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Circulation, approval, agreement and signing of the Minutes of the 283rd Meeting.
Question from General Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson regarding Army Benevolent Fund and whether the Commission had given further consideration of establishing a Benevolent Association for which the fund could contribute to in order to assist staff in France.
Question from Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson whether the Red Cross had definitely stated that they would contribute to the cost of photographing all present war graves and, if so, how far that contribution would help in setting up the necessary administrative machinery.
Apologies for absence received from the High Commissioner for India, the Adjutant General, Mr J.L. Murphy, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore, and Sir William Halcrow.
Mention that Mr G. Savage was representing the Secretary of State for the Colonies at the meeting.
Major R. Wheeler was representing the High Commissioner for Australia.
Reference to obituary notice in the Times for Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Heaton Robinson, who had been appointed Deputy Director of Works to the Commission in 1920 and had succeeded Colonel Durham as Director of Works in 1926. Sir Heaton, who retired in December 1938, had been awarded a knighthood in recognition of his long and outstanding services.
Review Of Recent Events
Announcement that the King and Queen, accompanied by Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret had attended a ceremony at Great Bircham (St. Mary) Churchyard, Norfolk, on July 14th, when His Majesty had, at his own suggestion, unveiled the Cross of Sacrifice.
Mr Peter Fraser, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, had sent a personal and grateful acknowledgment of the copy of the current Annual Report.
Announcement that Lieut.-Colonel A.E. Brown, Secretary-General of the Commission's Anzac Agency, had been promoted to Brigadier.
Announcement that two members of the staff, Miss K. Milne and Miss L.C. Davies, had received the M.B.E. in the Birthday Honours List. They had both been members of the staff for over 25 years and these awards were very well deserved.
Announcement that Brigadier Brown had submitted his first report since his appointment to the Anzac Agency.
Major G.W.A. Kayser, the Commission’s Legal Assistant in Central European District, visited the Hague at the beginning of the month to see the Chief of the Graves Service of the Netherlands War Ministry.
Announcement that for the first time since before the Second World War, an official pilgrimage from Sheffield (yearly custom) had been made to the Serre Memorial Park.
Several ceremonies were held on St. Joan of Arc’s Day (12 May) to commemorate the anniversary of VE Day.
On 14 July, the Vice-Chairman had visited the graves of French airmen at the R.A.F. Regional Cemetery at Cambridge.
Announcement in the press that in future Remembrance Day for the Wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45 would be observed on the Sunday before November 11th unless November 11th or 12th were a Sunday.
On 8 June, a ceremony was held to inaugurate British war graves plot at Mollendal Cemetery, Bergen and a monument was unveiled by Captain R. Dogger, D.F.C. of the Royal Norwegian Airforce.
Colonel Peek, the Commission's Deputy Director of Works in the Western Mediterranean District, had reported that on Sunday and Wednesday afternoons parties of Army personnel were brought to El Alamein Cemetery from the NAAFI Holiday Camp. On Sundays there were generally 200 visitors to the site.
Major-General T.R. Williams, the Commission's Deputy Controller in the Eastern District, would shortly be returning to Australia for six months on sick leave.
Announcement that handing-over documents had been received during the past month for the following cemeteries: Udine Military Cemetery; Padua Military Cemetery; Ravenna British Cemetery; Coriano Ridge British Cemetery; and Forli del Senio Indian Cemetery in Italy; El Fasher Christian Cemetery and El Fasher Fort Cemetery in the Sudan; and Nairobi (Quarry Road) Muhammadan and Nairobi (Pumwani) Cemeteries, Nakuru African Cemetery and Thika Military Cemetery in Kenya.
Report Of The Special Meeting Of The Finance Committee Held on June 26th 1946
Mentions that the Committee at this special Meeting had considered what action should be taken as a result of the Commission's inability to come to an agreement with the Transport and General Workers Union on the question of wages of staff in France.
Report Of The 327th Meeting Of The Finance Committee
Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee including references to:
Item 5, which dealt with the erection of headstones over graves which were late concentrations from the First World War.
Item 14, which dealt with administrative expenses and establishment of staff in the India and South-East Asia District
Item 17, which dealt with the construction of Phaleron War Cemetery, Greece
Item 18, which dealt with the proposal to establish a Branch Office of the Commission at Bayeux.
