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Minutes of the last meeting approved.
Update on events which had happened since the last Meeting:
The President of the French Republic, accompanied by Madame Lebrun, had laid a wreath on the grave of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey on 23rd March.
A hundred members of the Foyer Franco-Britannique at Amiens had visited the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, where the President of the organisation made a speech.
Two Battalions of the French 67th Reserve Infantry Regiment had paraded at Raperie British Cemetery, Villemontoire, and laid a wreath.
Memorial Service to Field Marshal Earl Haig was held on Sunday 12th February at St. John's Church, Boulogne.
Several ceremonies had been held on 5th and 12th March in connection with the "Heldengedenktag”.
A party of Germans had visited Park Hall Prisoners of War Cemetery, Whittington, and had been met by Mr Dix; also mentions the German organiser was taking steps to transport rhododendrons from Cannock Chase to replant in Germany.
A wreath from the Commission was laid on 12th at the Unknown Soldier's tomb in Unter den Linden, and German ex-servicemen’s ceremonies were held at Stahnsdorf, Ohlsdorf, and Zehrensdorf.
Local branches of the British Legion had met at Kensal Green Roman Catholic Cemetery, Greenwich Cemetery, Morton Cemetery and Hendon Park Cemetery.
The German Consul had laid wreaths at the British graves at Thessaloniki on 5th March, and the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha had laid a wreath there on the 23rd March.
On Easter Monday, a bag of earth displaying the French National Colours, which had been taken from the battlefield of Verdun, was buried on a selected site at the Menin Gate in the presence of about a hundred members of the "Defenders of Lille"; Mr Gill was present.
A copy of the first volume of the Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War had been received through the High Commissioner’s office.
Announcement that Mr J.S. Cleland had relinquished his appointment as Secretary for Public Works at Pretoria and had therefore ceased to be ex officio Chairman of the Commission’s South African Agency, a post which he had held since 1932.
Mention a letter was sent to the new Mayor of Bethune expressing the Commission’s appreciation of the kindly interest taken by his predecessor in the Commission's work.
Two important monuments had been erected recently on the Western Front.
On Easter Sunday, Major-General W.P.H. Hill, acting on behalf of the Duke of Kent, unveiled a tablet on the railway bridge at Nimy near Mons commemorating the defence of the bridge on the 24th August 1914 by the 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.
The Machine Gun Corps Old Comrades’ Association had unveiled their Memorial at the Town Hall at Albert.
The Visitors' Books at the Cemeteries and Memorials in France and Belgium had been signed in January and February by 567 and 1,015 visitors respectively; the corresponding figures for 1938 were 779 and 969.
Major W.H. Blagden, who had been Honorary Secretary to the Commission's Gibraltar Agency since 1935, had retired and had been succeeded by Major H.R. Lemon.
Admiral Kelly had visited the Cemeteries and Memorials in France and Belgium, but had not yet returned to London.
Mention that a suggestion had been received that the vacancy on the Commission caused by Lord Stanley's death should be filled by Major-General Sir John Kennedy.
Announcement of the death of Mr Lyons, Prime minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, with summary of his work with the Commission.
Copies of the latest Annual Report had been circulated to the Prime Ministers of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Anglo-German-French Committee: Major Chettle’s Visit To Berlin And Paris
Update on Major Chettle’s visit to Berlin and Paris, including reference to discussions about purchase of sites for proposed German cemeteries in the United Kingdom, as well as Dr Eulen’s monthly journal which featured an article about German headstones recently erected at Mont Huon cemetery, Le Treport.
Directorate Of Graves Registration And Enquiries
Update on arrangements for re-establishing the office of Director General of Graves Registration and Enquiries, if it became necessary, and also refers to withdrawal of staff from Germany.
Report Of The 280th Meeting Of The Finance Committee
Adoption of the Report, with reference to the repairs which had become necessary to the War Cross. at one of the cemeteries in Italy and to the treatment of the remaining 1,700 headstones at Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery in the same way as the others had already been treated, by lifting them on to concrete curbs and isolating them from the salt in the soil.
Also refers to the question of taking additional gardeners on the staff from among the pupil gardeners.
Anglo-Belgian Mixed Committee
Resolution that Mr G.J. Jooste be appointed an Official Member of the Anglo-Belgian Mixed Committee in succession to Mr E.K. Scallan.
Graves In The Union Of Socialist Soviet Republics
The Vice-Chairman referred to the discussion at the 225th Meeting and said that in accordance with the Commission's decision he had had a talk with the Soviet Ambassador in London about the suggestion of an Anglo-Russian Committee. Monsieur Maisky was, of course, able to commit his Government, and had asked for a letter which he could refer to Moscow. The letter had been sent and a copy of it had been transmitted through the Foreign Office to the British Ambassador in Russia.
Exhumations And Reburials In France And Belgium
Update on exhumations and reburials for the eight weeks in question, were only six less than the figures for the corresponding period last year. In every case identification as a British soldier was established by uniform, shoulder-titles, discs, papers or similar evidence, and without some, such means of identification a body would not be accepted as British.
Comment on British, French, and German bodies and also that about ten per cent of the British bodies found were individually identified, and that all, whether identified or not, were buried in three or four cemeteries kept open for the purpose.
Distribution In Australia Of Reproductions Of The Memorial Tablet In Westminster Abbey
Refers to distribution of a reproduction memorial tablet made for presentation to various ex-service bodies in the different Dominions in 1936.
Estimates For 1939-1940
Refers to estimates for expenditure for the year 1939-1940 and that the United Kingdom had agreed to make an additional contribution of £270,000 to the Endowment Fund.
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)
V.C. Duffy, Esq., M.V.O. (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
W.G. Parminter, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
The Hon. Sir Edgar Bowring, K.C.M.G. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
Lieut.-Colonel Sir George Macdonogh, G.B.E., K.C.B., K.C.M.G.
J.J. Lawson, Esq., M.P.
Lieut.-General Sir Clive Liddell, K.C.B., C.M.G., C.B.E., D.S.O.
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.
O.D. Holt, Esq.