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A statistical table of death casualties of the war ascertained to July 1923, divided into United Kingdom, Indian Empire, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Newfoundland and Other British, totalling approximately 1,019,268; and a statistical table of graves registered in the various areas (countries and territories) up to 31st March 1923.
A statement of accounts and of the finances of the Commission up to 31st March 1923, including a reference to the inclusion under Appendix A of the acquisition in perpetuity of the sites of the graves of members of HM forces who are buried in the United Kingdom, and on the provision of a commemorative tablet in Amiens Cathedral, expenditure on both of which falls on the Imperial Exchequer only. Salaries of Administrative Staff represent 6 per cent of the total expenditure of the Commission during the period.
An updated list of the members of the Commission on 31st March 1923, several changes having taken place since the last Annual Report was issued.
Summary of the itinerary of the three day tour of the cemeteries on the Western Front made in May 1922 by King George V, accompanied by Field Marshal Earl Haig and a small suite, which included Tyne Cot, Lijssenthoek, Vimy Ridge, Arras and the Somme Battlefields, Notre Dame de Lorette, Etaples and Terlincthun where he was joined by HM The Queen to lay a wreath. During the year visits to cemeteries were also made by HRH The Prince of Wales and the King and Queen of Spain.
Dr A. W. Hill had succeeded Sir David Prain as Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew early in the year, having already acted as Botanic Adviser to the Commission.
The adoption by the Commission of the recommendation of a committee appointed to consider the question of what were war graves within the meaning of its Charter of Incorporation, in the light of war conditions persisting in many countries long after the Armistice with Germany and casualties occurring among troops in military occupation directly or indirectly due to the war. The practical result is that no officer or man who may have died after the date (31st August 1921) fixed by Royal Proclamation as the official end of the war, is under any circumstances entitled to the privilege of a war grave.
Satisfactory progress with the acquisition of land in the various countries in which there are considerable numbers of war graves, with the land they occupy in all the allied countries (including Egypt and Palestine) having been made over as a free gift to the Commission, special legislation being passed where necessary. In the late enemy countries free conveyance of the graves was ensured by special clauses included in several Peace Treaties. In the case of securing burial rights in graves in the United Kingdom, for which the British Government placed funds at the Commission’s disposal, in some 59 per cent of cases dealt with Municipalities or Cemetery authorities have given the sites in perpetuity free of charge. For isolated graves in communal cemeteries in France and Belgium the Commission decided to put a concrete curb round the graves marking the limits of the perpetual concessions in each case.
In October 1922 the Commission decided it could no longer comply with applications to return direct to relatives the original wooden crosses from the graves in theatres of war, although it would be prepared to hand them over to relatives willing to make their own arrangements for receiving them.
In 1921 tablets were erected in Amiens Cathedral by the self-governing dominions in commemoration of their officers and men who fell during the war and the British Government decided to erect a like memorial, with the work being entrusted to the Commission. The resulting tablet was placed in Amiens Cathedral in the summer of 1923 and unveiled by HRH The Duke of Connaught. It has been decided to erect similar tablets in a number of cathedrals in France and Belgium.
In France and Belgium the establishment of the various camps and securing of premises was progressing. The Horticultural Branch reported personnel of 1,387 were maintaining some 536,304 graves. Travelling parties were reduced to two as a result of better conditions prevailing for billeting. 9 nurseries produced and distributed to the cemeteries over 3 million plants; about 18 miles of hedges were planted; 152 acres of ground sown with grass and an estimated 180 miles of continuous flower borders planted. 598 direction road direction boards were erected and 470 cemetery fences built or re-sited.
Over 860,000 miles were run by 170 Motor vehicles maintained by the 189 staff of the Transport Branch. The Administrative Branch reported an outbreak of typhoid at St. Omer although there was complete immunity among the Commission’s employees owing to the precautions taken. There were 6 deaths during the year, 4 of them due to a motor accident.
The Records branch is responsible for registration and similar duties, including identification where possible of remains which have been reported by the local authorities to the Commission since the withdrawal of the military exhumation parties in November 1921. Mention was made of some 2,000 German burial lists received via the Commission’s office in Berlin being of great value in discovering cemeteries and graves which might otherwise have been lost.
