|Content Note||Topics discussed:|
Minutes of the 302nd Meeting of the Commission were approved.
Visit of Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith and the Secretary to Central European District
Refers to a report on the recent visit to France, Belgium and Holland by Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith, in the company of the Secretary (Brigadier Higginson), and General Roberts (Chief Administrative Officer) and his deputy Wing Commander Greenshill. Specific mentions of visits to Villers-Bretonneaux, Vimy Ridge, Arras, and the Menin Gate, where repairs were in progress. Comment on visiting Arnhem, where the thanks of the Commission was passed to the Burgomaster for the interest in the cemetery shown by the local people. General comment on the impressive work being undertaken by the Commission gardeners and that it was good to see so many sons following on in their fathers’ footsteps. Mention of visit to British Ambassador in Brussels to discuss the Commonwealth-Belgian Joint Committee
Visit of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore to Gallipoli and, with the Secretary, to Tobruk
Note that Sir Arthur Longmore was currently en route to Istanbul where he would be joined by a delegation from Australia and New Zealand for onward travel to Gallipoli in order to visit cemeteries and attend dawn ceremony on Anzac beach on Anzac day. After leaving Gallipoli the delegation would then be joined by the Secretary for the unveiling of the Australian Memorial in Tobruk Cemetery.
Broadcast by Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith
Note that a short talk on the work of the Commission in connection with the issuing of the 28th Annual Report was given by Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith and recorded by the BBC and was recently broadcast on the BBC Overseas Service.
Death of Lady Peacock
Reply from Sir Edward Peacock regarding messages of sympathy received from the Commission in connection with the death of his late wife, Lady Peacock.
Death of Colonel C.M. Clode, M.C.
Expressions of sympathy on the recent death of Colonel Clode, A.A.G. of A.G.13 War Office, who had worked closely with the Commission for many years, with note that the Commission were represented by Brigadier McNair at the funeral service.
Marking of Headstones – Women’s Services
Comment from Lord Wigram regarding a recent visit to a headstone factory where he had been unable to tell whether headstones he saw related to married or single women. Reply from the Chairman that in future headstones for members of the Women’s Services will include their first name in full, but that it was felt that where the next-of-kin desired the marital status to be shown, this could be done more suitably through the personal inscription.
Public Accounts Committee
Attendance of Mr Sillar on behalf of Sir Fabian Ware at the Public Accounts Committee at the House of Commons on 18 March 1948.
Twenty-Eighth Annual Report
Publication and circulation of the 28th Annual Report on 14 April 1948 with mention of the positive comments received in letters of acknowledgement from the Private Secretary to the King, Sir Alan Lascelles as well as from the Private Secretary to the President of the Commission (HRH the Duke of Gloucester) , Sir Godfrey Thomas.
Regional Inspectors Meeting
The 52nd Regional Inspectors was recently held at 32 Grosvenor Gardens and was attended by Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore.
Royal Air Force Memorials to the Missing
report on the proposals made by the Air Council following Sir Arthur Longmore’s attendance at the seventh meeting of the Air Council Committee on War Memorials, viz. that the IWGC proceed with plans for the commemoration in memorials of the names of RAF missing from the 1939/45 war with a general inscription to cover the dead; that four separate memorials should be erected, located in the United Kingdom (with the Commission’s site suggestion of Runnymede being favoured subject to satisfactory arrangements being made between the Commission and the National Trust), Malta, the Middle East (El Alamein) and the Far East (Singapore); and that the IWGC should submit details and sketch designs for approval by the Air Council. Question from Mr Sigvaldason as to whether the memorials would cover Royal Canadian Air Force and other Dominion Air Forces, with reply from Secretary that the point required clarification from the Air Ministry.
Report on the recent minutes of the Anzac Agency’s Consultative Committee regarding Brigadier Brown’s intent to visit Japan with Colonel J. Cromble of the Department of the Army and Major Spiers, Director of Works, in April 1948, in order to take over responsibility for the war cemeteries at Yokohama.
Budapest (Solymar) British Military Cemetery, Hungary
note that the Hungarian Government had presented to H.M. Government, by Deed of Gift, land at Solymar for use as a British Military Cemetery, and list, presented by Brigadier McNair, of all countries in Eastern Europe with cemeteries containing war graves.
