Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/261
File NumberWG 1831/203
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.261 - August 1944


DescriptionMinutes of the 261st Meeting of the Commission
Content NoteTopics covered:

Request for amendment to Minutes of the 260th Meeting by Mr MacLeod.

Announcement of death of Air Chief Marshal Sir William Mitchell the previous night, who had been due to attend the meeting.

Apologies for absence received from Mr Lawson, Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson, the Adjutant-General, Mr D. James Davies and Major-General Sir John Kennedy.

Review Of Recent Events
General Williams had departed for Cairo on 26 June.
Colonel Hoffman had been in the UK recently with some very useful discussions with the Commission and the Directorate.
Letters received from Count Memmo, Area Superintendent for Italy, who had escape from German-occupied territory.
Louis de Soissons, newly appointed Architect for Italy, was visiting the country to advise upon the planning and construction of cemeteries in liberated territory.
Among civilian internees repatriated to the UK were twenty former gardener-caretakers in France and Belgium, who were greeted by Commission officials at Liverpool.
The Vice-Chairman had recently inspected a number of cemeteries containing war graves in South Wales.
Reports received from Colonel McDougall in Italy, Colonel Buller in Ethiopia and Somaliland, and Commander Browne in Tunisia and Algeria.
Mentions care of graves of British airmen by local people in Belgium and that a small ceremony had taken place on 22 July in the Belgian plot at Brookwood Military Cemetery.
Announcement of appointment of Lord Gort as High Commissioner and Commander-in-Chief in Palestine, in succession to Sir Harold MacMichael.
Letter received from the British Legation in Stockholm regarding the establishment of a fund for the upkeep of graves of British airmen buried in the cemetery at Helsingborg.
Photographs received showing Tablet to the Million Dead placed in Bayeux Cathedral.

Appointment Of Honorary Consulting Engineer
Resolution that Sir William Halcrow be invited to accept the appointment of Honorary Consulting Engineer to the Commission, succeeding Sir George Humphreys.

Exhumation And Repatriation Of Bodies From Overseas
Discussion about he question of the Commission’s policy in regard to requests received from relatives for the return of bodies of officers and men buried overseas to their home countries.
Major Lord Courtown mentioned about 250 requests had been received, but no facilities at War Office for bringing back remains for reburial.
Suggestion for the Commission to follow a similar policy as done after the First World War, with further agreement to consult the Chairman before proceeding further.

Report Of The 305th Meeting Of The Finance Committee
Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee, with reference to Item 4, which concerned the adoption of the report of the Sub-Committee on Treatment of Staff formerly employed by the Commission in France and Belgium.

Definition Of A War Grave: Personnel Of “Telcom” Serving Overseas
Resolution that the Commission accept members of Telcom as service dead for the purpose of war graves treatment.

Negotiations With Allied Representatives – Eighth Report
Mention that that the Vice-Chairman and Colonel Chettle were in touch with the French Committee of National Liberation with a view to obtaining their acceptance of the agreement reached with the French Government in 1939 to provide at their cost the land required for permanent cemeteries, and their approval of the procedure for making contact with French local authorities.

Maintenance Of War Graves U.K. – Seventh Quarterly Report
Suggestion for the treatment of German graves, either to be placed in special sections of cemeteries or alternatively, situated in one plot centrally located for all German burials in the United Kingdom.
Comment from Mr Murphy that only three cemeteries in the United Kingdom were owned by the Commission: Brookwood, Cannock Chase and Lyness.
A further memorandum would be prepared on the proposal for treatment of German graves.

Cemeteries And Memorials In Gallipoli
Mention that the report from the Minister and Acting Counsellor at the British Embassy at Ankara on recent visit to the Gallipoli Peninsula would be read with great interest.

Update, with Vice-Chairman saying he had little to add to previous discussions on the subject.

Reopening Of The Commission’s Work In France And Belgium
Update on progress towards reopening of the Commission’s work in France and Belgium, with Sir Herbert Ellissen outlining proposed threefold approach:
1. Resumption of the Commission’s activities in France and Belgium in the political conditions then obtaining.
2. Construction of new cemeteries resulting from present war and repair of existing cemeteries and memorials.
3. Restoration of the Commission’s standard of horticulture in existing cemeteries and its establishment in new cemeteries.
Resolution to appoint a new Chief Administrative Officer and referral of estimates of expenditure and other proposals to the Finance Committee.

Dominion And Colonial Personnel Serving United Kingdom Units
Mention that this subject would be deferred until the next Commission meeting.
Flagstaffs In R.A.F. Regional Cemeteries
Discussion regarding the question of erecting flagstaffs at R.A.F Regional Cemeteries, as well as possibly at Dover (St. James) Cemetery and the Royal Naval Cemetery at Lyness.
Refers to decision to erect a flagstaff provided by the military authorities at Brookwood in 1941 and the erection of a flagstaff in the Canadian section by the Canadian authorities in 1943.
Mentions discussions at 257th Commission meeting when Mr Maufe’s plan for redevelopment of Brookwood was outlined.
Also refers to practice of American flag being flown at Brookwood and further comments on practical difficulties for the placing of a flagstaff in cemeteries.

Major-General Sir Fabian Ware, K.C.V.O., K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G., LL.D. (Vice-Chairman, in the Chair)
E. MacLeod, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
V.C. Duffy, Esq., M.V.O. (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
W.E. Pratt, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
I.T. Meyer, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
Lieut.-Colonel S.J. Cole, C.M.G., O.B.E. (Representing the Secretary of State for the Colonies)
Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith, V.C., K.C.B., R.N.
Colonel Sir John Shute, C.M.G., D.S.O., J.P., M.P.

There were also present:
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Frederic Kenyon, G.B.E., K.C.B., T.D., D.Litt.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen, C.B.E. (Adviser on Post-War Organisation and Reconstruction)
Major the Earl of Courtown, O.B.E. (D.A.A.G., D.G.R.& E.)
Lieut.-Colonel F. Higginson, C.M.G. (Controller and Director of Works)
Lieut.-Colonel H.F. Chettle, C.M.G., O.B.E. (Director of Records)
F.C. Sillar, Esq. (Assistant Secretary, Finance)
Major R.W. Murphy, M.B.E. (Area Superintendent, United Kingdom)
Captain F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
Lieut. O.D. Holt
Date26/6/1944 - 9/11/1944
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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