|Content Note||Contents include:|
A statistical table of graves registered up to 31st March 1922, divided into British, Dominion and Colonial, Native African, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Mercantile Marine.
A statement of accounts and of the finances of the Commission up to 31st March 1922, including a reference to the inclusion of a new subhead (Appendix A) to provide for the acquisition of the sites of the graves of members of HM forces who are buried in the United Kingdom, expenditure under which falls on the Imperial Exchequer only.
Reference to the late Admiral Sir Edmund S. Poe being succeeded by Vice-Admiral Morgan Singer as the representative of the Royal Navy on the Commission, and to Sir Alfred Mond, Bt, M.P. ceasing to be an ex-officio member, having been an original member of the Commission and ever-present on the Finance Committee. Another original member Sir George Perley had also left having been succeeded as Canadian High Commissioner by Mr P. C. Larkin.
Reference to negotiations proceeding with the Germans regarding the interpretation of the clauses in the Peace Treaty relating to war graves, and implications for the cost of the Commission maintaining enemy graves in the United Kingdom. The decision by the Army Council in November 1921 that the military exhumation parties should be withdrawn from searching the battle area in France and Belgium, and agreements with the authorities in those countries that subsequent discoveries of remains should be reported to local representatives of the Commission to arrange for re-interment in existing military cemeteries. Following correspondence in the press in October and in November 1921 concerning the engraving of the age on headstones, which the Commission had previously left to the next-of-kin to decide if they wished to see included, the Commission decided that the age should be included in the official particulars above the religious emblem at an increased charge on Commission funds estimated at £40,000. Despite there being many cemeteries on the Western Front containing a higher proportion of unknown graves to known graves, the Commission decided nevertheless to erect headstones on all the unknown graves. Agreement of the participating governments that those members of the Mercantile Marine who lost their lives through enemy action during the war should be regarded as war graves, acknowledging that the great majority having no grave but the sea, the method of commemorating these is under consideration.
Update on progress with the construction of the new camps in France and Belgium in 8 areas reported in last year’s annual report, and summaries of the work of each of the ‘branches’ including that of the Horticultural Branch whose personnel numbered 1,327 on 31st March 1922, responsible for maintaining 2,898 cemeteries containing some 530,864 graves. There were 9 Travelling gardening parties who covered 11,450 miles and treated 387 cemeteries. A total of 347 acres of permanent grass has now been laid down and an estimated 238 miles of continuous flower borders. 8 nurseries were maintained by a staff of 40 men; 581 direction road direction boards were erected and approximately 14,260 amendments made to names on temporary crosses.
In addition to motor vehicles the Transport Branch is responsible for electric light, telephone and water including the operation of a pumping station at the main camp at St. Omer. The Works Branch reported all plans and surveys were completed except for cemeteries in the French devastated area. Crosses of Sacrifice were erected at 85 cemeteries and constructional work in a further 13 commenced. The principal cemeteries completed during the year were Calais Southern; Terlincthun; Les Baraques; Hop Store; Brandhoek Military and New Military; Longpre-les-Corps Saints; Crouy British; Ferme-Olivier; Boisguillaume Communal; Beauval Communal; Dainville Military; Le Peuplier Military and Morbecque British cemeteries.
In Italy the cemeteries mentioned in last year’s report have now been completed, and the memorial to the missing on the Italian front constructed in Giavera British Cemetery.
8 meetings of the Anglo-Egyptian War Cemeteries Executive Committee were held during the year with the chairmanship being passed to Dr. W. Hastings O.B.E. on the retirement of Mr John Langley C.B.E. The Deed of Gift making over the land for the 9 British and 5 Indian cemeteries in perpetuity was signed and passed in the Mixed Courts, Cairo, on 9th May 1921. Contracts for construction were placed for the cemeteries at Chatby; Hadra; Cairo; Ismailia; Kantara; Suez; Port Said; Minia and Tel-el-Kebir. A site for a general memorial to the missing of the Indian Army has been selected at Port Tewfik and funds voted for the construction of an Ophthalmic Laboratory in Cairo as a memorial to those of the Egyptian Labour Corps and Camel Transport Corps.
In Gallipoli the cemeteries in the Anzac area are Shell Green; 4th Battalion, Shrapnel Valley, Beach, Plugges Plateau, Ari Burnu, No.2 Outpost, Embarkation Pier, 7th Field Ambulance, Canterbury, Walkers Ridge, Hill 60, Lone Pine, Baby 700, Chunuk Bair, Johnston’s Jolly, Quinns Post, The Nek, Courtney’s and Steele’s Post, The Farm and No.2 Outpost New Zealand; in Helles area the cemeteries are V. Beach, Lancashire Landing, Skew Bridge, The Redoubt, Twelve Tree Copse and Pink Farm; and in Suvla area the cemeteries are Lala Baba, Green Hill, Hill 10 and Azmac. A contract was placed in May 1921 for their construction and designs are being prepared for the memorials at Lone Pine and Cape Helles to the missing.
On the Salonika Front the programme of concentration reducing the 14 cemeteries to the following 10 was completed: Mikra, Lembet Road Anglo-French, Monastir Road Indian, Kirechkeui, Struma, Lahana, Doiran Colonial Hill, Sarigol, Bralo and Karasouli. Elsewhere in the Balkan States concentration has been completed resulting in the following cemeteries: Kavalla, Dedegatch, Skopje (Uskab), Nish, Phillippopolis, Rustchuk Military and Rustchuk Jewish, Varna and Bucharest cemeteries have been designed by Sir Robert Lorimer.