Southern European District
note that as mentioned in the District’s recent monthly report, the first headstones for Second World War graves in Italy had been erected in Rome War Cemetery
Advisory Committees – India and South East Asia District
Discussion of the proposal for the establishment of Advisory Committees in the Malayan Union, Singapore and Hong Kong in connection with the Commission’s work in South-East Asia District, with decision that at present no such advisory committees were required as the Commission was able to carry its work out satisfactorily by the normal periodical contacts with local Government Officials
Report of the 347th meeting of the Finance Committee
Adoption of the report of the 347th Finance Committee, with specific discussions on the construction of three service plots in Australia, and note that the Anzac Agency had been at some disadvantage in the past in their relations with contractors and the delay caused by having to refer to Head Office for authority to accept a tender, and recommendation from the Finance Committee that the Anzac Agency be authorise to accept tenders in the future as long as they did not exceed by more than 10 per cent the amount of the estimate which had been approved by the Commission; and reference to the proposed reorganisation of the Head Office staff of the Commission, with recommendation from the Finance Committee that the appointment of Mr F.C. Sillar as Principal Assistant Secretary and Mr W.J. Chalmers as Assistant Secretary of the Commission in an acting capacity pending appointment by the President, be approved, and that a Special Committee be appointed to examine and report on the consequent alterations in appointments and organisation. Note that Sir Arthur Longmore, Sir Richard Hopkins and Sir Herbert Ellissen had been appointed to such as committee by the Chairman, who had received their report
War Graves Marked by Private Memorials – Australia
Discussion of a proposal by Anzac Agency, which had been adopted by the Australian Cabinet as a compromise to meet requests form next-of-kin, to erect a plaque or tablet on graves in Australia marked with a private memorial, to indicate it was a war grave, and wider discussion about maintenance and replacement of private memorials in general. As Mr Duffy (representing the High Commissioner for Australia) was not present, the matter was deferred until the next meeting.
Nottinghamshire Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry - Regimental Memorial
Discussion regarding a regimental memorial proposed by the Nottinghamshire Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry and whether the design infringed on the Commission’s copyrighted headstone design. The Regimental Association wished to create a memorial similar to a Commission headstone as few relatives could make the journey to see actual graves overseas and had submitted a design which was similar to a Commission headstone but on a larger scale. It was agreed that the design did not infringe the Commission’s copyright.
Toowoomba General Cemetery – Queensland
Consideration of request received from the Toowoomba branch of the Returned Soldiers' Sailors' and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia together with the Sailors' Soldiers' and Airmen's Father's' Association of Queensland to allow for the erection of a Cross of Sacrifice in Toowoomba General Cemetery, at their own expense, even though as a general rule Crosses of Sacrifice were not erected in Anzac Agency area where there were less than 70 or 80 war graves, with resolution granting permission to erect a Type A1 Cross of Sacrifice, with the expense being covered by the two veterans organisations, as an exceptional case.
Maintenance of War Graves in the UK - 22nd Quarterly Report
Discussion of the report written by Sir Robert Gordon Finlayson, with specific mention of a strong desire in Clydesdale and Leith to erect a Merchant Navy “Missing” Memorial because Liverpool would have one, with clarification from the Chairman that no Merchant Navy Memorial would be erected at Liverpool, that all members of the Merchant Navy with no known grave would be commemorated at Tower Hill on an extension to be built there, and that the memorial that was being erected by the Commission in Liverpool was for members of the Merchant Navy who had served in the Royal Navy and who were known as T124 ratings
Commission’s Office – South East Region (U.K. District)
Resolution that Major V.G. Housden, M.B.E., Inspector for South Eastern Region (UK) be given authority, subject to approval from the Legal Assistant as to the terms of the agreement, to sign a new tenancy agreement for the occupation of two rooms on the second floor of the premises of Martins Bank Ltd., 88 High Street, Orpington, Kent, as the regional office for the Commission.
Examination of Sketch Designs for Cemetery Construction
Examination of sketch designs for Adegem Canadian Cemetery by Mr. P.D. Hepworth, Principal Architect for North-Western Europe, with note that Sir Frederic Kenyon had commented that his only objection to ornamental pools was that they might become muddy ponds, but that it was understood that the water could be kept clean by certain types of plants, and discussion on the Stone of Remembrance and its absence in the plan for the site, with note that in general Stones of Remembrance were not to be included in Second World War cemeteries unless they contained more than 1,100 graves, but that each cemetery was to be considered on its own merit; and examination of the sketch design for Ismailia War Memorial Cemetery Extension by Mr. J. Hubert Worthington, Principal Architect for North Africa, which included a revised surround to the existing Cross of Sacrifice to give access to the new extension, and the addition of a seat feature; with resolution to approve the plans for Ismailia but refer the design for Adegem back to Hepworth to consider revising the design to exclude the ornamental pools and include a Stone of Remembrance.
Memorial Tablet to the Late Head Gardener R. Armstrong in Valenciennes Communal Cemetery
Approval of the design and inscription chosen by the local committee of the people of Valenciennes for the memorial tablet to the late Head Gardener Robert Armstrong to be fixed to the outside wall of the shelter in Valenciennes Communal Cemetery
Prague (Olsany) British Cemetery
Discussion regarding the decision to accept the offer from the Czechoslovakian government to plan and construct a Commission cemetery at their own cost, namely Prague (Olsany) British Cemetery, including background of the matter, difficulties in receiving written confirmation of offer and communication with the Czech authorities, and concern that the work might be going ahead without any supervision from the Commission
Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith, V.C., K.C.B. (Vice-Chairman Designate in the Chair)
J.P. Sigvaldason, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
C. Knowles, Esq. C.B.E. (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
I.T. Meyer, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
E.M. Munsiff, Esq. (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 Colonies)
General Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
Colonel the Rt. Hon. The Lord Wigram, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., C.S.I.
Also in attendance
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)
Brigadier F. Higginson, C.M.G. (Secretary)
W.J. Chalmers, Esq. (Assistant Secretary)
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.
Captain M.R. Graham (Deputy Director of Works)
P.R. Trevelyan-Thomson, Esq.