Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/228
File NumberWG 1831/170
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.228 - June 1939


DescriptionMinutes of the 228th Meeting of the Commission
Content NoteTopics covered:

Minutes of the last meeting approved.

Announcement of the recent death of Sir Philip Sassoon, the First Commissioner of Works, who would be succeeded by Mr Harwald Ramsbotham, who was one of the Members of Parliament who visited the cemeteries in France and Belgium in 1931.

Welcome to Sir John Kennedy, who was attending for the first time as the representative of the British Red Cross Society.

Announcement that Sir Clive Liddell, the Adjutant-General, had been appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Gibraltar, and would cease to be a member of the Commission.

Update Of Recent Events:
The Vice-Chairman said that he had sent to Mr Malcolm MacDonald copies of the letters from General Haining and Brigadier Hutchison, commenting favourably on the cemeteries at Beersheba and Gaza, which had been circulated to the Commission.

Mention that Sir Herbert Hart had sent a report describing the unpleasant experiences of a gardener-caretaker at Jerusalem and his family in recent months.

Mention that the Anglo-Palestine War Cemeteries Executive Committee had held its 17th Meeting at Government House, Jerusalem, on 31 May, with the High Commissioner in the Chair.

A generous donation of £20 had been offered by Mrs. Briggs, whose son was buried in Bedford House Cemetery Enclosure No.4, Zillebeke, for the purpose of plants and bulbs for the cemeteries in Belgium. The money would be used to buy rose trees to replace those which had died during the severe winter months.

Report of ceremonies for American Memorial Day held at Brookwood and Flanders Field American Cemeteries in June.

Mention that 56 members of the Dominions Federation of New Zealand Women's Institutes, led by Miss Brenda Bell, visited the New Zealand Memorial at Longueval on 28th May. Mrs. White (the wife of a former Australian Minister and the daughter of the late Mr Alfred Deakin) had asked for, and had received, a collection of seeds from the cemeteries in France to be planted near the Cenotaphs in the seven principal towns of Australia.
The High Commissioner for New Zealand had laid a wreath at the New Zealand Memorial at Le Quesnoy on 12th May.

On Anzac Day, the "Last Post" was sounded by Gardener Caretaker Higginson at the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.

Colonel and Madame Vanier had visited the cemeteries and memorials near Arras on St. George's Day.

Members of nine organisations, totalling about 500 persons, visited the Menin Gate during Whitsuntide and had placed wreaths.

The annual "Vindictive" service had been held at Ostend New Communal Cemetery on 7th May.

On 28th May, about 100 Germans held a service in Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Zillebeke, and on the same day members of the Slough United Services Club placed a wreath in the beautiful Anglo-German Military Cemetery at St. Symphorien, near Mons.

Other ceremonies in France and Belgium were reported from Villers-Plouich, Vimy (where Brigadier Prower addressed the St. Martin's Association for Limbless Ex-Servicemen on the work of the Commission), Vailly, Albert and Etaples.

During April the number of visitors signing the Visitors' Books at the Memorials was 3,458, and at the cemeteries 3,479.
In the Near East thirty-one British tourists visited the Gallipoli cemeteries in April. and the Doiran Memorial was visited by students from the schools and from the University of Thessaloniki.

Arrangements were now in place for the Anglo-Italian Mixed Committee meeting on 17th July.

Also refers to the takeover by the Vice-Chairman of the appointment of Director-General of Graves Registration and Enquiries if war broke out, and update on the removal of the Commission’s staff from London to Wooburn House. The question of the position of staff in France and Belgium would be discussed at the next Meeting.

Report Of The 282nd Meeting Of The Finance Committee
Adoption of the Report with reference to the decision to approve the Special Committee's recommendations for the amendment of the Superannuation Scheme for Administrative and Clerical Staff, and also the item dealing with the scheme of headstone renovation in a twelve-year cycle.

Report Of The 4th Meeting Of The Anglo-German-French Committee
Adoption of the Report of the Meeting which had been circulated.

Anglo-French Mixed Committee
Resolution that Colonel Bonnassieux be appointed an Official Member of the Anglo-French Mixed Committee in succession to General Blin.

Foreign Graves In The Care Of The Commission In France And Belgium
Reference to the paper before the Meeting, with comment from Vice-Chairman that the number of French graves in British care was greater than the number of British graves in French care.
Response from Colonel Oswald that the difference was 1,400; the Ministere des Pensions had offered to provide two gardeners, but it was not practicable to accept the offer. The matter was kept constantly in mind.

Villers-Bretonneux Memorial: Transfer Of Stock To Provide For Maintenance
Comment from Colonel Oswald that the sum of stock to be transferred was intended to provide an income sufficient for normal maintenance; if it proved insufficient, or if major repairs or rebuilding were required, the Government of the Commonwealth would provide further funds.
Resolution for the Seal of the Commission be affixed to and the Proper Officer sign such stock transfers as may be necessary to effect the transfer to the Commission of £6,833.15.3d. (nominal) Government of the Commonwealth of Australia 3 ¼ per cent Registered Stock 1964-1974 purchased in the Commission's name by the Australian authorities to provide for the maintenance of the Australian Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux.

Exhumations And Reburials In France And Belgium
Update that in the period in question 20 out of 23 bodies were found quite accidentally, and not by metal-searchers or by the French official search parties.

Major-General Sir Fabian 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)
Lieut.-General Sir George Macdonogh, G.B.E., K.C.B., K.C.M.G.
W.P. Spens, Esq., O.B.E., K.C., M.P.
Admiral Sir Howard Kelly, G.B.E., K.C.B., C.M.G., M.V.O.
Major-General Sir John Kennedy, K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.

There were also present:
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Frederic Kenyon, G.B.E., K.C.B.
Lieut.-Colonel A.R. MacAllan
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.
O.D. Holt, Esq.
Date25/5/1939 - 20/7/1939
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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