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Minutes of the 304th Meeting of the Commission were approved and signed.
The Chairman read letters received from His Majesty the King, and from the President of the Commission H.R.H. The Duke of Gloucester, to Sir Fabian Ware on the occasion of his retirement from the Commission, and further tributes to Sir Fabian were made by the Commissioners present.
Australian Memorials in France
Report of a visit to the Australian memorial at Villers Bretonneux and Divisional memorials in France by an Australian Delegation, consisting of Air Vice-Marshal G.W.J. Mackinolty, Mr. Duffy and Brigadier Brown, Secretary-General of the Commission's Anzac Agency, with comments on the repair works being carried out on Villers Bretonneux to replace the many thousands of names which had been obliterated during the 1939-45 war, and note of a meeting with the French authorities in Paris who were dealing with the employment of German prisoners of war with the object of obtaining labour for the Commission for the reconstruction work needed at the memorial.
Film Lectures on the Work of the Commission
The Vice-Chairman noted that a film lecture on the work of the Commission had been given by Mr Sillar to overseas members of the Victoria League at 32 Grosvenor Gardens on Empire Day (24 May), where Lord Wigram had also addressed the visitors and Lady Ware had entertained them to tea, and that Mr Sillar had subsequently given a similar lecture at Launceston, Cornwall.
War Graves in Palestine
Report on the deterioration of the situation in Palestine and the termination of the British Mandate, resulting in difficulties for the Commission in terms of being able to supervise the cemetery staff there, and note that Commission were now in communication with Major-General Sir John Kennedy, Vice-Chairman of the British Red Cross Society, with a view to seeking the International Red Cross’s help to ensure the maintenance and care of the war cemeteries in Palestine should not suffer.
Mention that Lieutenant-Colonel H.F. Chettle, who retired from the Commission in January 1947, had been awarded the Belgian decoration of Officier de l’Ordre de la Couronne, and the Czechoslovak Medal of Merit, Class 1.
Visit to War Graves
Comment on articles in the press concerning the Secretary of State for War’s announcement that voluntary organisations (such as the British Legion, the Church Army, the Church of Scotland Committee on Hut and Canteen Work for H.M. Forces, the Salvation Army (War Graves Department) and the Y.M.C.A.) had undertaken to assist relatives to visit war graves in France, Belgium and Holland during the summer.
The Rifle Brigade (Green-Jackets) Memorial – Calais
Note that the Commission’s Principal Architect for Central European District Philip D. Hepworth, wished to incorporate a type A.1 Cross of Sacrifice as the main motif of the memorial, and permission had been given for its use.
War Graves in Norway
Inspection of war graves in Norway by Mr E.T.E. Nash, a member of the Commission’s architectural staff, with view to preparing designs for the construction of war plots and reporting on arrangements for their maintenance and for the supply of granite headstones locally.
American Memorial Day Service
Report of American Memorial Day at Brookwood Military Cemetery on 30 May 1948 with note that wreaths were laid at the American flagstaff, the Cross of Sacrifice, the Canadian maple tree in the Canadian section, and on the Stone of Remembrance.
Cottesmore (St. Nicholas) Churchyard Extension – Rutland
Report of letter received by the Commission from Colonel Rendell stating that a Mr and Mrs W.A. King of Newfoundland had recently visited England to discuss the repatriation of their son’s body (Sergeant Robert Fowlow King, RAF), who was buried at Cottesmore, but having visited their sons grave in the churchyard they had abandoned the idea of removal.
Items of interest
Note that the usual list of ceremonies that had taken place, together with details of cemeteries which had been handed over, had been circulated to members of the Commission.
Report of the 349th Meeting of the Finance Committee
Adoption of the report of the 349th Meeting of the Finance Committee after discussion of the following: that the question of supplying water to Italian cemeteries had been decided by the drawing of an arbitrary line across the map of Italy, with sites below the line recognised as requiring water, but that sites north of the line would need to have special reasons before schemes of water supply could be approved; that certain rectifications in appointments and salaries in Eastern and Western Mediterranean Districts had been made; and that contracts had been placed for a number of headstones in Scotland and headstone beams in other places, with discussion on the relative costs of Portland and granite headstones.
