Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/285
File NumberWG 1831/227
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.285 - October 1946


DescriptionMinutes of the 285th Meeting of the Commission
Content NoteTopics covered:

Circulation, approval and signing of Minutes of the 284th Meeting.

Welcome to new High Commissioner for Canada, Mr Norman Robertson and his representative for future meetings, Mr Sigvaldason.

Welcome to Colonel W.F. Rendell, the Trade Commissioner for Newfoundland and also mention Mr Seel had been nominated as the successor to Colonel Cole at the Colonial Office, and Mr Singh was representing the High Commissioner for India.

Mentions successor to Mr J.J. Lawson, Secretary of State for War, was Mr Bellenger, with resolution to record the Commission’s appreciation for Mr Lawson’s help and encouragement whilst in the post of Chairman of the Commission.

Review Of Recent Events
Reading of letter received from Mr Beasley, High Commissioner for Australia, regarding his visit to war graves in France and Belgium, including Ypres where he and his wife had visited his wife’s uncle’s grave.
Mentions the BBC had asked the Vice-Chairman to broadcast a short talk on 10 November, referring to previous broadcasts.
Mentions General Vanier, Canadian Ambassador in Paris, had been asked to lay a wreath on behalf of the Anglo-French Committee at the Arc de Triomphe on November 10th.
Mentions General Roberts had been asked to arrange for a wreath to be laid on the Unknown Soldier's Tomb in Brussels on behalf of the Anglo-Belgian Committee. A representative of the Commission had also been invited to attend the Service of Remembrance at the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill.
Update on the Committee appointed at the Last meeting to enquire into the question of payment for personal inscriptions.
Mentions that on 11 August Mr. Mackenzie King the Prime Minister of Canada had paid an unofficial visit to Beny-sur-Mer Canadian Cemetery, and wreaths had been placed by local officials. Another ceremony had taken place near Bayeux on the 25th August at Bourg-Achard Cemetery, where wreaths were laid on the local 1914-18 War Memorial by the Mayor and members of the Anciens Combattants. In both cases the Commission were represented by Major G.G. Cook.
Mentions a large wreath of carnations, asters, zinnias, and ferns was placed on the 2nd Australian Division Memorial, Mont-St. Quentin, by Major V.A. Haskett-Smith, Area Superintendent for Albert area, on 1 September 1946.
In Holland and Belgium two ceremonies had taken place in September, at Valkenswaard British Cemetery and at Kasterlee British Cemetery.
The monthly Progress Report from Southern European District stated that their headquarters had now moved to new premises at No. 7, Via Asmara, Rome. A large laurel wreath was laid at the Cross of Sacrifice in Mikra Cemetery on the 25th August by one of the Parliamentary party visiting Greece.
A detailed report had been submitted by General Roberts on his recent visit to North-East France and Switzerland.
Taking Over Cemeteries
Update on the progress of taking over cemeteries from the Army’s Directorate of Graves Registration and Enquiries, discussing manpower shortage and the American Graves Service in North-West Europe compared to the British Graves Service.

Report of the Special Meeting of the Finance Committee
Suggestion for the two reports of the finance Committee to be taken together. Mentions the Special meeting dealt with the matter of the allowances of the staff in France and certain salary questions.

Report of the 329th Meeting of the Finance Committee
Adoption of the report of the Finance Committee, referring to:
Item 15, which related to the appointment of Colonel H.N. Obbard as Chief Administrative Officer, India and South-East Asia District.
Item 17 (Halfaya-Sollum Cemetery), which raised the question whether Crosses should be made in the United Kingdom and sent overseas at very heavy expense, or whether the Commission should attempt to arrange for construction locally.
Item 18 referred to the horticultural layout of Arnhem Cemetery, recently taken over from the Army.
Item 19 referred to maintenance of temporary crosses in France and Belgium.
Item (No. 20) was a proposal submitted by the Director of Works to overcome the difficulty of making headstones.

