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Circulation of the Minutes of the 269th Meeting.
Mention of Sir John Kennedy’s appointment of Lieutenant of the Tower of London.
Apologies for absence received from Mr Duffy, who was in Paris, from Sir John Shute and Mr Lawson, who were busy electioneering, and from Sir Frederic Kenyon.
Review Of Recent Events
Mr J.J. Lawson had become a Privy Councillor.
Announcement that General Roberts, the Commission’s Chief Administrative Officer in France and Belgium, had been awarded a C.B. in the Birthday Honours.
Announcement that Mr E.H. Seward had been awarded the M.B.E.
Mention that the installation of four Dominion High Commissioners took place on 10 June in Westminster Abbey.
Louis de Soissons had returned from a second tour of cemeteries in Italy and also to Greece to advise the Army on the layout of Phaleron War Cemetery.
Twenty more Commission gardeners had departed for France during the past month.
Colonel Stott, A.D.G.R. & E. at 21 Army Group, had recently visited the late-war British graves at Ohlsdorf Cemetery, Hamburg, and had found them in excellent condition.
General Roberts had reported three British burials of May 1940 in Vieil-Resdin Communal Cemetery.
Account of American ceremonies held on 30 May (American Memorial Day) in Madingley and Brookwood cemeteries.
Mention that the British Legion had invited the Commission to take part in the Empire Day Festival at the Albert Hall on 24 May, and six members of the gardening staff had attended.
Mention that the Germans had mined Dunkirk Town Cemetery and Le Treport Cemetery.
Mention of two volumes of photographs of cemeteries in North Africa were passed around the Meeting.
Reading of letter from Belgian Minister of the Interior regarding acknowledgement of receipt of a copy of the Annual Report.
Interesting-ceremonies had taken place in conjunction with the-French authorities at Arras, Albert and Glasgow, where wreaths had been laid.
The Chief Maintenance Officer had visited Charleville Communal Cemetery Cemetery and had found signs of neglect; renovation work was now in hand. At Sedan (Torcy) French National Cemetery the graves were neatly kept and planted with roses and the visitors’ book contained many signatures of German soldiers up to August 1941. The British plot in Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerp, had been well kept.
Comment regarding personal inscription requested by a mother of a seaman, which Colonel Chettle felt was unfitting and that a tactful letter to the mother would put the matter right.
Colonel Menzies, the Commission's Area Superintendent in Greece, had sent a report on Dedeagatch (Alexandroupolis) British Cemetery. The cemetery had been tended by the son of a former gardener during the period of enemy occupation.
A considerable number of cemeteries including 14 in Egypt and Palestine, had now been handed over with their records to the Commission.
Mention of extension of Vevey (St. Martin’s) Cemetery, Switzerland, where several prisoners-of-war graves were located.
Memorials In Cathedrals To Present-War Dead
Mention that a War Memorials Advisory Council, under the Chairmanship of Lord Chatfield, had been set up by the Royal Society of Arts, and the Vice-Chairman had asked that body to consider and put forward suggestions as to what might be done to commemorate the dead of the present war in a form similar to the tablets which the Commission had erected in certain French and Belgian Cathedrals and in Westminster Abbey after the last war.
Report Of The 314th Meeting Of The Finance Committee
Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee, including references to a number of items concerning the approval of the establishment and rates of pay for staff in Italy in accordance with Sir Herbert Ellissen's proposals.
Discussion regarding difficulties facing the Commission in terms of office accommodation; moving the entire headquarters back to London the Commission would lose about two-thirds of their staff; if they did not move they would lose one-third. It was impossible to increase the staff at Wooburn by recruiting from outside the district because accommodation was simply unobtainable. Moreover, without the necessary priority staff could not be obtained - particularly typists.
Exhumation And Repatriation Of Bodies From Overseas
Refers to the views of governments of India and Canada regarding the Commission’s policy on the question of exhumation and repatriation of bodies from overseas.
Resumption Of The Commission’s Work, France And Belgium
The first steps in resuming the Commission’s work in France and Belgium were complete, with the reopening of the Arras office and steps being taken to reopen branch offices.
Reports of 350 late-war cemeteries had been received.
There was to be considerable construction work taking place in Normandy, Belgium, Holland and Germany, with comment from Mrs Higginson that living conditions in Arras were poor.
Mention that the headquarters of 21 Army Graves Registration Service were to remain in Brussels.
Civilian War Dead
Announcement that the Civilian War Memorial, designed by Sir Charles Peers to contain the bound volumes of the Commission's lists of the Dead, had been completed.
Discussions regarding the placement of the volumes and the permanent commemoration of the names in the list, with suggestion from Mr Knowles of carrying out a similar custom at Golders Green Crematorium chapel where the dead were commemorated on every day of the year, so that on the anniversary of a particular death the appropriate book was open for the relatives to see.
Suggestion from Colonel Chettle regarding distinction of members of the Civil Defence Service, with views in response from Members.
Also refers to drawing up of lists of Civilian War Dead overseas, especially Malta.
Surplus Income Of Endowment Fund
Resolution that the Seal of the Commission be affixed to and the Proper Officer sign the form of request for the payment of the redemption monies in respect of the £25,002. 10. 9d 2% Conversion Stock, 1939-1945 held as part of the Special Reserve Fund.
Date Of Next Meeting
The next meeting would be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday 19 July 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)
Colonel E.H. Jones, D.C.M., E.D. (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)
D. James Davies, Esq., C.B.E., J.P. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
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)
Major-General Sir John Kennedy, K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
General Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith, V.C., K.C.B.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore, G.C.B., D.S.O., D.L.
There were also present:
Sir William Halcrow, M.Inst., C.E. (Honorary Consulting Engineer)
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen, C.B.E. (Adviser on Post-War Organisation and Reconstruction)
Brigadier J.K. McNair, C.B.E. (Director of Graves Registration and Enquiries, 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)
Captain F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
Lieutenant O.D. Holt