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Point raised by Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore that he had heard from Brigadier Obbard that communications between Bangkok and Siam and the large cemetery at Kanburi would not be as bad as he had implied in his remarks to the Commission and in his Report. Apparently the railway passed within 40 miles of Kanburi and the remainder of the journey could be done by motor.
Review of recent events
Mention Mr Neal would be replacing Mr Lawson.
Retirement of the High Commissioner for India
Announcement that Sir Samuel Runganadhan was ceasing to be a Member of the Commission. He was retiring from the post of High Commissioner for India in London. Mr. Vellodi, the Acting High Commissioner would for the time being take his place at Meetings. A message from Sir Samuel was read out and appears in the minutes.
Lieut.-Colonel F.R. Durham, C.B.E., M.C.
Announcement of the death of Colonel Durham, the Commission’s first Director of Works. The Vice-Chairman mentioned he wrote to Mrs Durham and received an appreciative reply.
Public Accounts Committee
Mention that the Vice-Chairman, as Accounting Officer, had received the usual summons to attend before the Select Committee on Public Accounts at the House of Commons. His doctor had however not allowed him to attend, and Mr Sillar was called in his place. Members of the Committee showed great interest in the Commission’s work, particularly in the cost of construction.
Update on publication of the Commission’s 27th Annual Report. There had been difficulties, but a special appeal had been made to the Stationery Office and they had responded generously. The Report would be published on Tuesday 22nd April.
Update from the Acting Deputy Controller, Eastern District, on Palestine and Syria. Some damage which had been caused by floods had now been, repaired. The Area Superintendent, Major Cameron, was doing very useful work.
The bi-monthly Report on cemeteries in Iraq had been received. Though dust storms and rain had been frequent, these cemeteries had been kept in good order by regular maintenance.
Egypt and North Africa
Update on progress of work in Egypt and North Africa, including comments of flowering plants in the winter and a visit by the Principal Architect Hubert J. Worthington, with quote from him about using the same type of stone as used at Tobruk and Acroma and also photographs of Sollum War Cemetery would be circulated in the near future.
Announcement that a Memorial Service was held at Phaleron Cemetery, Athens, at the end of January, organised by the Australian Hellenic League to honour Australians who fell in Greece. The 1st Battalion of the Buffs provided the Guard of Honour and the ceremony was attended by representatives of the King of Greece, General Papagos, and the Mayor of Athens.
Announcement that an interesting and detailed Report had been received from Brigadier Brown, Secretary-General of Anzac Agency, covering the month of January. Comments of meeting various officials, as well as the need for replacement of crosses and written inscriptions with aluminium strips. Also mentions it was expected that the takeover from the Department of the Army of all war cemeteries in Australia would have been completed by the middle of March. The approximate date for completing the takeover of war cemeteries in the islands north of Australia was the end of June 1947.
Canadian Commemorative Windows
Announcement of ceremony held at St. Mary's Church, Bramshott, Hampshire, on the 17th March. It was held in connection with the commemorative windows which had been given by the Canadians.
Mentions that, owing to exceptionally bad weather, all crosses in the Tunisian Area were being repainted. The work was being carried out with the assistance of three additional signwriters and one carpenter, all German prisoners of war. This had been arranged through the kind co-operation of the local French military authorities.
Takeover of Cemeteries
Mentions that, since the last Meeting, Hollain Churchyard and Bruyelle British Cemetery in Belgium. and Amersfoort General Cemetery in Holland had been taken over by the Commission.
Report of the 335th Meeting of the Finance Committee
Adoption of the report of the finance committee, including item 5 which was acceptance of a tender for the supply of bronze swords and item 6 authorising the replacement of the shaft of the Cross of Sacrifice for Halfaya Sollum Cemetery.
Lord Wigram’s Visit to War Cemeteries in Belgium
Report of Lord Wigram’s visit, including comments about wartime damage at the Menin Gate, reconstruction at Tyne Cot cemetery, visit to Prince Maurice of Battenberg’s grave, concentration work by Graves Registration Service, and meeting with Commission gardeners. Comment from Sir Gordon-Finlayson about the British gardener being someone who local people looked up to in many localities.
Headstones for Western Mediterranean Desert (North Africa), Egypt, and Italy
Discussion about the type of stone to be used for headstones in North Africa and Italy with resolution for the Finance Committee to authorise tenders.
Hatfield Park War Cemetery, Hertfordshire
Resolution that a Cross of Sacrifice be provided and erected by the Commission in Hatfield Park War Cemetery and, that the Commission, while recording their grateful appreciation of Lord Salisbury's offer to meet half the cost involved, considered that in the circumstances the whole expenditure should be met from the Commission funds.
Driver J. Meechan, R.A.S.C. (No. 44256)
Mention of a case involving a request by a casualty’s father to erect a permanent memorial and resolution that the commemoration of the death of Driver James Meechan should be on a memorial to those who have no known grave and that the spot where the deceased was last seen alive cannot be marked, maintained, or protected by the Commission.
Isolated or Field Burials, United Kingdom
Mentions the collection of bodies buried in isolated spots, particularly on islands off the coast of Scotland and not in established burial grounds, and that it had fallen to the Commission to arrange, where possible, for these graves to be concentrated into appropriate burial grounds in accordance with the Commission’s policy.
Maintenance of War Graves in the United Kingdom – 16th Quarterly Report
Discussion about report, including comments about burials and screen wall at Seafield Cemetery and legibility of inscriptions on headstones at Comley Bank Cemetery.
Memorial to the 6th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, Diyala, Iraq
Resolution that the Memorial to the 6th Battalion Loyal (North Lancs.) Regiment, formerly at Diyala, Iraq, and now in storage at Jisr Diyale Police Station, after being dismantled, be re-erected in a modified form by the Commission at the Baghdad (North Gate) British Military Cemetery, the cost of dismantling and re-erecting such Memorial to be borne by the Regimental Association.
Horticultural Treatment of Cemeteries in Italy – Report by Sir Geoffrey Evans, Kew Gardens
Mentions that a most valuable Report had been received from Sir Geoffrey Evans after his inspection and study of horticultural problems in the Commission’s cemeteries in Italy.
It was agreed the time and date of the next Meeting should be 11 a.m. on Thursday 22nd May.
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)
Harold Neal, Esq., M.P.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Hopkins, G.C.B.
Sir Richard O’Connor, K.C.B., D.S.O., K.C., A.D.C. (Adjutant-General)
Colonel W.F. Rendell, C.B.E. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
M.K. Vellodi, Esq., C.I.E., I.C.S. (Acting High Commissioner for India)
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.
The Rt. Hon. the Lord Wigram, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., C.S.I.
There were also present:-
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)
Lieut.-Colonel R.W. Bateman (Director of' Works)
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 (Acting Director of' Records)
P.R. Trevelyan-Thomson, Esq.