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Circulation, approval and signing of minutes of the 289th Meeting.
Announcement of death of Mr MacDonald Gill, who had been invited to assist in the lettering on headstones, and he had prepared the Alphabet and specification which had thereafter been followed. Later, he had designed the regimental badges in accordance with the wishes of the Units concerned. The Commission conveyed sympathy to the family of MacDonald Gill.
Apologies for absence had been received from the Adjutant-General to the Forces, who was now in the Far East, and Sir William Halcrow, who was indisposed.
Indian Free Corps
Discussion regarding the commemoration of members of the Indian Free Corps with resolution that all graves be accepted as war graves and accorded the treatment normally applicable to fatal casualties of the Indian Forces.
Review of Recent Events
Update on the question of replacing Mr J.J. Lawson, M.P., as an Unofficial Member of the Commission with reading of letter sent by Mr Neal in response to the invitation for him to become a Member of the Commission.
Announcement that Wing Commander Greensill had been awarded the O.B.E., and Horticultural Superintendent A.E. Piper had been awarded the B.E.M. in the New Year's Honours List.
Anglo-Belgian Mixed Committee
Update on progress of Colonel Chettle’s efforts to resuscitate the Mixed Committees.
Mention that photographs of new war cemeteries in France, Belgium, and Holland, were shown to Members.
Mention that the Commission had received a most satisfactory report from the South African Agency. During the year the work of placing temporary wooden crosses on the graves of Service personnel in the Union and south-West Africa, until such time as they were replaced by Commission headstones, had been steadily pursued by the War, Records Section of the Defence Department. The total numbers dealt with up to the end of October were 5,423. Made up of 4,368 South African Service personnel and 1,055 from the United Kingdom, other Dominions and the Allies.
Overview of ceremonies held in November, including, in Italy, on the 2nd November, the women of Ortona, after attending Mass in the Cathedral on behalf of the Allied soldiers who had died to liberate the town, made a pilgrimage to the Ortona Military Cemetery and laid flowers on the graves.
Also, in Macedonia, wreaths were laid at the Stone of Remembrance in Salonika (Lembet Road) Cemetery by the French Consul-General on the 8th and by the Yugoslav Consul on the 10th November. A service was held on Remembrance Day at the same cemetery by the 4th Infantry Division and the British community.
A report had also been received through Canadian Agency from the Officer Commanding Royal Air Force Liaison Office, Air University, Manvell Field, Alabama, relating to a ceremony held at the small Royal Air Force cemetery there on Remembrance Day. Mentions that the Officer Commanding, Group Captain A.M. Combe, had written to say that after the ceremony a Mr. William H. Edwards, Scout Executive of the Montgomery Boy Scouts Association had suggested that his Association might assist the local Women's Organisation in caring for these graves. His kind offer had been accepted and a letter of thanks would be sent from the Commission.
Mentions report of ceremonies in Tunisia, including one held at Massicault on 11 November.
Mentions a wreath-laying ceremony at Jerusalem War Cemetery on 10 November and another ceremony in Baghdad (North Gate) Cemetery, Iraq.
Mentions the Commission had also received an interesting and useful letter from Colonel Osborne, Secretary-General of the Canadian Agency, who had forwarded a report by Major Baillie, of the Canadian Army, now in Japan.
Mention that, since the last Meeting, Dieppe Canadian Cemetery, containing 900 graves, and Nijmegen Canadian Cemetery, containing 2,500 graves, had been handed over to the Commission for maintenance.
Update and discussion on whether headstones in Malta should be made of Malta stone.
Discussion of the treatment of African graves, with reference to treatment of graves of East African and West African casualties of the First World War and comments that the Commission would have to take guidance from the Colonial Office. It was resolved:
(i) that the graves of East and West African soldiers should be marked by Commission head stones where they are in maintainable civil or military cemeteries and;
(ii) that in other cases those of all West Africans should, where it is still possible, be' concentrated to permanent cemeteries, unless specific representations to the contrary have been made by co-religionists, all East African graves being obliterated and the names recorded on memorials in the nearest suitable cemeteries.
Memorials to the Missing
Update on the question of memorials to the missing for the Second World War, referring to the change in policy, as compared with 1914-1918, which was that the Commission did not suggest that the commemoration of the missing of the Second World War should lead to monumental treatment, as at the Menin Gate, but that commemoration should be within the cemeteries, following the New Zealand decision after 1918.
Definition of a War Grave: Deserters
Discussion on the question of commemoration and reading of resolution following discussions with the War Office on the war graves of deserters of the Second World War.
Negotiations with Allied Representatives – 13th Report
Comment from the Vice-Chairman that he wished Members to read the Report, which showed what excellent work had been done in this direction.
Grave of Lieut. C.W. Renton (Died 19 September 1917), Streatham Park Cemetery
Resolution that the Seal of the Commission be affixed to and the Proper Officer sign the deed assigning to Lionel Harwood Renton the Commission's, rights in the grave of his father, Lieut. C.W. Renton, No. 7102 Square 1 in Streatham Park Cemetery.
Maintenance of War Graves in the United Kingdom: 17th Quarterly Report
Comment from the Vice-Chairman referring to the report.
Anglo-French Mixed Committee
Resolution that Major G.W.A. Kayser, Legal Assistant, Central European District, and Deputy Secretary-General of the Anglo-French Mixed Committee be and hereby is appointed Secretary- General of the Anglo-French Mixed Committee vice Lieut.-Colonel Chettle, with effect from 1st February 1947.
Graves of American Citizens Killed While Serving In Empire Forces
Discussion of policy, with reference to United States Public Law No.383 and a letter received by the Commission from the headquarters of the American Graves Registration Service in Paris, dated September 1921.
Superannuation Scheme – Resignation and Retirement
Refers to policies assigned to Robert MacDougall, Gardener-Caretaker, and to Jerome Griffin, Gardener-Caretaker.
Report of the 332nd Meeting of the Finance Committee – Annual Estimates For 1947-1948
Adoption of the report, including reference to expenditure for graves for both wars, estimated cost of construction, and payment for the maintenance of war graves in civil cemeteries and churchyards.
Comments from the Vice-Chairman and Mr Knowles in relation to the retirement of Colonel Chettle, who responded with his own words of appreciation.
Mention that the next Meeting would be held at 11 o'clock on Thursday 20th February.
Major-General Sir Fabian Ware, K.C.V.O., C.B., C.M.G., LL.D. (Vice-Chairman, in the Chair)
J.P. Sigvaldason, Esq. (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)
I.T. Meyer, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
Colonel W.F. Rendell, C.B.E. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
Sir Samuel Runganadhan (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.
Colonel Sir John Shute, C.M.G., D.S.O., J.P.
The Rt. Hon. the Lord Wigram, G.C.B. G.C.V.O., C.S.I.
The Rt. Hon Sir Richard Hopkins, G.C.B.
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)
G. Savage, Esq. (Colonial 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)
Brigadier J.K. McNair, C.B.E.
Lieut.-Colonel R.W. Murphy, M.B.E.
E.J. King, Esq., M.C.
C.R. Kirton, Esq., M.B.E. (Chief Accountant)
Captain H.P.R. Foster (Legal Assistant)
Major F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
P.R. Trevelyan-Thomson, Esq.