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Matters arising from the 303rd Meeting of the Commission
Question was asked as to whether any progress had been made since the last meeting on Prague (Olsany) British Cemetery, with reply that an official diplomatic letter from Czechoslovakia had just been received by the Foreign Office, although it was not yet known what proposals the letter contained
Appointment of a New Commissioner
Appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen C.B.E. as a Member of the Commission and a member of the Finance Committee;
Anzac Day 1948
Report of Anzac Day 1948, including the Anzac Day Commemoration Service held at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, which had been attended by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and the Annual Ceremony held in the Australian graves section in Harefield (St. Mary) Churchyard, with comments on the history and background to the Australian graves at Harefield and reference to Sir Francis Newdigate, and note that the service had been recorded and broadcast by the BBC on its Pacific and Australian channels.
Arrival in the United Kingdom of the Secretary-General of the Anzac Agency and the Chief Administrative Officer, Indian and South East Asia District
Notice of the arrival of Brigadier Brown, Secretary-General of Anzac Agency, and Brigadier Obbard, India and South East Asia District;
Ceremonies in Gallipoli and Tobruk
Report on the recent Anzac Day ceremonies at Gallipoli and the unveiling of the Australian memorial at Tobruk War Cemetery, Libya, both of which had been attended by an Australian and New Zealand special delegation which had been led by Lieutenant-General Sir Leslie Morshead and which included Brigadier Brown, with Sir Arthur Longmore representing the Commission;
American Memorial Day Service
Representation of the Commission by Squadron Leader Michelmore at the American Memorial Day service at Brookwood Cemetery on 30 May 1948, which it was noted would be on a smaller scale than those held in the past due to the exhumation work now in progress;
Ceremony in Bayeux British Cemetery
Note that the Chairman and the Secretary would travel to France to attend D-Day ceremonies in Bayeux British Cemetery on 5 and 6 June 1948;
Twenty-Eighth Annual Report
The Secretary drew the Commissioners attention to two letters that had been received by Sir Fabian Ware following the issuing of the 28th Annual Report, one from the Prime Minister of Canada the Rt. Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King, O.M., C.M.G., and the other from the Private Secretary to Field Marshal the Rt. Hon. J.C. Smuts, O.M., C.H., Prime Minister of South Africa, and selected comments from the letters were read;
Canadian Agency – Grave of a British Airman in Alberta
Reading of an extract from a letter received by Mr Lewis Watson of the Canadian Agency from Reverend Percy C. Brunt of Harrogate, expressing his gratitude for the maintenance of his son’s grave in Alberta, Canada;
Items of interest
Including the delivery of a lecture by Major Arnott in Caen and Bayeux about the Commission’s work, and note that all unsolicited contributions from the public were placed in the Fund of the Care and Maintenance of the Graves of the Fallen;
Report of the 348th Meeting of the Finance Committee
Adoption of the report following discussion on specific points including the call for tenders for the construction of Hatfield Park War Cemetery, where as an exceptional case it had been decided to erect a Cross of Sacrifice even though the cemetery only contained 20 graves, with note that it was felt that a question of precedent was not involved; payment of locally employed staff in Italy in accordance with advice received from the Italian Government; constructional work to be carried out in 28 cemeteries in Belgium; large contract for the construction of headstone beams and the erection of war crosses in cemeteries in Normandy; procedure for authorising cemetery construction by the Anzac Agency with reference to the production by Anzac Agency of a graph of estimated construction costs in relation to permissible maximum costs per grave which it was hoped would greatly accelerate the construction work in the area, with note that the costs per grave in the Anzac area were higher due to the greater distances, higher freight charges and more costly labour in the area covered by the agency.
Report of Special Committee on staff organisation
Adoption of the report of the Special Committee (consisting of Sir Arthur Longmore, Sir Richard Hopkins and Sir Herbert Ellissen) concerning the re-organisation of Head Office staff.
Gallipoli, Cyrenaica and Egypt
Discussion on the recent commemorative events and ceremonies held, with expressions of thanks to the Australian, Turkish and Egyptian authorities.
