Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/207
File NumberWG 1831/149
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.207 - September 1937


DescriptionMinutes of the 207th Meeting of the Commission
Content NoteTopics covered:

Minutes of the last meeting approved.

Mention that the Annual Review of the 3rd Genie, the Regiment in Garrison at Arras was held on 14 July (French Fete Nationale) and Colonel Higginson represented the Commission. Also mentions on the same day that Mayors of five Communes laid wreaths and flowers in the British Cemeteries.

The Arras and District Branch of the British Legion, largely composed of employees of the Commission held a very successful Sports Meeting, at which Lady Haig presented the prizes.

A number of organised visits to the Menin Gate took place in July.

The Banner of I Corps, presented by Lady Haig, was dedicated on 15 July in the British Memorial Church at Ypres with many prominent Belgians and a large number of Scottish pilgrims in attendance.

On 21 July Lord Cavan distributed prizes at the Eton Memorial School, among those present being Sir William Pulteney and the Reverend G.R. Milner and Mr Yorath, the Headmaster, had arranged for some of the pupils to perform scenes from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream" and "Macbeth".

A party from Wales visited the grave of the Welsh poet "Hedd Wyn" (Private E.H. Evans) in Artillery Wood Cemetery, Boesinghe, on 3 July.

The Sheffield War Graves Association and the Sheffield Joint Council of Ex-Service Association made their annual pilgrimage to the battlefields of France and Belgium and held a service at the Sheffield Serre Park.

About 300 members of the Edinburgh Branch of the British Legion made their annual pilgrimage on 11th July, accompanied by Lady Haig and Colonel Robertson, V.C., and were met at Arras by the Conseil Municipal.

Delville Wood Sunday was celebrated at the South African National Memorial on 18 July: and on the 23 July a member of the Commission's gardening staff sounded the "Last Post" at Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery in commemoration of the main Australian attack on Pozieres in 1916.

The band of the Grenadier Guards visited Terlincthun British Cemetery on 17 July and an impressive ceremony was held in the presence of the Prefect of the Pas-de-Calais, the Mayors of Boulogne, Dover, Deal, Ramsgate, Margate and Ypres, and many other participants and spectators.

Further cemeteries at Hampstead, Coxyde, Favreuil, Thiepval, and at Louverval where the annual ceremony of the scattering the ashes from Empire Fields of Remembrance was carried out on 2 August.

During July, visits were paid to the cemeteries on the Western Front by Mr Roland Green, an Australian M.P., and by Judge Hume Barne, of Cairo, and in August by Mr Edmund Blunden.

Mr Lawson was at present visiting the cemeteries in Egypt, Palestine, and Gallipoli, and possibly those in Iraq also, with General Hart.

Update on the number of visitors signing the Visitors’ Books in France and Belgium during July, which numbered 12,358 at the Memorials and 14,970 at the Cemeteries, as compared with corresponding figures of 11,778 and 17,062 respectively in 1936.

The King of the Hellenes visited Corfu British Cemetery.

Report of ceremony in Brookwood American Cemetery on 15 August, the twentieth anniversary of the arrival of the first American troops in England. This was the dedication of the Chapel, at which the American Ambassador presided. Sir Fabian Ware laid a cross made of heather within the chapel.

Report that on 30 August about 600 Belgian pilgrims were present at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery in connection with the unveiling of the busts of the late King Albert and Queen Elizabeth. The pilgrims were met by Sir Philip Sassoon and Lieut.-General Baron Vincotte. the Belgian Military Attache, and they brought with them a casket of earth from a cemetery at Mons, which was placed in the Mausoleum. The busts were unveiled by Colonel Baron van Zuylen van Nyvelt, assisted by
the Chaplain to the Cardinal Archbishop of Malines. The Commission was represented by Mr V.G. Housden who laid a wreath during the ceremony.

Announcement that, in connection with the work of the Anglo-German-French Committee, all headstones for German graves in British cemeteries in France had now been constructed and despatched from Germany.

