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Circulation, approval, and signing of the Minutes of the 267th Meeting.
Apologies for absence received from the Adjutant-General, Sir John Kennedy, Colonel Cole, and Mr Dutt. Mr Davies was also unable to be present and Mr J.L. Murphy was welcomed in his place.
Review Of Recent Events
Announcement of the death of Dr S.F.N. Gie, South African Minister in Washington, who, whilst in the post of South African Minister in Berlin in 1936, had given valuable advice and help in the formation of the Anglo-German-French Committee.
Colonel Higginson was fully restored to health and had been promoted to the rank of Brigadier.
The Commission’s 25th Annual Report had been published on 4 April 1945 and received wide publicity in the press.
Colonel Fraser was at the meeting, in place of Brigadier McNair who was absent, as a representative of the Directorate of Graves Registration and Enquiries.
Shortages of staff at the Commission’s office in Wooburn and update on meetings with the Treasury.
Letter received from the Chief of the Graves Registration and Effects Branch, United States Army, reporting bomb damage in Cologne Southern Cemetery, Germany.
Update on the matter covered in Mr Sillar’s report considered at the last meeting of the Finance Committee concerning staff abroad and relations with the Transport and General Workers’ Union.
Colonel Buller, the Commission’s Inspector for the Sudan and East Africa, had forwarded record documents and the taking-over certificate for Addis Ababa War Cemetery.
A ceremony had taken place in Eritrea following the gift of the land for Keren War Cemetery by a local chieftain.
Report from Deputy Director of Works, Western Mediterranean District, that seven more cemeteries had been taken over from the Graves Registration Service in North Africa: Beja, Dely Ibrahim, Bougie (La Reunion), Massicault, El Alia, Tabarka (Ras Rajel), and Sfax.
The Deputy Controller of Eastern District had forwarded taking-over certificates and record documents for the present war graves at Chatby and Hadra Cemeteries, Alexandria, and for Hinaidi Indian Cemetery.
Report received of a visit by a Company of Newfoundland Artillery to the Newfoundland Memorial Park at Beaumont Hamel in September 1944. They were escorted by Gardener-Caretaker S.C. Humphreys.
A commemorative service was held at the Vimy Memorial on 9 April 1945 and the Commission was represented by Colonel Haworth.
Representatives of the Allied Forces had attended the ceremony of the sounding of the Last Post on 1 April (Easter Day) at Brookwood Military Cemetery.
The Commodore Superintendent, H.M. Dockyard, Bermuda, had undertaken to mark with wooden crosses and maintain on the Commission’s behalf, the 1939-1945 war graves in Bermuda, numbering 38 in 10 cemeteries.
The Commission’s policy for personal inscriptions would follow the same line taker after the First World War. Comments about inscriptions received from illiterate people and two curious inscriptions that were read
Discussion about whether personal inscriptions in Welsh would be permitted, referring to question asked in the House of Commons, with explanation that the Commission allowed any language (including Welsh, Gaelic, or Latin). Mentions Colonel Chettle had a small group of advisors to help translate such inscriptions.
Report Of The 312th Meeting Of The Finance Committee
Discussion regarding report’s recommendations for the construction of the two cemeteries at Sollum and Tobruk. Item 6 referred to cemetery construction in Egypt, with discussion about the height of the wall at Tobruk.
Mentions items 3, 4 and 5 dealt with construction in Africa.
Item 7 dealt with a case of one of the gardeners who was knocked down by a military lorry in early 1940 and had been in hospital in occupied territory since.
Item 8 concerned a memorandum on relations with the staff.
The Report was then adopted.
Cemeteries Of The Late War In Macedonia
Refers to reports received about condition of cemeteries in Macedonia, with credit to their care given to Mr Sakharoff who was left in charge when Colonel Menzies had to leave the country in 1941.
Maintenance Of War Graves In The United Kingdom – 10th Quarterly Report
Mention that Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore had visited 12 cemeteries, mostly containing R.A.F. graves, with comments about difficulty of handling plots at Chester and that he visited the cemeteries accompanied by two of the Commission’s inspectors, Captain Gill in Lincolnshire and Captain Dix in Chester and Shresbury.
Update from Colonel Fraser about the temporary marking of graves in the United Kingdom, which was progressing well.
Comment from Sir Arthur Longmore about the increase of numbers of graves of German prisoners of war in the United Kingdom, referring to case at Grimsby.
Major Murphy mentioned a new plot at Leicester had been set aside for German burials, and two others at Aldershot and Reading.
Colonel Fraser mentioned specific instructions were sent to all Prisoners of War Camp Commandants concerning burials.
Australian Memorials Of The Late War – Conversion Of Stock
Resolution that the Seal of the Commission be affixed to, and the Proper Officer sign, an application to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, 8 Old Jewry, London, E.C.2, for the conversion of the Commission's holding of £3,208-16-0d. Commonwealth of Australia 5% Registered Stock, 1945-1975 into an equal amount of Commonwealth of Australia 3*% Registered Stock, 1965-1969.
Placing Of Wreaths On Graves In War Cemeteries Overseas
Proposal to adopt the same system as after the late war, namely to draw up a list, which would be given to all enquirers, of the organisations or companies who were prepared to place wreaths on graves on behalf of and at the cost of relatives.
Refers to problems of organisations and individuals who had overcharged relatives for wreaths, but the Commission had found it difficult to interfere so approval would only be granted to certain recognised organisations.
Mentions the British Legion requested to be recognised as the only authority but the Vice-Chairman believed the Commission could not grant a monopoly in this matter.
Date Of Next Meeting
The next meeting would be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday 17 May 1945.
Major-General Sir Fabian Ware, K.C.V.O., K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G., LL.D. (Vice-Chairman, in the Chair)
V.C. Duffy Esq., M.V.O. (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
C. Knowles Esq., C.B.E. (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
I.T. Meyer Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
J.L. Murphy Esq. Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
General Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith, V.C., K.C.B.
Colonel Sir John Shute, C.M.G., D,S.O., T.D., J.P., D.L., M.P.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore, G.C.B., D.S.O., D. L.
There were also present:
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Frederic Kenyon, G.B.E., K.C.B.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen, C.B.E. (Adviser on Post-War Organisation & Reconstruction)
Colonel S.G.G. Fraser, M.C. (A.A.G., War Office)
Brigadier 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.
C.R. Kirton Esq., M.B.E.
Lieutenant O.D. Holt