Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/218
File NumberWG 1831/160
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.218 - September 1938


DescriptionMinutes of the 218th Meeting of the Commission
Content NoteTopics covered:

Minutes of the last meeting approved, with amendment to record of Colonel Lumby’s words on page 14 and a mistake in the numbering of the Finance Committee meeting.

Brief report of Sir George Macdonogh’s visit to Holland and Belgium, with comments regarding absence of any Commission staff in Holland, the difficulty of superintendence, and the issue with growing satisfactory grass in cemeteries in Holland due to the sandy soil.

Mention that Lady Burnet had replied to the Commission's Resolution of Condolence

Announcement that Brigadier Prower had assumed duty as Chief Administrative Officer, Central European District, on 1 September. The transfer to Head Office in France and Belgium from Arras to Wimereux had been carried out under Colonel Higginson’s direction and the office was working smoothly.

Update on the number of visitors signing the Visitors’ Books at cemeteries and memorials in France and Belgium; noted increase, with numbers during June being 19,318 (of whom 10,704 were British), in July 40,185 (of whom 23,266 were British), and in August 51,890 (of whom 26,012 were British). The corresponding figures for 1937 were 15,737 in June, 37,328 in July, and 43,779 in August. The increases for all three months were striking.

Report of unveiling of a tablet to the 17th Division in Fricourt Church on Sunday 17 July.

Report of dedication services held in St. George’s Church, Ypres, in connection with the Memorials to the 13th Battalion London Regiment (Queen's Westminster Rifles), the 11th (Lewisham) Battalion, The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, and the 11th (Lambeth) Battalion, The Queen's Royal Regiment.

A commemorative plaque to the Queen’s Westminster Rifles was unveiled at Gavrelle on Whit Monday.

Mention that 180 pilgrims of the South African Pilgrimage mentioned at the meetings in June and July had gone on to visit Stahnsdorf cemetery where General Tanner placed a wreath at the Stone of Remembrance.

Announcement that the St. Martin Association for Limbless Ex-Servicemen had held its annual pilgrimage, which included a service on 5 June in St. Symphorien Military Cemetery attended by the Burgomasters of Mons, St. Symphorien and Spiennes; 70 of the 180 pilgrims were limbless.

The "Remise du Fanion" had taken place at Daours on 12 June in the presence of about 500 people, including the Mayors of Corbie, Fouilloy and Daours, and the British Cemetery was visited.

There had been customary official visits to British Cemeteries on 14 July during the French national Fete Day.

Mentions Delville Wood Sunday had been observed on 17 July with a wreath laid on the Memorial on behalf of the Government and people of the Union of South Africa.

Mentions Mr Davies (Trade Commissioner) and Mr Eric Winter had visited five Newfoundland Memorials.

Mentions Sir Earle Page, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, accompanied by Lade Page; Colonel the Hon. T. W. White, Australian Minister for Customs, and Mrs. White; and Lieut.-Colonel R. B. Jacob, representing the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Imperial League of Australia, had made tours of' the battlefields and most satisfactory reports had been received from all these Visitors. The tour was made in connection with the unveiling of the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial on 22 July.

Branches of the British Legion had paid visits to the former battlefields, notably the Amberley (Gloucestershire) and Aberdeen Branches.

On Sunday 21 July, 120 pilgrims from all parts of Great Britain and from the Dominions and Colonies had assembled in Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Zillebeke, to scatter the ashes of crosses planted in the Fields of Remembrance - a ceremony organised annually by the British Legion and held each year in a different Cemetery. The service was conducted by the Rev. G. R. Milner, and Mr Gill and a number of the Commission's Gardeners represented the Commission.

Some 42 members from the Metropolitan Area had visited Cologne and Berlin, and the Driffield Branch had visited the British and German War graves at Cologne with a party of German Ex-Servicemen.

The annual Sheffield Pilgrimage had included a visit to Ypres, where a present of a beautiful book-case and about 700 books was formally handed over and placed in the Ypres Memorial School. The same party had also visited the Sheffield-Serre Memorial Park near Albert.

The anniversary of Great Britain’s entry into the First World War was celebrated by Belgians at the Menin Gate on 4 August.

The annual Ceremony at the 2nd Australian Division Memorial, Mont-St. Quentin, was held on 4 September.

The disturbed conditions in Palestine during August had hampered the work of the Commission's staff there, but no damage had been done to the British Cemetery and no interference with the Gardeners had been attempted. Mentions Major Vickery had rescued a Jew from being murdered.

Mr Malcolm MacDonald, Secretary of State for the Colonies, had visited Jerusalem War Cemetery on 7 August.
During the summer of 1937 an Englishman travelling in the French Cameroons had reported to the Commission that two English war graves at a village called Mefoup were marked by wooden crosses which were showing signs of decay.

Announcement that Meetings of the Mixed Committees had been arranged for early October in Rome, in Paris and in Athens for November; and in Cairo for the beginning of December.

The Vice-Chairman added that the Air Raid Precautions arrangements in the Commission's office had now been completed, and Captain Murphy was appointed as Air Raid Precautions Officer. Gas-proof chambers had been constructed in the basement and the card index with a complete set of registers sent to a place of safety.

Anglo-Italian Mixed Committee
Resolution that Mr Joseph F.E. Radcliffe be appointed an Official Member of the Anglo-Italian Mixed Committee.

Anglo-German-French Committee
1. That His Excellency Herr von Dirksen, German Ambassador in London, be appointed an Honorary Member of the Anglo-German-French Mixed Committee in succession to Herr von Ribbentrop.
2. That Geheimer Oberregierungsrat Ministerialrat Dr. Bourwieg be appointed an Official Member of the said Committee pursuant to Article 8 of the Anglo-German-French War Graves Agreement of the 20th December 1935.

Anglo-Egyptian War Cemeteries Committee
1. That Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Gordon Finlayson, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., be appointed an Honorary Member of the Anglo-Egyptian War Cemeteries Committee.
2. That Vice-Marshal H.R. Nicholl, C.B., C.B.E. be appointed an Official Member of the Anglo-Egyptian War Graves Committee.

Exhibition of Photographs at The House of Commons
Refers to question asked in the House by Mr Keeling, Member for Twickenham, for large photographs of the principal memorials to the exhibited in the House, and subsequent arrangements made for the photographs to be produced.

Discovery And Reburial Of Bodies In France And Belgium
Mentions the first time since August 1937 that there had been a slight increase in the figures.

Churkin Russian Naval Cemetery, Vladivostok
Refers to the paper submitted on the subject of this Cemetery, which had been visited by Mrs Slessor. The Register had been published, but it was exceedingly difficult to arrange for periodical inspection. The question, however, would be re-examined.

Inclusion of Names of Architects on Memorials
Discussion regarding proposal for the inclusion of the names of the Commission’s architects on the memorials designed by them.

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 G.P. Vanier, D.S.O., M.C. (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
V.C. Duffy, Esq., M.V.O. (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
S.R. Skinner, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
The Hon. Sir Edgar Bowring, K.C.M.G. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
Lieut.-General Sir George Macdonogh, G.B.E., K.C.B., K.C.M.G.

There were also present:
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Frederic Kenyon, G.B.E., K.C.B.
Lieut.-Colonel C.P. Oswald, C.M.G., O.B.E. (Controller and Assistant Secretary, Finance)
Lieut.-Colonel H.F. Robinson, C.M.G. (Director of Works)
Major H.F. Chettle, C.M.G., O.B.E. (Director of Records)
F.C. Sillar, Esq.
O. Holt, Esq.
Date30/8/1938 - 19/10/1938
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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