Report of visit in May to France and Belgium by Sir George Macdonogh and Mr. Parker of the Treasury, with a view to considering the question of fabric maintenance, and recommendations that had been made for an increase of staff.

Refers to report from Colonel Robinson on the preservative treatment of headstones, namely the use of silico fluoride preservative.

Mentions it was hoped to hold a meeting of the Anglo-Italian Mixed Committee in London on 12 October and it was necessary therefore to postpone the Commission meeting until 20 October.

Announcement that the date of publication of the report on the Commission's work would be October 1st, and advance copies or the report would shortly be sent to all members or the Commission.

Report Of The 265th Meeting Of The Finance Committee: Wages Of Gardening Staff In France And Belgium
Resolution for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee, with reference to:
Item 8 which showed that important work was being carried out at Zehrensdorf Indian Cemetery in Germany; it was noted access was difficult as the cemetery was situated next to a rifle and bombing range.
Item 7, which concerned the request put forward by the Departmental Joint Council for improved rates of pay for the Gardening Staff in France.

Report Of The 14th Meeting Of The Education Committee
Summary of the report which dealt with the consideration of applications for new grants, and for the renewal of old grants. The reports received from the schools on the progress of the children in question were, on the whole, exceedingly satisfactory. Resolution for the adoption of the Education Committee’s report.

Proposed Memorial To The 17th Division At Fricourt (Somme) France
Resolution that the proposal for the erection of a memorial to the 17th Division in Fricourt (Somme) France, be approved for submission to the French Government for their sanction.

Discovery And Reburial Of Bodies In France And Belgium
Update on the recovery of remains which noted an increase in the number of bodies found by people other than metal-searchers.

Agreement Regarding Transfer Of Memorial Sites To The French State
Discussion and resolution that the Commission take note of the result of the negotiations for the
transfer of Memorial Sites to the French State and approve the action taken, and to be taken, by Sir Fabian Ware in regard to the signature of the proposed Agreement between the French Government and the Governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Visitors’ Books
The Vice-Chairman mentioned Major Chettle had prepared an interesting paper of extracts from various Visitors’ Books which had recently been returned from cemeteries in France. It noted an increased interest in the cemeteries and also, among French and Belgian visitors, there were the names of thirteen visitors from Estonia.

Anglo-Italian Mixed Committee: Appointment Of Italian Official Members
Resolution that Lieutenant-General Ugo Cei, Baron di Ciura, Lieutenant-Colonel Aroldo
Vinciguerra and Lieutenant-Colonel Millo-Soddu be appointed Official Members of the Anglo-
Italian Mixed Committee.

Major-General Sir Fabian Ware, K.C.V.O., K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G., LL.D. (Vice-Chairman, in the Chair)
Lieut.-Colonel A.F. Rawson Lumby, C.I.E., O.B.E. (Representing the Secretary of State for India)
E. MacLeod, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
V.C. Duffy, Esq., M.V.O. (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
Lieut.-General Sir George Macdonogh, G.B.E., K.C.B., K.C.M.G.
Admiral Sir Morgan Singer, K.C.B., K.C.V.O.
W.P. Spens, Esq., O.B.E., K.C., M.P.

There were also present:
Lieut.-Colonel C.P. Oswald, C.M.G., O.B.E. (Controller and Assistant Secretary, Finance)
Major H.F. Chettle, C.M.G., O.B.E. (Director of Records)
Lieut.-Colonel E.R. Jarvis (Deputy Director of Works)
F. C. Sillar, Esq.
F. Tyrrell, Esq., M.B.E.
O. Holt, Esq.
Date27/8/1937 - 28/10/1937
Extent1 file
CategoryMeeting Notes
ArchNotePlease note that the downloadable document is the final version of the Committee Meeting minutes. Additional information, including the verbatim minutes and subsidiary reports, may be available in the physical file.
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