The Works Branch reported there were 15 contracts of importance being carried out during the year, covering 247 cemeteries with 247,014 graves, and contracts placed for a further 4. The principal cemeteries completed during the year were Boisguillaume Communal, Boulogne Eastern, Corbie Communal Cemetery and Extension, Doullens Corbie Communal Cemetery Extensions No.1 and No.2, Etretat Churchyard and Extension, La Neuville British, Mont Huon Military, Poperinghe New Military, Querrieu British, St. Marie, Vignacourt British, Vlamertinghe Military, Wimereux Communal, Acheux British, Bertrancourt Military, Bleuet Farm British, Contay British, Courcelles au Bois, Ecoivres Military, Harponville Communal Cemetery Extension, Le Touquet Communal, Ligny St. Flochel British, Maroeuil British, Millencourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Nine Elms British, Pernes British, Pont Remy British, Tourgeville Military, Varennes Military, Warloy Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension, Aire Communal, Arras Road British, Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, Auchonvillers Military, Avesnes le Compte Communal Cemetery Extension, Bac du Sud British, Bapaume Post Military, Barlin Communal Cemetery Extension, Bully Grenay Communal Cemetery Extension, Chocques Military, Dive Copse British, Dud Corner, Euston Road, Fouquieres Churchyard Extension, Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Houchin British, Mailly Wood, Souvenir Cemetery Longuenesse, Maroc British, Noyelles sur Mer Chinese, Philisophe British, Pozieres British, Roclincourt Military, Sandpits British, St. Mary’s A.D.S., La Chaudiere, Cambrin Churchyard Extension, St. Catherine’s British, Hersin Communal Cemetery Extension, Hinges Military, London Cemetery Neuville Vitasse, Longueau British, Gonnehem British, Preseau Communal Cemetery Extension, Villers Pol Communal Cemetery Extension.
Progress with land acquisition in France saw 450 war cemeteries secured and authorised for construction and a further 74 in Belgium. The membership of the Anglo-French Mixed Committee and the Anglo-Belgian Mixed Committee as at September 1923 was listed, with the fourth meeting of the former on 16 November 1922 having dealt with the demand by 17 communes in the Nord and Pas de Calais for the reduction in the number of cemeteries in their communes.
In Italy the constructional work and the erection of headstones has now been completed.
In the Balkan States the revised list of cemeteries comprised (in Greece and Macedonia): Mikra, Salonika Anglo-French (Lembet Road), Kirechkeui, Monastir Road Indian, Lahana, Struma, Sarigol, Karasouli. Doiran Military, Anglo German Cemetery Salonika, Piraeus Naval and Consular, Bralo and Dedeagatch; (in Yugoslavia Skopje and Nish; (in Bulgaria) Sofia, Phillippopolis, Roustchouk and Roustchouk Jewish, and Varna; and (in Roumania) Bucharest, Slobozia and Galatiz Orthodox cemeteries. The construction of the cemeteries in Greece and Macedonia is practically complete, and the Memorial to the Missing of the Salonika Force completed during the year. On the Aegean Islands where it had been found impractical to use the usual pattern of headstone the Gallipoli style marker has therefore been adopted, the cemeteries are (on Lemnos) East Mudros, West Mudros Military, West Mudros Moslem and Kaloterati Point; (on Imbros) Kephalos Mohamedan and Turkish P.W.; (on Syra) New British and (on Crete) Suda Bay. An Anglo-Greek Committee was appointed in November 1922.
In Gallipoli the cemeteries at Canterbury, Embarkation Pier, New Zealand No.2 Outpost and No.2 Outpost were completed during the year; 27 others were under construction along with the Memorial to the Missing at Cape Helles.
On 31 March 1923 Brigadier-General Sir Gilbert Clayton succeeded Sir Wyndham Deedes as Chairman of the Anglo-Palestine War Cemeteries Committee. The construction of Beersheba and Deir-el-Belah cemeteries has been completed and at Gaza construction is proceeding satisfactorily. Tenders have been invited for Jerusalem Indian and Limber Hill War Cemeteries. Trees have been planted at Gaza, Ramleh, Beersheba, and Deir El Belah. The Government of Palestine is presenting the land occupied by the cemeteries to the Commission and clear titles for this purpose being sought.
7 meetings of the Anglo-Egyptian War Cemeteries Executive Committee were held during the year under the chairmanship of Dr. W. Hastings O.B.E. The construction was completed of the 9 cemeteries at Chatby; Hadra; Cairo; Ismailia; Kantara; Suez; Port Said; Minia and Tel-el-Kebir. Good progress has been made with the horticultural treatment despite the want of water and the presence of soluble salts in the soil, large quantities of Nile mud have been used to improve the soil and water supply installed for Port Said and Hadra cemeteries. The designs for the memorial to the missing of the Indian Army at Port Tewfik have been approved, estimates obtained and permission to erect sought from the local authorities. Designs for the Egyptian Labour Corps and Camel Transport Corps Memorial Ophthalmic Laboratory have been approved and method of construction under consideration.
In East Africa the only cemetery under construction was that at Nairobi, with orders having been placed for Crosses of Sacrifice or 3 other cemeteries in Kenya, and designs for memorials to commemorate the Missing of native East African soldiers and followers under consideration.
In the United Kingdom the principal cemeteries in which military plots were completed during the year were at City of London Cemetery Little Ilford, Tottenham and Wood Green, Ladywell Cemetery Lewisham, Lodge Hill Birmingham, Camberwell, Allerton, Anfield Cemetery Liverpool, Kirkdale Cemetery Liverpool, Toxteth Park Liverpool, West Derby, Reading, Warrington, Gloucester, Borden and Manchester Southern. Construction was also completed but awaiting headstone erection at Torquay, Lawnswood Cemetery Leeds, Towcester Road Northampton, Aldershot, Newport Cemetery Lincoln, Cannock Chase, Codford St. Mary’s, Locksbrook Cemetery Bath, Boscombe Cemetery Bournemouth, Shorncliffe, Chester, Canford Cemetery Bristol, Colchester and Sutton Veny. 16 more were under construction and 2,242 agreements signed for the maintenance of 20,868 graves. Compilation of records has progressed with a provisional list of over 6,000 cemeteries or churchyards containing war graves.
