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Announcement that Minutes for the 289th Meeting had been circulated and they had also been submitted to the President. No amendments had been suggested. They were approved by the Members and signed.
Apologies for absence received from the Secretary of State for War, Lord Wigram, Sir Richard Hopkins and Sir William Halcrow.
Mention that a copy or the journal or the Royal Horticultural Society had been received which had an article on the horticultural planning in the Commission's cemeteries in North-West Europe. It indicated the high standard or horticulture which was being maintained. Copies of the journal were on the table for Members.
Mention that the Commission had been represented at the Memorial Service to Mr. W.S. Barclay, the General Secretary for the Tower Hill Improvement Trust.
Announcement of death of and tribute to Lord Tyrrell, who had recently died. His two sons were killed in the First World War and Lord Tyrrell took a very close interest in the Commission's work, particularly while he was British Ambassador in Paris, and had helped them in many ways. It was unanimously agreed that a letter of sympathy be sent to Lord Tyrrell’s only surviving daughter.
Mention that the Shell Mex Company were preparing a Roll or Honour or the 200 or 300 members or their staff who died in the war and they had asked for the Commission's assistance in checking particulars for these men against the Commission's records. This had been done and a very appreciative letter had been received from the Managing Director of the Company.
German Records of War Casualties
Mention that German records of war casualties were being kept in Berlin and it was hoped that Colonel Chettle, though he had retired from the service or the Commission, would be able shortly to visit Berlin to examine these records which undoubtedly contained material or value to the Commission.
Progress Report – Southern European District
Mention of report which showed satisfactory progress and also that later in the meeting, the Commission’s Controller Brigadier Higginson would provide an update of his tour of inspection with Sir Geoffrey Evans of Kew Gardens. Includes comments about Phaleron Cemetery, Athens, which was progressing satisfactorily in terms of horticultural treatment.
Report of the 334th Meeting of the Finance Committee
Adoption of report of the 334th meeting of the Finance Committee, including item 10 which concerned headstone beams for cemeteries in Italy; item 13 regarding the construction of the British War Graves Plot in Oslo Western Cemetery; and item 17 which concerned contracts for foundations, headstones, and kerbs in Western Australia.
Mentions difficulties in printing and includes resolution for the adoption of the draft Report and Statement of Accounts of the Commission for the year ended 31st March 1946.
Discussion about the treatment of war graves of deserters, including the policy of the Naval, Military and Air Force boards in Australia.
Financial Authority to the Vice-Chairman
Resolution confirming financial authority of the Vice-Chairman.
Grave of Private W.S. Mitchell, R.A.O.C., died 17th February 1916 and buried in Paignton Cemetery
Resolution that he Seal of the Commission be affixed to and the Proper Officer sign the deed assigning to Leslie Walter Mitchell the Commission's rights in the grave of his father, Private W.S. Mitchell, No. 2445, in Paignton Cemetery, Devon.
The Commission’s Committees in Foreign Countries
Discussion about whether the Commission’s foreign committees should be reintroduced, the titles of these committees, and the composition and membership of the committees.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore’s Visit to Cemeteries in Eastern Area
Report on Sir Arthur’s visit to war cemeteries in the Anzac and South East Asia Areas, including comments about takeover from Army Graves Service, accessibility to the cemeteries for visiting relatives, and suggestion for fences to be placed around cemeteries to protect them.
Brigadier Higginson’s Visit to Cemeteries in Italy
Brief mention of report to Brigadier Higginson’s visit to Italy, including comments about excessive boundaries and maintenance.
War Graves in Malta
Comments from Sir John Shute that locals in Malta were anxious about the commencement of work concerning the war graves there with response from Brigadier Higginson that there were steps currently in motion to do this.
It was agreed that the time and date of the next Meeting should be 11 a.m. on Thursday 17th April.
A full account of Sir Arthur Longmore’s report of his visit to cemeteries follows the minutes, with comments about the organisation of work in Australia and New Zealand, the work of the Returned Servicemen’s League, the condition of cemeteries in Anzac Agency area as well as in India and South-East Asia District, including difficulties of maintaining graves in India and Japanese cemeteries. Specific locations mentioned include: Port Moresby; Rabaul; Lae; Ambon; Makassar; Labuan; Sandakan; Kranji; Kanburi; Chunkai; Thanbyuzayat; Meiktila; Imphal; Kohima; Barrackpore; Fort William; Delhi; Muttra; Agra; Karachi; Basra; Cairo; Heliopolis; Tel-el-Kebir; Moascar; Ismailia; Port Said; and Port Tewfik Indian Memorial.
A copy of Brigadier Higginson’s report of his visit to cemeteries in Italy then follows, with comments from Sir Geoffrey Evans of Kew Gardens about horticultural treatment as well as Higginson’s own observations about the condition of specific cemeteries, suggestions for architectural treatment, number of gardeners in Italy, and the use of “flambo” huts. Specific locations mentioned include: Rome; Anzio; Nettuno American Cemetery; Florence (Military Cemetery and Arrow Route Cemetery); Assisi; Arezzo; Bolsena; Cassino (including a small memorial erected to commemorate the King’s visit); and Caserta.
Major-General Sir Fabian Ware, K.C. V.O., K.B.E., 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.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore, G.C.B., D.S.O.
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)
Brigadier F. Higginson, C.M.G. (Controller)
F.C. Sillar, Esq., C.B.E. (Assistant Secretary, Finance)
Brigadier J.K. McNair, C.B.E.
E.J. King, Esq., M.C.
Major W.K.K. Kinnear (Acting Director of Records)
Captain H.P.R. Foster. (Legal Assistant)
Major F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
P.R. Trevelyan-Thomson, Esq.