Iraq Committee
Refers to an Agreement which, if the Commission approved, the Foreign Office would be asked to negotiate with the Iraqi government. The Commission would then ask all the participating Governments for full powers for their representatives at Baghdad, whether it be pro hac vice the British Ambassador or any representative whom they themselves might have at Baghdad to sign the Agreement.

Maintenance Of Graves West Of The Indus
Comments that the decision taken after the First World War, at the suggestion of the Government of India, had seemed even at the time to be arbitrary and that there was feeling in India strongly against the continuance of the policy which led to the decision. After brief discussion, it was agreed that this matter be left without any decision being taken.

Definition Of A War Grave: Auxiliary Organisations
Resolution that on the recommendation of the Secretary of State for the Colonies the Auxiliary Nursing Services in Malaya and Hong Kong be recognized for war graves treatment on the analogy of the Voluntary Aid Detachments, acceptance extending to deaths occurring during service with the Armed Forces, whether in the country of recruitment or elsewhere, under similar conditions as apply to the Armed Forces.

Indian War Graves Committee
Update on proposals which had been approved by the Government of India. Resolution on the proposed termination of the Commission’s Indian Agency and the reorganisation of work in India.

Maintenance Of War Graves In The United Kingdom: 16th Quarterly Report
Report by Colonel Murphy, referring to 49th District Inspectors' Meeting was held at Grosvenor Gardens a week before the meeting which was attended by General Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson and Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore.
Mentions the Commission now had three Travelling Gardeners who visited the small cemeteries and churchyards containing the graves of R.A.F. personnel about which there had been complaints. They were now hard at work; eight or nine cemeteries had been cleared and a considerable number would be put in order during the Winter months.
Comment from Sir Arthur Longmore about visiting a cemetery at West Thorney after the Travelling Gardener had completed work on it.

Canadian Representative On The Finance Committee.
Resolution for the appointment of Mr Norman Robertson as a Member of the Finance Committee.

Construction Policy: United Kingdom Cemeteries
Discussion regarding construction policy, particularly the siting of Crosses of Sacrifices to be erected in cemeteries. Proposed and agreed in principle that:
A. For a normal cemetery containing 40 or more graves of the 1914-1918 war with a War Cross in a central position and a more or less equal number of 1939-1945 graves, no action beyond erecting standard headstones on the new graves need be taken if the two plots were contiguous.
B. For cemeteries with a War Cross of 1914-1918 and, at a considerable distance a large plot of 1939-1945 graves, each case should be treated on its merits.
C. For cemeteries containing small plots of both wars now totalling over 40 graves a Cross should be erected in a central position.
D. For large cemeteries with a 1914-1918 Cross of Sacrifice and several hundred new graves, a Stone of Remembrance may be added.

Memorials To The Missing
Discussion regarding suggestion from Sir John Slessor of having an Inter-Services Memorial to combine the names of the missing from Navy, the Army, and the Royal Air Force.

Mentions the next meeting would be held at 11 o’clock on Thursday 21 November 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) Norman Robertson, Esq. (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)
Colonel W.F. Rendell, C.B.E. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
P. Singh, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for India)
G.F. Seel, Esq., C.M.G. (Representing the Secretary of State for the Colonies)
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, D.C.B., D.S.O.
Colonel The Rt. Hon. Lord Wigram, G.C,B., G.C.V.O., C.~.I.

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)
J.P. Sigvaldason, Esq. (Canada House)
G. Savage, Esq. (Colonial Office)
Brigadier A.W. Holbrook, C.B.E. , M.C. (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. (Assistant Secretary, Records)
F.C. Sillar, Esq., C.B.E. (Assistant Secretary, Finance)
Lieut.-Celonel R.W. Bateman, M. Inst, C.E. (Director of Works)
Lieut.-Colonel R.W. Murphy, M.B.E. (Area Superintendent, United Kingdom)
E.J. King, Esq., M.C.
Major F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
P.R. Trevelyan-Thomson, Esq.
Date2/10/1946 - 23/12/1946
Extent1 file
CategoryMeeting Notes
ArchNotePlease note that the downloadable document is the final version of the Committee Meeting minutes. Additional information, including the verbatim minutes and subsidiary reports, may be available in the physical file.
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