|Content Note||Topics covered:|
Announcement that H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester, the Commission’s President, took the Chair.
Mention that the Commission had felt that His Majesty the King would wish before his departure to have some information relating to their work in the Union of South Africa, and they had therefore sent a short statement to His Majesty's Private Secretary, together with particulars of the Commission's Agency in South Africa.
Mention that Sir Fabian Ware, the Commission’s permanent Vice-Chairman, was unable to attend the meeting under medical advice to remain at home. Apologies for absence also received from Mr Creech Jones, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, as well as the Minister of Works; Mr Norman Robertson, High Commissioner for Canada; Mr Jordan, High Commissioner for New Zealand; Mr Heaton Nicholls, High Commissioner for South Africa; and Sir Samuel Runganadhan, the High Commissioner for India.
The Secretary of the Meeting, Brigadier Higginson, said that there were certain items to report since the last Meeting.
The Appointment of a New Commissioner
Announcement that The Royal Warrant, appointing Mr. Harold Neal (M.P. for the Clay Cross Division of Derbyshire), a Member of the Commission, had now been received from the War Office.
The Retirement of Lieut.-Colonel H.F. Chettle, C.M.G., O.B.E.
Announcement of Colonel Chettle’s retirement and message of appreciation recorded in the Commission’s minutes for the meeting.
The Annual Report
Announcement that galley-proofs of the Twenty-Seventh Annual Report had now been received from the printers. Copies would be circulated to Members at the end of the month for any comments they might have to make.
Announcement that a thorough inspection of all war cemeteries from El Alamein to Algiers was carried out in November 1946 by the Deputy Director of Works, Western Mediterranean District, Lieut.-Colonel G.H. Peek, O.B.E. Comments on good condition of cemeteries, particularly at El Alamein which was being cared for by German prisoners-of-war. Also mentions great assistance from French authorities in Tunisia and that Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore was now in India, having already visited New Zealand, Australia, and the new war cemeteries in the South-West Pacific.
Memorials to the Missing of the Merchant Navy
Mention that discussions had begun between' the Ministry of Transport and the Commission on the commemoration at Tower Hill or members or the Merchant Navy who had died in the war of 1939-1945 and who had no known grave.
The Commission were represented by Lieut.-Colonel R.W. Murphy, M.B.E., at the annual Australia Day Service which was held at the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields on 25th January.
Handing Over of Cemeteries to the Commission by the Army Graves Registration Service
Announcement that Uden War Cemetery, the Netherlands, had been handed over to the Commission for maintenance.
Report of the 333rd Meeting of the Finance Committee
Mentions Sir Fabian Ware was unable to attend the meeting.
Attention was drawn to:
Item 2 and 3 which concerned expenditure for maintenance of graves.
Item 7, which concerned horticultural treatment in Holland and Belgium.
Item 8 regarding headstone beams for Rome War Cemetery.
Item 10 was a contract for 5,000 headstones.
Item 11 which regarded construction of Tobruk War Cemetery.
Item 13, which concerned the unit cost per grave of the 1939-45 War.
The report was adopted by the Commission.
Naval Memorials (Chatham, Portsmouth, and Plymouth) – Agreement with Architect
Discussion regarding Sir Edward Maufe’s designs for 1939-1945 extensions of the naval memorials at Chatham, Portsmouth, and Plymouth. Also announces three new memorials would be erected, for the Auxiliary Patrol, the Fleet Air Arm, and the T.124 ratings who were Merchant Navy seamen serving in the Royal Navy. Resolution that the Seal of the Commission be affixed to, and the Proper Officer sign, the agreement between Mr Edward Maufe, A.R.A., Principal Architect for the United Kingdom, for his services in the design and supervision of the construction of the Naval Memorials to the Missing at Chatham, Portsmouth, and Plymouth and for his services as assessor, in the proposed competitions for the Naval Memorials to the Missing at Lee-on-Solent, Lowestoft and Liverpool.
Anzac Agency – Statement of Progress
Update from Brigadier Brown on progress of work in Anzac Agency’s area, particularly Australia and also Lae War Cemetery.
Approval in principle of sketch designs for cemetery construction
Approval of sketch designs for the following cemeteries, with comments from Sir Frederic Kenyon, the Artistic Advisor, and Edward Maufe, Chief Architect:
Haifa (Khayat Beach) War Cemetery (as designed by Hubert J. Worthington, A.R.A.)
Tripoli War Cemetery (as designed by Hubert J. Worthington, A.R.A.)
Florence Military Cemetery (as designed by Louis de Soissons, A.R.A.)
Addis Ababa War Cemetery (as designed by George Vey, F.R.I.B.A.)
Commemoration Of Indians Dying In India
Discussion regarding the policy of commemoration of Indian servicemen dying in India, with resolution that the Commission accept and adopt the policy desired by the Government of India in regard to statutory Indian personnel serving with the Forces or auxiliary organisations, as set forth in the paper before the present Meeting. Also that Resolution 5 of the 281st Meeting of the Commission be read as applying to the recommendations of the Government of India, in regard to certain auxiliary organisations, in accordance with the said policy as set out in the revised schedule attached to the said paper.
Debate on Imperial War Memorial in the House of Lords
Mentions the Hansard for the recent debate was passed around for Members to see, with comments from Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson, the Chairman, and also Lord Wigram.
Mentions the President asked if Thursday 20th March at 11a.m., was agreeable to the Members as the date and time of the next Meeting. This was agreed.
Comment from the President that he was so glad to preside over a Commission meeting after two years of absence in Australia.
Response from Mr Beasley, also comments on the experience of the Pacific campaign and its impact on the public in Australia during the war.
Mentions this concluded the business of the Meeting. The Commission adjourned at ten minutes to 12 o'clock, after which the President and Members examined drawings of the Chatham, Portsmouth and Plymouth Naval Memorial extensions, and Tobruk Military Cemetery.
His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, K.G., P.C., K.T., K.P.,G.C.B.,G.C.M,G.,G.C.V.O. (President in the Chair)
The Rt. Hon. F.J. Bellenger, M.P. (Secretary of State for War, Chairman of the Commission)
Brigadier H.D. Graham, C.B.E., D.S.O., E.D. (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
The Rt. Hon. J.A. Beasley (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)
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., ,G.C.V.O., C.S.I.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Hopkins, G.C.B.
There were also present:-
Lieut.-Colonel Howard Kerr, C.M.G., C.V.O., O.B.E. (Equerry to H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester)
V. C. Duffy, Esq., M.V.O. (Australia House)
G. Savage, Esq. (Colonial Office)
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Frederic Kenyon, G.B.E., K.C.B.
Sir William Halcrow, M.Inst. Q.E. (Honorary Consulting Engineer)
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen, C.B.E. (Adviser on Post-War Organisation and Reconstruction)
Brigadier F. Higginson, C.M.G. (Controller and Secretary of the Meeting)
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.
Major W.K.K. Kinnear (Director of Records).
Major F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
P.R. Trevelyan-Thomson, Esq.