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Absence of Vice-Chairman Sir Fabian Ware due to ill health, for which he had been advised to take a two month break. Absence of Harold Neil due to parliamentary duties and of William Halcrow, Commission’s Consulting Engineer, who was abroad.
Death of the Rt. Hon The Earl of Derby, K.G., G.C.B., G.C.V.C.
Note of the death of the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Derby, K.G., G.C.B., G.C.V.C., who had been the Commission’s first Chairman as Secretary of State for War
Visit of the President to War Cemeteries in Libya
Note of informal visits being made by the Duke of Gloucester to cemeteries in Libya, including Tobruk and Acroma (Knightsbridge), with comment that the plans for permanent construction would be explained to His Royal Highness by Colonel Peek, Deputy Controller for Western Mediterranean District and Colonel Bateman, Director of Works.
Discussion regarding comments in the Press by Mr Griffin, General Secretary of the British Legion, criticising war graves administration overseas, particularly with regard to identification and to secretiveness as to location of graves, with note that while comments were directed at the Army and RAF Graves Services, it would not be clear that he was not referring to the Commission; and suggestion by Sir Arthur Longmore that more attention should be given to the Public Relations side of the Commission’s organisation as they would soon become responsible for answering all enquiries regarding war graves.
Anniversary of the Foundation of Australia
Note that the Commission had been represented at the Service of Commemoration for the 160th Anniversary of the Foundation of Australia at the Church of St. Martin-in-the Fields on 26 January 1948.
Foreign Awards to Commission Staff
Notice of the award of a Academie du Devouement National Diploma and Gold Medal to J.T. Hill, Gardener-Caretaker, and Diploma and Bronze Medal to J. Harris, Gardener-Caretaker, with comment that both men had been interned by the Germans during the Second World War.
28th Annual Report
Circulation of book-proofs of the 28th Annual Report at the beginning of March for members to make comments.
Film Lecture by Mr.Sillar in Glasgow
Refers to a film lecture delivered in Glasgow by Mr Frank Sillar in early February 1948 as arranged by Earl Haig’s Fund.
Anzac Agency – December Report
Report of the Commission’s Anzac Agency’s activities in December 1947, including a short talk given by the Secretary-General (Brigadier Atholl Brown) at the request of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, in which he had announced the gift of a rose for the Commission's exclusive use by Mr Alister Clark, a noted authority on roses. The name chosen for the rose was "Remembrance" and it was used in war cemeteries worldwide. The Report also referred to the contract for headstone beams in Sydney War Cemetery which was completed during December and to the construction of headstone beams in Perth War Cemetery also completed in that month.
India and South East Asia District
Report for India and South-East Asia District for October to December 1947 from Brigadier Obbard, Chief Administrative Officer, including filling of all officer posts with the exception of a Finance Officer for India, the installation of maintenance staff at Taiping War Cemetery, completion of maintenance arrangements by Area Superintendent for cemeteries in India, the opening of a new permanent office and headquarters in Penang, Malaya, and the receipt of all records for 1939-1945 war graves in 85 civil and cantonment cemeteries in India and the taking over of 261 graves in 10 civil cemeteries in Malaya.
Items of interest
namely a mention from the Vice-Chairman that several ceremonies had taken place since the last Meeting, with a list of cemeteries circulated for the information of Members.
Adviser of Post War Organisation and Reconstruction
Discussion regarding continuation of Sir Herbert Ellissen’s duties as Adviser on Post-War Organisation and Reconstruction, with agreement that he should stay on in an honorary capacity.
Vice-Chairmanship of the Commission
Discussion regarding succession of the post of Vice-Chairman following Sir Fabian Ware’s indisposition, followed by nominations and a secret vote by members between Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith and General Sir Robert Gordon Finlayson, for which it was decided that Admiral Sir Dunbar-Nasmith would succeed Sir Fabian Ware following his retirement in June 1948.
Report of the 345th Meeting of the Finance Committee
Note that a resolution from the Joint Negotiating Committee gave the Commission’s representative power to negotiate with the Transport and General Worker’s Union on their claim in respect to allowances abroad, and acknowledgement that in view of the new rate of exchange as a result of the devaluation of the franc, it would not be necessary to increase allowances while cost of living remained at its present level.
Proceedings of Joint Negotiating Committee for Central European District Staff
Refers to agreement by the Transport and General Workers’ Union to issue a joint statement on the results of future meetings of the Joint Negotiating Committee for Commission staff in Central European District, which it was thought would improve relations and ease subsequent negotiations.
Artistic Adviser to the Commission
Approval of a modification to the duties of the Commission’s Artistic Adviser following suggestions made by Sir Frederic Kenyon, who felt that close scrutiny of each design by the Artistic Adviser before its submission to the Commission was no longer required, and who agreed to continue in the role until his successor was selected as a result of this modification, with statement made by Kenyon regarding his duties with the Commission over the last 30 years.
Report on Headstone Production
Progress report on headstone production by the Director of Works, providing figures for the number of headstones let to tender in the United Kingdom and Italy as well as an outline of difficulties to the speed of production caused by the lack of letter cutters which was being overcome by the use of machines. Comment from Sir Arthur Longmore that it was pleasing to see headstones beginning to appear in London cemeteries.
Naval Memorial – Liverpool
Discussion regarding the design of the Liverpool Naval Memorial, which had been put out to competition among architects who were ex-service members of H.M. Forces, with Edward Maufe acting as assessor. 3 of the 88 submissions were considered the most suitable by Edward Maufe and were presented to the Commission members for comments. The winning design was by Messrs Stanley H. Smith and Charles Blythin, second place by Mr C. Duncan Ostick, and third place by Mr H. St. John Harrison. 4 additional designs were also commended, those by Mr William Logan, Mr. R.E.E. Beswick, Mr F.H. Crossley, and Mr Ainslie Threadgold.
Berlin (Heerstrasse) British Cemetery – Advance Construction by the Army
Discussion regarding construction of an entrance at Berlin (Heerstrasse) British Cemetery by the British military authorities on behalf of and in accordance with a design to be accepted by the Commission.
The Rt. Hon. Emanuel Shinwell, M.P. (Secretary of State for War) 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)
D.V. Serrurier, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
W.B. England, Esq., M.B.E. (Representing the High Commissioner for India)
E. Simcock, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for Pakistan)
Colonel W.F. Rendell, C.B.E. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
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 Chute, C.M.G., D.S.O., J.P.
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.
Harold Neal, Esq., M.P.
Also in attendance
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)
Edward Maufe, Esq. R.A. (Principal Architect for United Kingdom District)
Brigadier F. Higginson, C.M.G. (Secretary)
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.
G. Vey, Esq., F.R.I.B.A. (Senior Architect)
P.R. Trevelyan Thomson, Esq.