War Graves marked by Private Memorials – Australia
Approval of decision that the Commission would not provide plaques for graves marked with private memorials in Australia on the understanding that these would be provided by the Australian Government instead.
Memorial – Swaziland
Approval given for the Commission to negotiate directly with the Swaziland Government regarding a memorial that the government proposed to erect to record the names of all natives of Swaziland who died on service, whether their death occurred inside or outside Swaziland territory, contrary to the Commission’s policy of recording the name of the missing on memorials specific to particular theatres of war. The Commission’s preferred solution would be to affix a tablet on to the memorial recording the names of the missing or those with unmaintainable graves in Swaziland, while seeking to have those names removed from the panels erected by the Swaziland government so as to avoid dual commemoration.
Anglo-Egyptian War Cemeteries Committee. Iraq Committee of the Imperial War Graves Commission. Anglo-Palestine War Cemeteries Executive Committee:
Appointment of Colonel E.A. Griffin. O.B.E., E.D., Deputy Controller for Eastern District, to the Anglo-Egyptian War Cemeteries Committee and the Iraq Committee of the Imperial War Graves Commission as a successor to the late Deputy-Controller, Major-General Williams, and that while the Anglo-Palestine War Cemeteries Executive Committee was not currently functioning, Colonel Griffin should take charge of the records of the Committee.
Kidderminster Cemetery, Worcestershire
Approval for the signing of a Deed of Grant from the Kidderminster Joint Burial Committee to the Commission relating to seven grave spaces at Kidderminster Cemetery, Worcestershire.
Commission’s Office, Western Region (United Kingdom District) – Additional Accommodation
Authority given for Captain H.E. Mulvey, Inspector for Western Region (UK), to sign a tenancy agreement adjoining the Commission’s regional office at 3 Barker Street, Shrewsbury, as additional office accommodation, subject to the Legal Assistant being satisfied with the terms of agreement.
Statement by the Chief Administrative Officer, India and South East Asia District
Statement from Brigadier Obbard, Chief Administrative Officer for India and South-East Asia District, regarding completion of takeover of all war graves in civil cemeteries and military cemeteries in India and Pakistan, as well as one military cemetery and one civil cemetery in Malaya, all civil cemeteries, one military cemetery and one military extension in Hong Kong, and cemeteries in Siam and Burma, with note that the District had received documents for seven military cemeteries containing 4,900 graves and for 164 civil cemeteries containing 4,420 graves in the District, and that Headquarters of the District were accommodated in offices in Penang.
Statement by the Secretary-General of the Anzac Agency.
Statement from Brigadier Brown, Secretary-General for Anzac Agency, regarding progress of work in Anzac Agency, noting that the Agency had completed the take-over of all war graves in its area with the exception of the official signing of the document relating to Yokohama War Cemetery, which would be completed on his return to Australia; reference to challenges in the maintenance of Sandakan cemetery in North Borneo, which had been badly sited and the soil in which was badly affected by salt making horticulture difficult; stationing of an Australian caretaker in each war cemetery located outside Australia, and description of their work; report on headstone production in Queensland using Queensland white marble and reference to laboratory tests carried out on the stones by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research; and note of suggestion submitted to the Commission by the Agency for the marking of graves in volcanic and earthquake areas in the region with a Gallipoli type of marker, made from bronze instead of stone, which would give a far greater rate of production.
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)
V.C. Duffy, Esq., M.V.C. (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)
Paul D. Runganadhan, 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)
General Sir Robert Gordon Finlayson, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
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.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen, C.B.E.
Also in attendance:
Brigadier F. Higginson, C.M.G. (Secretary)
F.C. Sillar, Esq. O.B.E. (Principal Assistant 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)
P.R. Trevelyan Thomson, Esq.
Brigadier A.E. Brown (Secretary-General, Anzac Agency)
Brigadier H.N. Obbard (Chief Administrative Officer, India and South-East Asia District)
Lieut.-Colonel R.W. Murphy, O.B.E. (Chief Administrative Officer, United Kingdom District)