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Circulation, approval, and signing of Minutes for the 271st Meeting of the Commission.
Apologies for absence received from Sir John Kennedy and Mr D. James Davies. Mr. Murphy was representing Mr Davies.
Announcement of the death of Sir Eric Phipps, formerly British Ambassador in Berlin and Paris. While he was Ambassador in Berlin, he gave the Commission constant and most valuable advice and encouragement in the negotiations with the German Government which led up to the signing of the Anglo-German-French Agreement in December 1935. He was one of the first Honorary Members of the Mixed Committee set up under that Agreement. When he was transferred to Paris in 1937, he was an Honorary Member of the Anglo-French Committee until his retirement in 1939.
Announcement that the Rt. Hon. J.J. Lawson, M.P. , had been appointed Secretary of State for War and consequently was made Chairman of the Commission.
Reading of letter of resignation received from Lord Baldwin.
The Vice-Chairman’s Visit to France and Belgium
Report from Vice-Chairman regarding visit to France and Belgium, with comment he had returned with the belief the cemeteries would remain even if the Commission did not touch them for five hundred years. Comments about damage sustained during the Second World War at the Menin Gate, Villers Bretonneux, and bad conditions at Beaumont-Hamel. Also praises work of gardening staff as they were beginning to return to work and comments on contrast of conditions between Belgium and France, as well as the Commission’s officers at Arras who had established their own mess and were living on British Army rations.
Review Of Recent Events
Letter from Mr J.B. Chifley, Prime Minister of Australia, expressing thanks for the copy of the latest Annual Report which was sent to the late Prime Minister Mr Curtin.
Letter from the Treasury confirming raising of the Commission’s “ceiling” to 205.
As from 1 August, the Commission's principal offices in France was re-established in its former home at the Place du Marechal Foch, Arras.
Announcement of resignation of Miss K.B. Blaikley, M.B.E. a member of the Finance Department from 1918 to 1939, who had come back from retirement in May, 1942. She returned at the Commission's request to take charge of the copy of the lists of Civilian War Dead which were open for inspection by relatives at 32 Grosvenor Gardens.
Letter received from a Mrs M.C. Le Page, of Guernsey, in reply to forms which the Commission had sent her relating to her husband and two sons who were been killed in a bombing raid.
Handover documents received for Asmara War Cemetery, Eritrea and Nairobi (Forest Road) Cemetery. Similar documents received for Sfax War Cemetery. Documents relating to cremations in ten cemeteries in Iraq, eleven in Persia and one in Arabia had also been received.
The military cemeteries at Halfaya Sollum and Acroma were taken over.
Three cemeteries in Algeria Bougie (La Reunion) Cemetery, Dely-Ibrahim British Cemetery and Algiers (El Alia) Cemetery were handed over in March.
Medjez-el-Bab War Cemetery and Enfidaville War Cemetery in Tunisia were handed over in April and Tobruk Cemetery in May.
Colonel Menzies had reported that an interesting Anglo-Greek Ceremony had taken place at Axioupolis, Macedonia, in remembrance of British and Greek soldiers who fell in the campaign of 1918.
Report Of The 316th Meeting Of The Finance Committee
Summary of discussion regarding reply to be sent to the National Secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union on the question of the allowances to be paid to the men in France.
Also discussion about the appointment of new Area Superintendents in Iraq and the Southern European District, as well as the extension of Colonel Buller’s appointment as Area Superintendent of East Africa Area.
Recommendation for an Assistant to the Director of Records.
Reference to Item 17 regarding appointment of a Director of Works.
Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee.
Present-War Graves In India
Refers to recommendations set out by the Director of Graves Registration and Enquiries Brigadier J.K. McNair.
Update on agreement of the Government of India that the Commission take over direct control of all war graves in India, together with their care and maintenance, and also to reconsider the existing financial arrangements with the Commission.
Comment from General Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson expressing concern over size of Commission’s undertaking in India and the duties of the Inspector.
1. The Commission approve in principle the measures proposed for its adjustment to meet the situation arising out of the present war and request the Vice-Chairman to take the necessary stops to obtain the concurrence of the Governments of India and Burma to the putting of these measures, into operation.
2. The Commission approve the temporary Inspectorate and refer it to the Finance Committee.
3. The Artistic Advisor consider and recommend a suitable candidate for the role of Principal Architect for India and Burma.
Superannuation Scheme – Assignment Of Commission Policy
Resolution that the Seal of the Commission be affixed to, and the Proper Officer sign the assignment to Percy William Peach of Policy No. 114122 in the National Provident Institution, being the policy taken out in the Commission's name in respect of Mr. Peach under the Superannuation Scheme.
District Offices, Shrewsbury
Resolution that authority to be and hereby is given to Captain A.J. Dix, Inspector, Western District, on the Commission's behalf to sign the tenancy agreement for the occupation of promises at No.3 Barker Street, Shrewsbury, intended for use as the Commission’s District Offices.
British Seamen Serving In Foreign Ships
Refers to letter from the Ministry of War Transport sent to Colonel Cole regarding the treatment of graves of British seamen serving in foreign ships.
Resolution that the Commission, having considered a paper A/37/4, dated the 28th June 1945, agree with the reasons therein stated for extending to British merchant seamen dying whilst serving in Allied or neutral ships the war graves recognition hitherto confined to personnel of British ships and approve the proposals contained in the said paper.
Newfoundland Forestry Unit
Mentions the question of marking the graves of the Newfoundland Forestry who died in Scotland during the war be decided at the next meeting.
Date Of Next Meeting
The next meeting would be held on Thursday 18 October 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)
J.L. Murphy, Esq. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
Sir Samuel Runganadhan (High Commissioner for India)
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., J.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 and Reconstruction)
Sir William Halcrow, M. Inst., C.E. (Honorary Consulting Engineer)
Brigadier J.K. McNair, C.B.E. (Director of Graves Registration and Enquiries, War Office)
Brigadier F. Higginson, C.M.G. (Controller)
Lieut.-Colonel H.F. Chettle, C.M.G., O.B.E. (Director of Records)
Captain H.P.R. Foster (Legal Assistant)
Captain F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
C.R. Kirton, Esq., M.B.E.