The Government of Palestine has agreed to present the Commission with all the land required for the war cemeteries, and it is anticipated that the French administration in Syria will be able to present the land there. Contracts have been placed for the construction of Beersheba and Deir-el-Belah cemeteries. 3 small Indian cemeteries have been completed, namely Wilhelma Military, Sarona India and Sarona Military ("Mohammedan" Section). Trees have been planted in Jerusalem, Gaza, Ramleh and Beersheba. A memorial to the missing of the Forces who operated in Palestine is under consideration.
In Iraq where concentration has been ongoing there are to be 4 main cemeteries at Baghdad, Amara, Kut and Basrah for which designs are being prepared. Owing to the untimely death of the Commission’s representative in East Africa a reorganisation of staff and work has been undertaken, progress has been made with the cemetery at Nairobi and the Cross of Sacrifice erected.
In the United Kingdom 16 cemeteries were constructed during the year, at Bramshott, Brookwood, Cardiff, Edinburgh (Comely Bank), Chichester, Dover (St. James), East London Cemetery Plaistow, Felixstowe, Gravesend, Hampstead, Hastings, Orpington, Richmond, Southport (Duke Street), St, Albans and Whalley. All have a Cross of Sacrifice, and at Brookwood and Hastings a Stone of Remembrance in addition. It was not possible in all places for the Commission’s standard headstones to be used necessitating different forms of commemoration including names engraved on curbs and screen walls. 15 more such cemeteries are under construction including Birmingham (Lodge Hill), City of London Cemetery Little Ilford, Liverpool (Anfield), Liverpool (Kirkdale), Manchester Southern and Tottenham. Contracts for constructional work at a further 13 have been prepared, with 2,200 headstones destined for 208 other cemeteries or churchyards and over 1,000 agreements signed for the maintenance of graves in different cemeteries.
In Canada contracts were placed for 2,500 headstones, these were all completed and a further 1,000 headstones being prepared. 9 Crosses of Sacrifice were under construction, at Montreal, Toronto, London, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria. The Cross at Victoria will commemorate not only the soldiers buried on Vancouver Island but also Naval personnel who were buried at sea. An additional Cross is proposed at Halifax, Nova Scotia, to commemorate not only the soldiers buried in and about Halifax, but also Naval and military personnel who lost their lives sailing from Canadian Atlantic ports and were buried at sea. Records have been obtained of 263 British graves in the United States which come within the Commission’s powers, and on 1 April 1921 the maintenance of Churkin Russian Naval Cemetery, Vladivostok, previously a charge against the Canadian Government, was assumed by the Commission’s Canadian Agency. Preliminary arrangements for the appointment of an agency of the Commission in South Africa to deal with graves there numbering some 2,000.
Brief summaries of the extent of the Commission’s commitment in the Crown Colonies including Gibraltar, where a site for the Cross of Sacrifice has been selected; and Malta, where there are 1,903 graves in 11 cemeteries of which the principal ones are Pieta, Capuccini and Addolorata; numbers of graves in Jamaica, Grenada, Trinidad, St. Vincent, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Bahamas, British Honduras, British Guinea, Bechuanaland Protectorate, Northern and South Rhodesia, Ceylon, Cyprus, Falkland Islands, Singapore, Hong Kong, Gambia, Gold Coast and Nigeria. Similar statistical summaries of the commitment in other countries specifically Holland (where the principal cemeteries are The Hague, Nordwijk, s’Gravesand and Flushing); Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Russia, South Russia, Persia, China, Cameroons, Togoland, Senegal, Buenos Ayres, Brazil and Germany (where the Commission is to take over the work of the Graves Registration and Enquiries Unit for Central Europe who have completed the registering of graves in occupied Germany).
The memorials to officers and men of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth, Plymouth and Chatham have been designed and approved and the contract documents signed. Designs for one of the memorials to the missing on the French and Belgian fronts, at Ypres, has had further consideration.
The compilation of cemetery registers was commenced and had been completed by the end of the year for the following: Boisguillaume, Calais Southern, Calais Northern, Corbie, Cinq Rues, La Kreule, Forceville and Le Treport in France; Ferme-Olivier and Hop Store in Belgium; Tezze, Giavera, Barenthal, Boscon, Magnaboschi, Granezza, Cavalletto, Dueville, Montecchio Precalcino and the Giavera Memorial in Italy. The resulting published registers are on sale to the public at a usual price of 3s each volume.
Reference to the task of re-interment of such remains that continue to be discovered being undertaken by Commission personnel under the Director of Records; and statistical summaries of cemeteries and graves for which final verification forms received from the next-of-kin during the year.
Appendix A – Expenditure on acquisition of grave sites in perpetuity in the United Kingdom;
Appendix B – Payments out of funds contributed by British and Dominion governments (after deduction of miscellaneous receipts) from 1st April 1921 to 31st March 1922;
Appendix C – Percentages of Contributory Governments;
Appendix D – Statement of Total Cash Requirements (including provision for sub-accounts) from 1st April 1921 to 31st March 1922;
Appendix E – Fund for the Care and Maintenance of the Graves of the Fallen;
Appendix F – Headstone Personal Inscriptions Account.