In Canada 4,261 headstones were ordered of which 2,684 were erected by the autumn of 1922. The 9 Crosses of Sacrifice referred to in last year’s annual report were unveiled during the winter. A granite tablet has been placed in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria recording the names of naval personnel numbering 41, and a memorial will be placed at Halifax, Nova Scotia, to commemorate Canadian Naval personnel who lost their lives at sea and Canadian Mercantile Marine who lost their lives by enemy action. The Government of Canada decided on the inclusion on the Memorial Arch to be erected at the Menin Gate Ypres, of the names of those Canadians who lost their lives in the Ypres Salient, with the balance of the Canadian Missing being commemorated on a monument to be erected by the Canadian Government on Vimy Ridge. The British section of Churkin Russian Naval Cemetery, Vladivostok, was reported to be well maintained, although the stolen bronze tablets are being replaced with marble ones. The South Africa Agency of the Commission was appointed by instrument dated 28th November 1922 and compilation of records of the graves proceeding.
Brief summaries of the extent of the Commission’s commitment in the Crown Colonies including Gibraltar, where the Cross of Sacrifice was unveiled By H.E. The Governor on Armistice Day 1922; Malta, where a special design of marker was approved for many of the graves which contain multiple burials; Ceylon, where an Agency has been formed to carry out the Commission’s work, and numbers of graves in Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Barbados, Bermuda, The Aden Protectorate, Mauritius, Seychelles, Malay States, Society Islands and Somaliland Protectorate. Similar statistical summaries of the commitment in other countries specifically Germany (where a Committee of the Commission visited to select suitable sites into which it had been decided to concentrate scattered graves from around the country, one such having already been obtained for that purpose at Cologne); Holland (where the 4 principal cemeteries are under construction); Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, Spain, Persia, Persia, Poland, China, Chile, Peru and Panama.
The construction of the three Naval memorials at Portsmouth, Plymouth and Chatham to officers and men of the Royal Navy lost at sea is proceeding satisfactorily with an elaboration of the design of the column being similar in each location. The Commission has decided the locations for the memorials to the missing on the Western Front are to be at Nieuport, Ypres, Armentieres, Bethune, Arras, Pozieres, Amiens, St. Quentin, Cambrai, Le Ferte sous Jouarre and Soissons, with one near Neuve-Chapelle to commemorate the missing of the Indian Army. The Memorial at Ypres (at the Menin Gate) has been designed and preparations for construction underway.
Statistical summaries of the 317,912 burials for which final verifications were completed up to 7th April 1923, divided according to the place of burial for the following theatres of war: France and Belgium, Italy, Dardanelles, Macedonia, Palestine, Egypt, East Africa, United Kingdom, Newfoundland, Other British Possessions, Germany, Lost at Sea and Miscellaneous. Reference to concessions obtained from South Eastern and Chatham Railways enabling Commission staff travelling to France at reduced rates.
During the year 40 registers containing particulars of 45,372 graves in 69 cemeteries were published covering: Louvencourt Group, Pernes British Cemetery and Churchyard, Baerlin Communal Cemetery Extension, Mont Huon Military Cemetery parts 1 and 2, Ligny St. Flochel British Cemetery, Maroeuil British Cemetery, Caestre Group, Aire Communal Cemetery, Bruay Communal Cemetery Extension and Sandpits British Cemetery, Terlincthun British Cemetery parts 1 and 2, Auchonvillers Military and Communal Cemetery, Picquigny Group, Etaples Military Cemetery parts 1-4, Varennes Military and Communal Cemetery, Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery and Extension, Avesnes-le-Compte Group, Abbeville Communal Cemetery, Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension, Contay British and Harponville Communal Cemetery Extension, Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension Nos. 1 and 2, Wimereux Communal Cemetery parts 1 and 2, La Neuville British and Communal Cemeteries, Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Pernois Group, Puchevillers Group, Nine Elms British Cemetery, Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery, Poperinghe New Military Cemetery, Brandhoek Military and New Military Cemetery, Brandhoek New Military Cemetery No.3, Hospital Farm Cemetery, and Brookwood Military Cemetery. All registers are on sale to the public, the usual price being 3s a copy.
Appendix A – Expenditure on acquisition of grave sites in perpetuity in the United Kingdom, and commemorative tablet in Amiens Cathedral;
Appendix B – Statement of cash payments out of funds contributed by British and Dominion governments (after deduction of miscellaneous receipts) from 1st April 1922 to 31st March 1923;
Appendix C – Percentages of Contributory Governments;
Appendix D – Statement of Total Cash Requirements (including provision for sub-accounts) from 1st April 1922 to 31st March 1923;
Appendix E – Fund for the Care and Maintenance of the Graves of the Fallen.