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Circulation, approval and signing of minutes of the 277th Meeting.
Apologies for absence received from Sir John Kennedy and Sir William Halcrow.
Announcement of the death on 4 February of Sir Herbert Baker, K.C.I.E., R.A., F.R.I.B.A., the last surviving member of the original three of the Commission’s Principal Architects. Sir Herbert had designed the Commission's memorials at Neuve-Chapelle, Tyne Cot and Loos and the South African Memorial at Delville Wood and had been responsible for the designs of 112 cemeteries in France and Belgium. Brigadier Higginson represented the Commission at the funeral service in Westminster Abbey on February 13th.
Announcement that Mr. J.L. Murphy, Assistant Trade Commissioner for Newfoundland in London, who frequently represented his Government at meetings of the Commission, had received a O.B.E. in the New Year's Honours.
Announcement that Sir John Kennedy had resigned his membership, as he was unable to attend meetings of the Commission owing to the pressure of other duties. The question of a successor had been carefully considered and after discussing the matter with the Chairman and with Sir Edward Peacock, the Chairman of the Trustees of the Imperial War Graves Endowment Fund and others, the Vice-Chairman had put forward the name of Sir Richard Hopkins for appointment by Royal Warrant.
Review Of Recent Events
Major H.F. Walls, Secretary of the Gibraltar Agency since 1945, had completed his tour of duty and had been succeeded by Captain G.J. Forrest, R.E.
Brigadier S. Collingwood, successor to Colonel Hoffman as Deputy Controller, Southern European District, would depart for Rome the following week after several days in conference at Wooburn.
Colonel Obbard, Major Oakes and Major Macfarlane had completed their tour of Burma, Malya and Siam.
Two more cemeteries in Egypt had been handed over to the Commission: Amiriya Military Cemetery and Geneifa Military Cemetery.
Refers to gift from the Ontario Horticultural Association in early 1944 with a number of young Maple trees for planting at Brookwood, and recently, Colonel Durham suggested the balance of subscriptions made to the Royal Horticultural Society by the Association be devoted to the planting of Maple trees in various cemeteries in the United Kingdom containing Canadian war graves.
Request by the father of Fusilier D. Gorostizaga to add a personal inscription to his son’s headstone in Florence Military Cemetery:
FORCED INTO THE WAR AGAINST HIS WILL
A GRADED MAN HE DIED THAT THE
CAPITALIST MIGHT LIVE.
Members indicated their dissent and the Vice-Chairman said he request the next of kin to submit an alternative inscription.
Reports Of The 321st And 322nd Meetings Of The Finance Committee
Adoption of both reports with reference to the appointment of Brigadier Collingwood, the Commission’s decision to take over the Hostel at Wooburn Green, and the appointment of a Chief Accountant in the Central European District.
Progress Of The Commission’s Work In France And Belgium
Update on the Commission’s work in France and Belgium from General Roberts, with comments about difficult living conditions for staff in France and Belgium, referring to rationing and shortages. Also refers to handover of cemeteries for the Second World War, preparatory horticultural work for the Spring, and financial difficulties for headquarters staff in Central European District.
Policy As To Graves And Cremations In Japan
Discussion concerning the Commission’s policy for war graves and cremations in Japan, referring to the agreement of all participating governments except New Zealand, the American policy for graves in Japan, and the Treaty of Peace with Japan.
Resolution that the Commission recommended remains (both cremated and buried) be concentrated to a suitable site in Japan.
Cremation In Japan: Treatment Of Urns
Discussion regarding the disposal of the urns containing the ashes of those who died as prisoners of war in Japanese hands, mentioning the original proposal to place ashes in a columbarium for which Brigadier Higginson had been asked to submit designs for a cloister in which the urns could be placed beneath a paved floor similar to that adopted in Westminster Abbey.
After further deliberation, it was decided that the ashes should be treated in the same way as if they were bodies, with Sir Arthur Longmore dissenting expressing that he saw no difference between burial at sea and cremations that had taken place in Japan.
Civilian War Dead: Report Of Advisory Committee
Mentions that Lady Davidson had been invited to attend the meeting to share the views of the Advisory Committee, of which she was a member, on the final form which the list of Civilian War Dead in Westminster Abbey would take.
Discussion with Viscountess Davidson outlining the form of the lists and proposals for local authorities to have their own copy of the list, with comments from Sir Herbert Ellissen that the Abbey itself and the Shrine be considered a Central memorial to the Missing with the commemorative list taking the place of name panels.
Purchase Of Hostel, Wooburn Green
Resolution for the purchase of the hostel at Wooburn Green which was discussed at the previous Commission meeting.
Definition of A War Grave – Auxiliary Formations – ENSA Artistes
Resolution that artistes of the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) dying overseas or from wounds inflicted overseas be accorded war graves recognition on the same footing as civilian members of NAAFI.
Negotiations With Allied Representatives – 11th Report
Report from Colonel Murphy, with specific mention of the policy of the Americans in regard to repatriation, referring to American graves in Cambridge and Brookwood cemeteries.
Superannuation Scheme – Assignment Of Commission’s Policy To Gardener-Caretaker A.E. Savill
Resolution that the Seal of the Commission be affixed to, and the Proper Officer Sign, the deed of assignment to Albert Edward Savill, late Gardener-Caretaker, of policy No. 3202032 with the Prudential Assurance Company Limited, being the Commission's policy effected in relation to the said A.E. Savill under the Superannuation Scheme.
Wooburn House – Contract For Electrical Work
Resolution that authority for the Controller to sign on behalf of the Commission the agreement with Messrs. Drake and Gorham Ltd. of 36 Grosvenor Gardens, SW1 for the carrying out of electrical work at Wooburn House.
Date Of Next Meeting
The next meeting would be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday 21 March 1946.
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)
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)
R. Petrie, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
J.L. Murphy, Esq., O.B.E. (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.
Colonel the Lord Wigram, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., C.S.I.
There were also present:
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Frederic Kenyon, G.B.E., K.C.B.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen, C.B.B. (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)
Lieut.-Colonel H.F. Chettle, C.M.G., G.B.E. (Director of Records)
F.C. Sillar, Esq. (Assistant Secretary, Finance)
Major-General J.H. Roberts, C.B., D.S.O., M.C. (Chief Administrative Officer, Central European District)
Captain H.P.R. Foster (Legal Assistant)
Lieut.-Colonel R.W. Murphy, M.B.E. (Area Superintendent, United Kingdom)
Major F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
Captain O.D. Holt