Report by General Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson, KCB, CMG, DSO, on his visit to certain cemeteries in Scotland
Expressions of thanks were made to General Sir Robert Gordon-Finlayson for his report on his visit to cemeteries in Scotland, with the General wishing to emphasise that the Commission’s officials were out of pocket as the result of heavy expenses incurred while on tours of inspection, and the Secretary replying that the Commission followed the regulations on travelling expenses made by the Treasury for the UK Civil Service and that they were continually in touch with the Treasury on the matter.
Visit to Normandy by the President of the French Republic, June 1948
Report of the visit to Normandy by the French president to commemorate the fourth anniversary of D-Day with comments about the excellent condition of Bayeux War Cemetery.
Marking of Graves – South West Pacific Area
Proposal by Anzac Agency to mark war graves in South-West Pacific Area with a bronze tablet, with comments from members about the departure from the Commission’s tradition of marking graves with stone markers and the suitability of the tablets for local conditions, especially in areas where earthquake activity was present; with approval given for their use in Cemeteries at Labuan, Sandakan and certain other places where similar conditions apply.
Memorial Cairn on Black Mountain, Province of Quebec
Refers to a paper on the memorial cairn built by the Canadian Government on Black Mountain, Province of Quebec, Canada and whether the Commission should accept responsibility for its maintenance, mention of similar case in Ben More, Scotland, with agreement that as a pre-requisite to the Commission undertaking to maintain the memorial assurances would be sought from the Canadian Government that the access trail to the memorial would be kept open.
Examination of sketch designs for cemetery construction
Examination and approval of sketch designs by Louis de Soissons, O.B.E., A.R.A., Principal Architect for Italy and Greece for Genoa Military Cemetery, Argenta Gap (78th Division) Cemetery, Forli del Senio Indian Army Cemetery (with particular discussion on the question of the commemoration of Hindus and the presence of a burning ghat near Forli), and Montecchio British Cemetery.
Memorial to the Missing – Merchant Navy, 1939-45
Refers to apaper setting out Edward Maufe’s proposed design for the Tower Hill Merchant Navy 1939-1945 Memorial to the Missing, which had, as its principal feature, a column which would be visible to ships passing up and down the river, with note that the project had been put forward by the Commission at the request of the Minister of Transport, and that the Ministry would appoint a Committee, on which the Commission would be represented, to consider the proposal in detail.
The Rt. Hon. Emanuel Shinwell, M.P., Secretary of State for War (Chairman)
Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Nasmith, V.C., K.C.B. (Vice-Chairman)
Norman A. Robertson (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
V.C. Duffy, M.V.O. (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
The Rt. Hon. W.J. Jordan (High Commissioner for New Zealand)
Leif Egeland (High Commissioner for South Africa)
Paul D. Runganadhan, M.B.E. (Representing the High Commissioner for India)
E. Simcock, Esq. (Representing the High Commissioner for Pakistan)
J.L. Murphy, O.B.E. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
G.F. Seel, C.M.G. (Representing the Secretary of State for the Colonies)
A.F. Ewing, (Representing the Minister of Works)
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.
Harold Neal, M.P.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir Herbert Ellissen, C.B.E.
Also in attendance:
Sir William Halcrow, M. Inst. C.E. (Honorary Consulting Engineer)
Brigadier F. Higginson, C.M.G. (Secretary)
F.C. Sillar, C.B.E. (Principal Assistant Secretary)
W.J. Chalmers (Assistant Secretary)
Lieut.-Colonel R.W. Bateman (Director of Works)
Brigadier J.K. McNair, C.B.E. (Foreign Relations Officer)
E.J. King, M.C. (Principal, Secretarial Branch)
Major W.K.K. Kinnear (Chief Records Officer)
Major F. Tyrrell, M.B.E. (Chief Enquiries Officer)
Lieutenant-Colonel R.W. Murphy, O.B.E. (Chief Administrative Officer, United Kingdom District)
Brigadier H.N. Obbard (Chief Administrative Officer, India & South East Asia District)