Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/296
File NumberWG 1831/237
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.296 - October 1947


DescriptionMinutes of the 296th Commission Meeting
Content NoteTopics covered:

Circulation of draft minutes; no amendment suggested.
Reading of letter received from the Air Ministry by Sir Arthur Longmore regarding the matter of unidentified graves in Europe and the work of the Missing Research Service in tracing 15,200 members of air crews in Europe.

Welcome to Mr Ahmad, representing the High Commissioner for Pakistan, who was attending a Commission Meeting for the first time.

Announcement of the death of Field Marshal Sir Archibald Montgomery-Massingberd. He had been Adjutant-General from 1931 to 1933 and a valued Member of the Commission during that period.

Announcement that The Rt. Hon. F.J. Bellenger had been succeeded by the Rt. Hon. Emanuel Shinwell as Secretary of State for War and ex-officio as Chairman of the Commission. Mr Shinwell had been Financial Secretary at the War Office in 1929 and 1930.

Remembrance Day 1947
Mentions, as announced in the press, that His Majesty the King had decided Sunday 9 November should be observed as Remembrance Day.
The BBC would include the Vice-Chairman’s annual broadcast in its Home Service programme on Sunday 9 November from 10:20am to 10:25am.
General Vanier, Canadian Ambassador in Paris, was asked to lay a wreath on behalf of the Commonwealth-French Joint Committee at the Arc de Triomphe on Remembrance Day.
General Roberts was asked to arrange for a wreath to be laid in Brussels on behalf of the Commonwealth-Belgian Joint Committee.
It was also arranged for a Commission representative to be present at the Service of Remembrance at the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill.
Customary informal service at Westminster Abbey was to be conducted by the Dean at 12 noon on Monday 10 November.

Termination of the Second World War
Reading of extract of letters received from governments in Canada, New Zealand and Southern Rhodesia regarding the dates of termination of the Second World War.
Also mentions Mr Sillar had given two film lectures in September, one in Brussels and the other in Arras. Many officers and men of the British Army stationed in Brussels had attended whilst a large number of the Commission’s staff were present at the Arras film lecture.

South African Agency
Report of progress of construction and maintenance work in South African Agency, particularly Transvaal Province.

Items of Interest
Mentions a list of items of interest was placed on the table for the information of Members.

Report of the 432st Meeting of the Finance Committee
Refers to replacement of wooden crosses in India and South-Asia District, including mention of the issues affecting the progress of construction in the area, such as white ants and working in a jungle environment, with suggestion for wooden crosses to be replaced with concrete crosses.

Definition of a War Grave: Deserters
Mentions matter had been discussed at the previous Commission meeting.
Resolution that:
1) subject to the concurrence of all the participating Governments, war graves treatment shall not be accorded to those who die in a state of desertion from His Majesty’s Forces unless there is evidence to show:-
(a) that a deserter died whilst in Active Service with another branch of the Armed Forces or whilst serving in the Merchant Navy in circumstances for which war graves treatment is normally accorded, or
(b) that the circumstances of death (i.e. found drowned or found buried in air-raid debris) provide substantial doubt as to any intention to desert,
(c) that there are other circumstances (e.g. burial having been permitted in good faith by a Cemetery Authority in a Service Plot) to warrant an exception.
(2) that a case in favour of war graves treatment for any individual falling under the heading of deserter shall finally be referred, with such evidence as the Commission may have 'obtained', to the relevant United Kingdom or Dominion Service Department for their considered recommendation.
(3) that the names of proved deserters shall not be included in the lists of Civilian War Dead.
(4) members with so that if similar questions should arise affecting of recognised auxiliary formations, they be dealt far as possible, on analogous lines.

Cross of Sacrifice in Batley Cemetery, Yorkshire: 1939-1945 Addition to Inscription
Refers to the proposal for an additional inscription to be added to the Cross of Sacrifice in Batley Cemetery, Yorkshire, as the current inscription made no reference to the Second World War nor to members of the air force.

Examination of sketch designs for cemetery construction
Resolution for the approval of the following sketch designs and authorisation for the Finance Committee to consider and accept tenders for construction:
a) Mr P.D. Hepworth, F.R. I.B.A. for Cambes British Cemetery and Juaye-Mondaye (Jerusalem) British Cemetery.
(b) Mr Louis de Soissons, O.B.E., A.R.A. for Orvieto Military Cemetery and Foiana della Chiana (4th Division) Cemetery.
(c) Mr J. Hubert Worthington, A.R.A. Cemetery for Bone Military Cemetery.
(d) Mr G. Vey, F.R.I.B.A. for Sidon Military Cemetery (Syria) and Nairobi (N' Gong Road) War Cemetery.
(e) Mr Edward Maufe, A.R.A. for Tunbridge Wells, Cemetery, Kent and Southampton (Hollybrook) Cemetery, Hants.

Maintenance of War Graves in the United Kingdom: 20th Quarterly Report
Mention that the Commission had approached the Regional Office of the Ministry of Works for permission to proceed on the additions to the Naval Memorial, Chatham. They had asked for more information about the Memorial and had agreed to the Commission's Principal Architect appearing before them the following week.

Resolution that the Common Seal of the Commission be affixed to and the Proper Officer sign the transfer to them of £1,445. 8. 5d. 2 ½% Treasury Stock 1975, being the capital sum required to cover the additional cost of maintenance of the 55th Division Memorial, Givenchy les-la-Bassee.

Prague (Olsany) British Cemetery: Suggested reciprocal agreement with Czechoslovakia
Discussion concerning proposal for reciprocal agreement to be made with Czechoslovakian government regarding the construction and maintenance of a British cemetery at Prague in accordance with the Commission’s practices and a plaque to be placed acknowledging the Commission’s gratitude.

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)
W.B. England, Esq., M.B.E. (Representing the High Commissioner for India)
M. Ahmad, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for Pakistan)
Colonel W.F. Rendell, C.B.E. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
R.C. Cade, Esq. (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, G.C.B., D.S.O.
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 Sir Frederic Kenyon, G.B.E., K.C.B.
Sir William Halcrow, M. Inst. C.E. (Honorary Consulting Engineer)
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen, C.B.E. (Adviser on Post-War Organisation and Reconstruction)
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)
Major F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
P.R. Trevelyan-Thomson, Esq.
Date25/9/1947 - 15/12/1947
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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