definition of a war grave and treatment with regards to the subject of desertion, and approval of slight alteration of wording of resolution by the Australian Government
Items of interest
circulation of a note of the more interesting items of interest, including details of cemeteries handed over to the Commission since the last meeting.
Vice-Chairmanship of the Commission
resolution passing the appointment of Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith, VC, KCB to succeed Major-General Sir Fabian Ware as Vice-Chairman of the Commission following Sir Fabian’s retirement in June, and to act in the capacity of Vice-Chairman until that time, with discussion on the content and timing of the press announcement of this, and decision to postpone the definition of the duties of the role until Admiral Dunbar-Nasmith assumed office.
Report of the 346th Meeting of the Finance Committee
with discussion on question of payments for personal inscriptions by next-of-kin; and note of a meeting between representatives of the Commission with the Transport and General Workers Union regarding allowances paid to Commission staff in France and Holland
Twenty-Eight Annual Report of the Commission
Discussion about the Twenty-Eighth Annual Report, in which a question about the varying dates in the report was addressed and a further question acknowledged that the Treasury had asked whether the Commission would consider cutting down the publication of the Annual Report by issuing the report every two years instead of annually, which was strongly rebuffed
Draft Supplemental Charter: Termination of the 1939-45 War and Representation on the Commission of Indian and Pakistan
Presentation of paper regarding the draft supplemental charter, with comment from Captain Foster that the first object of the Charter was to give validity to the fixing of the 31st December 1947 as the termination of the 1939-45 war, and the second object was to put beyond all possibility of legal doubt the separate representation of India and Pakistan in their new status under the Indian Independence Act 1947; with approval of draft.
Palestine – Post War Graves
Discussion about post-war graves in Palestine with suggestion that the Commission’s non-war pattern headstone would be used to mark graves of post-war service burials in Palestine.
Secretary-Generalship of the Canadian Agency
Discussion about Secretary-Generalship of the Commission’s Canadian Agency, following comments from Colonel Osborne that he wished to retire and resolution that he would be succeeded by Mr A. Lewis Watson in the role.
Flags and Flagstaffs in Cemeteries Overseas
Explanation of the Commission’s policy regarding flags and flagstaffs in cemeteries, stating that it was always intended that the Cross of Sacrifice be the central feature in a cemetery rather than a flagstaff, that flags tended to be flown during the periods in which the army were in control of a cemetery, and that it was considered that the Commission cemeteries were sufficiently distinctive to not require a ‘sign-post’ in the form of a flag. It was also suggested that where the Commission could not provide a guard for a flag in a foreign country, it was not impossible that regrettable incidents might occur. Resolution passed that (except at Etaples and other cemeteries in the case of which the Commission have approved special exception) the flying of flags was restricted to special occasions only.
Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith, V.C., K.C.B. (Vice-Chairman Designate, in the Chair)
J.P. Sigvaldason, Esq. (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)
D.V. Serrurier, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
W.B. England, Esq., M.B.E. (Representing the High Commissioner for India)
Colonel W.F. Rendell, C.B.E. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
General Sir Robert Gordon Finlayson, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
Colonel Sir John Chute, C.M.G., D.S.O., J.P.
Colonel the Rt. Hon. the Lord Wigram, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., C.S.I.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Hopkins, G.C.B.
Harold Neal, Esq., M.P.
Also in attendance
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen, C.B.E. (Adviser on Post-War Organisation and Reconstruction)
Brigadier F. Higginson, C.M.G. (Secretary)
F C. Sillar, Esq., C.B.E. (Assistant Secretary, Finance)
Lieut.-Colonel R.W. Bateman (Director of Works)
Brigadier J.K. McNair, C.B.E.
E.J. King, Esq., M.C.
Major W.K.K. Kinnear (Acting Director of Records)
Captain H.P.R. Foster (Legal Assistant)
Major F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
P.R. Trevelyan Thomson, Esq.