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Circulation, approval, and signing of the Minutes of the 262nd Meeting, with some amendments.
Announcement of the death of Colonel the Hon. Deneys Reitz, High Commissioner for the Union of South Africa since January 1943.
Mention that Sir William Halcrow had been invited to the meeting following his acceptance of the post of Honorary Consulting Engineer.
Apologies for absence received from Major-General Sir John Kennedy, Mr J. Lawson, Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith and Sir Ronald Adam, the Adjutant-General.
Sir Arthur Longmore had now received the Royal Warrant appointing him as a Member of the Commission.
Review Of Recent Events
Update on work of the advance party consisting of Major Macfarlane, Major Arnott, and Captain Grinham in the reopening of the Commission’s work in France and Belgium. Major Macfarlane was in Ypres and the other two members were in Arras where the Commission’s headquarters needed repair and nearly all the documents, including cemetery and memorial registers, which had been stored in 1940 in the Palais St. Vaast, were for the most part intact.
The German authorities had ensured that all cemeteries were well maintained and the German officer responsible for this duty had used “The Silent Cities” as a book of reference.
The Commission’s office at Wimereux had been largely destroyed, with mention that inquiries had failed to discover what happened to furniture and archives, which appeared to have been removed prior to the destruction of the building.
The advance party visited Brussels where the Tablet to the Million Dead was in place in the Cathedral of St. Gudule and undamaged.
Update of ceremonies held in connection with All Saints’ Day, notably at the Belgian plot at Brookwood and the French plot at Beaconsfield.
Mention that a French ceremony was held at Weston Mill Cemetery and the Plymouth Naval Memorial was in good condition, with comment that about forty of the city’s churches were destroyed in air raids during 1941 and so it had been the practice to hold a religious service every Sunday at the Memorial.
An article appeared in the Times on 21 October 1944 about the allocation of stalls in Westminster Abbey to the Dominion High Commissioners.
Mention of assistance given by Mr J.L.C. Cecil-Williams of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, and to Mr John MacIver regarding the translation of Welsh and Gaelic personal inscriptions for headstones submitted by relatives.
Report Of The 307th Meeting Of The Finance Committee
Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee, with comment from Assistant Secretary (Finance) Mr Sillar that there no items which he wished to draw particular attention to.
The Anglo-French Mixed Committee
Mention that the Commission would be unable to resume work in France until the Anglo-French Committee had been re-established. Discussion about re-establishing the Committee, with further questions over repayment to the French for their work done in looking after graves during the period 1940-1944, and also the presentation by the French government of the sites for 1939-1945 war cemeteries.
The Iraq Committee: Appointment Of Assistant Secretary
Resolution for the appointment of Captain W.H. Haigh, Area Superintendent, Iraq, as Assistant Secretary to the Iraq Committee.
Dominion And Colonial Personnel: Serving In United Kingdom Units
Discussion regarding the position of Dominion governments with regards to the question of the inclusion of reference to country of origin on the headstones of Dominion and colonial personnel who had died whilst serving in United Kingdom units.
Engraving Of Previous Service Particulars On The Headstone
Discussion regarding request by relatives for the engraving of previous service particulars on headstone, with suggestion this would become very complicated and an alternative would be to put any reference to previous service in the space allotted for the personal inscription or recording it in the Cemetery Register.
Flagstaffs And Flags At Cemeteries In The United Kingdom
Discussion regarding proposal to place flags in cemeteries in the United Kingdom, with proposal by Sir Samuel Runganadhan carried unanimously for the establishment of a Committee consisting of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore, Lieutenant-Colonel S.J. Cole and Mr C. Knowles, to consider and report to the Commission on the matter.
Reference to the paper presented at the meeting which dealt with various ceremonies connected with Armistice Day in which the Commission had taken part, and also included a copy of the broadcast address by the Vice-Chairman on 11 November.
Date Of Next Meeting
The next meeting would be held at 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday 20 December 1944.
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)
C. Knowles Esq., C.B.E. (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
I.T. Meyer Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
Sir Samuel Runganadhan (High Commissioner for India)
Lieut.-Colonel S.J. Cole, C.M.G., O.B.E. (Representing the Secretary of State for the Colonies)
General Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
Colonel Sir John Shute, C.M.G., D.S.O., J.P., M.P.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore, G.C.B., D.S.O.
There were also present:
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Frederic Kenyon, G.B.E., K.C.B.
Sir William Halcrow, M. Inst. C.E. (Honorary Consulting Engineer)
Colonel S.G.G. Fraser, M.C. (A.A.G., D.G.R & E.)
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen, C.B.E. (Adviser on Post-War Organisation and Reconstruction)
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, UK)
Lieut. O.D. Holt