Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/224
File NumberWG 1831/166
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.224 - February 1939


DescriptionMinutes of the 224th Meeting of the Commission
Content NoteTopics covered:

Minutes of the last meeting approved.

Mentions a communication from Brigadier-General Hart stated that the caretaker's cottage at Ramleh in Palestine, had been partially destroyed by fire on 15th January when various articles were stolen. This was the second time that an attack had been made on this cottage. The caretaker, Mr. Gale, and his wife were not in the cottage as they had been provided with quarters in the Royal Air Force camp at Ramleh for some time past. No damage had been incurred at the cemetery.

General Hart had also reported that the Comte de Hauteclocque, the newly appointed French Delegate in Damascus, had paid an official visit to the British War Cemetery soon after his arrival in Syria and laid a wreath.

Announcement that Major Ralph Rayner, Conservative M.P. for the Totnes Division of Devonshire, had recently completed a tour of the Cemeteries in France and Belgium, and he had expressed his approval of all that he had seen.

Announcement that the number of visitors signing the Visitors' Books at the Cemeteries and Memorials in France and Belgium in December was 562. This figure was rather less than the corresponding figure for the previous year.

Update on the situation regarding problems with access to the Gallipoli peninsula where local Turkish representatives were refusing visitors permission to land. A proposal for forming a Mixed Committee was made but the Ambassador adhered to the view expressed by the Foreign Office in 1936 that such a Committee was not desirable at the time.

Mention from the Vice-Chairman that arrangements were now being made to hold a Meeting of the Anglo-German-French Committee in London on 15th May.

Discussion in connection with a further request from the Belgian Association known as "Nos Tombes", a voluntary Association which looked after certain British War Graves in Communal Cemeteries in outlying parts of Belgium, for approval of the suggestion that all these British graves should be concentrated to central points where their maintenance would be a very much easier matter.

Mention of the Regimental Memorial at Gheluvelt erected by the Worcestershire Regiment, on which there was an inscription which referred to the Germans as "an unchivalrous foe" - in the Flemish wording, "barbarous". This inscription had been brought to the notice of the Colonel of the Regiment, and it had been decided, in view of the different feeling which now existed, that the wording should be altered. In connection with this, it was also mentioned a Memorial which was erected after the First World War at Sledmere in East Yorkshire, had been similarly criticised for its portrayal of German soldiers and this had been mentioned to Mr Sillar during his recent visit to Berlin.

Report Of The 278th Meeting Of The Finance Committee
Adoption of the Report with reference to Item 3, which dealt with certain renovation work on the Naval Memorial at Portsmouth, as well as two items dealing with members of the Commission's staff which had occasioned the Finance Committee considerable anxiety.
Also refers to the appointment of a Welfare Worker, and it would be seen that the Commission proposed to make a contribution of £200 for one year towards his stipend, with a possible continuance at a rate to be reduced in subsequent years.
The Vice-Chairman referred to his own appointment and stated he was content to continue his work under the conditions agreed.

Report Of The 2nd Meeting Of The Anglo-Egyptian War Cemeteries Committee
Adoption of the Committee’s report, with mention that the actual formation of the Committee had been delayed until the formal signing of the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty. As soon as that Treaty was signed the Egyptian Government expressed their desire to be associated with the British Commonwealth in the creation of a Mixed Committee to care for the British Graves in Egypt.

Discovery And Reburial Of Bodies In France And Belgium
Update on the discovery and reburial of bodies in France and Belgium, namely that the figures for the weeks under review were considerably smaller than those for the corresponding periods in 1937 and 1938. It was explained, nevertheless, it would be seen that 71 British bodies had been found, which was a remarkable fact considering the time of the year and the weather that had been experienced.

Report Of The Committee On The Preservation Of Headstones
Discussion regarding the Report on the question of the preservation of headstones in the Near East, which drew attention to the problem of salt being present in the soil in cemeteries in Egypt and Iraq.
In some cemeteries in Iraq, it had been seen appropriate to commemorate casualties on a Screen Wall, whilst at Baghdad, the headstones had been raised from the ground on sheaths.
It was recommended by the Committee that the graves in Egypt should be marked by headstones of green Westmorland slate, which they considered capable of withstanding the local conditions.
This was agreed and the Report was adopted by a resolution in the Minutes.

Anglo-French Mixed Committee
Resolution that Lieutenant-Colonel George P. Vanier, D.S.O., M.C., be appointed, and he hereby is appointed, an Official Member of the Anglo-French Mixed Committee in succession to the Hon. Philippe Roy.

Major-General Sir Fabian A.G. Ware, K.C.V.O., K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G., LL.D. (Vice-Chairman, in the Chair)
Colonel C.E.T. Erskine, C.I.E., D.S.O., M.C. (Representing the Secretary of State for India)
E. MacLeod, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
F.T. Sprange, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
C. Knowles, Esq., C.B.E. (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
H. Neethling, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
J.J. Lawson, Esq., M.P.
Admiral Sir Howard Kelly, G.B.E., K.C.B., C.M.G., M.V.O.
The Rt. Hon. Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, K.G.

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 F. Higginson, C.M.G. (Director of Works)
F.C. Sillar, Esq.
F. Tyrrell, Esq., M.B.E.
B.S. Conyngham Greene, Esq.
O.D. Holt, Esq.
Date26/1/1939 - 11/3/1939
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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