Civilian War Dead: Report Of Advisory Committee
Update on the report of the advisory committee, including recommendations for bound paper copy of the Civilian War Dead list for Westminster Abbey.
A proposal put forward by Sir Herbert Ellissen was for relatives to possess a copy of the page containing the entry in which they were interested.
Lady Davidson had suggested that copies of the quarto edition should be put on sale as she believed that many members of the public would like to buy single parts.
Battle Exploits Memorials Committee
Mention this was the first occasion on which the Commission were invited to obtain approval of the French government to erect a Battle Exploit Memorial of the Second World War.
Resolution concerning the Committee’s recommendation for the 231st Infantry Brigade Memorial at Hottot (La Marmonniere) (Calvados) to commemorate the liberation of Hottot by the Brigade, June – July 1944.
Anglo-Egyptian War Cemeteries Committee, Anglo-Palestine War Cemeteries Executive Committee, Iraq Committee Of The Imperial War Graves Commission
Resolution that during the absence on sick leave of Major-General T.R. Williams, C.M.G., D.S.O., Deputy Controller, Eastern District, from his post, Colonel F.E. Buller, D.S.O., O.B.E., M.C. be appointed to replace him ad interim as Secretary to the following Committees:
Anglo-Egyptian War Cemeteries Committee
Anglo-Palestine War Cemeteries Executive Committee
Iraq Committee Of The Imperial War Graves Commission.
And that Flight Lieutenant J.D.T. Taylor-Gill, Area Superintendent, Iraq, be appointed Assistant Secretary to the Iraq Committee.
Negotiations With Allied Representatives – 12th Report
Update on negotiations, mentions that the Belgian Government had not yet reached a decision on the question of repatriation. The question of the care of the graves of members of the Polish Forces owing allegiance to the London Polish Government was being actively discussed at the present time with the Foreign Office and the Treasury.
Maintenance Of War Graves In The United Kingdom – 15th Quarterly Report
Update on work of levelling and turfing plots. Also mentions Travelling Superintendent Gardeners had commenced work in the Southern counties in April. Comment from Colonel Murphy had found difficulty in getting suitable men to deal with the plots in the worst conditions.
Superannuation Scheme – Resignation
Resolution for the assignment of Commission policy to Nelson Seadon Hanslip, Head Gardener Grade A.
Headstones For Southern European District
Discussion regarding the question of the use of Italian marble for headstones in cemeteries in Southern European District.
Bayeux – Proposed Purchase Of Premises Of Commission’s Branch Office
Resolution that Major-General J.H. Roberts, C.B., D.S.O., M.C., Chief Administrative Officer, Central European District, be and hereby is authorised on the Commission’s behalf to sign the preliminary Contract of Sale and formal Acte de Vente in connection with the purchase by the Commission of the premises known as the Hotel de Pommereau, Rue Echo, Bayeux, for use as the Commission's branch offices.
Representative Of The High Commissioner For Canada
Announcement that this was the last Meeting which Colonel Jones would attend as the representative of the High Commissioner for Canada.
Date Of Next Meeting
Mention that, unless urgent business arose, there would be no Commission meeting in August.
Sir Richard Hopkins suggested at the meeting of the Finance Committee that if important questions arose for decision a special Meeting could be held, and, if there were not a quorum, the next Meeting of the Commission would be asked to validate the action taken at the special Meeting. The next regular Meeting would therefore be called for 11 o'clock on Thursday 19 September 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)
Major R. Wheeler (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)
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.
Colonel the Rt.Hon. The Lord Wigram, G.C.B., Q.C.V.O., C.S.I.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Hopkins, G.C.B.
There were also present:
G. Savage, Esq. (Colonial Office)
Colonel C.M. Clode, M.C. (Assistant Adjutant-General, Directorate of Graves Registration and Enquiries)
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen (Adviser on Post-War Organisation and Reconstruction)
Brigadier F. Higginson, C.M.G. (Controller)
Lieut.-Colonel H.F. Chettle, C.M.G., O.B.E. (Assistant Secretary, Records)
F.C. Sillar, Esq., C.B,E. (Assistant Secretary, Finance)
Lieut.-Colonel R.W. Bateman (Director of Works)
Brigadier J.K. McNair, C.B.E.
Lieut.-Colonel R.W. Murphy, M.B.E. (Area Superintendent, United Kingdom)
Major F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
Captain O.D. Holt