|Content Note||Topics discussed:|
Minutes of the 305th Meeting of the Commission were approved and signed.
Apologies for absence received from Sir Fabian Ware, Mr Seel and Mr Harold Neal.
Letter to His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester
Record of letter sent to the Commission’s President H.R.H the Duke of Gloucester from Emanuel Shinwell, the Commission’s Chairman, regarding message sent by the Duke of Gloucester on the occasion of Major-General Sir Fabian Ware’s retirement, and response from the Duke.
Chief Administrative Officers
Note that Brigadier Collingwood, Chief Administrative Officer, Southern European District, and Colonel Peek, Chief Administrative Office, Western Mediterranean District, were in England on leave and were taking the opportunity to consult with Head Office, with Colonel Peek being present at the Commission meeting.
Retirement of Mr. E.J. King, M.C.
Announcement of the retirement of Mr E.J. King, Principal, Secretarial Branch, who had been Personal Assistant to Sir Fabian Ware from 1930 to 1934, with note that although injured during the Second World War he had volunteered subsequently to come back and help the Commission in the autumn of 1946.
Note that Mr P.T. Fitzgerald, a member of the Commission’s Head Office in the Legal branch, had been award a Mention in Despatches, for his services whilst a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF with a Mobile Signals Unit of the 2nd Tactical Air Force in North West Europe, January-May 1945.
Reading of letter from Colonel Osborne acknowledging Mr Watson will assume role as Acting Secretary-General of Canadian Agency from 1st July 1948.
Report on recent Canadian ceremonies with representatives from the Commission present, including ceremony at Brookwood Cemetery organised by the Canada Branch of the British Legion, with the Commission represented by the Chief Administrative Officer, U.K. District, who had also attended the annual Canada Dominion Day Service of Remembrance held by the Canadian Veterans Association of the United Kingdom in Hastings Borough Cemetery, with note that Brigadier Graham, representing the High Commissioner for Canada, and Edward Maufe, were also present.
Newfoundland Commemoration Day
Refers to a letter written to the Commission by Colonel Rendell, Trade Commissioner for Newfoundland, with a report of a ceremony held at the Newfoundland Memorial, Beaumont Hamel on 1 July 1948 (Commemoration Day in Newfoundland), which was attended by local schoolchildren, during which the Mayor of Beaumont-Hamel laid a wreath at the memorial, and with the Commission represented by the Area Superintendent, Major Haskett-Smith.
Items of interest
Namely a mention of the list of ceremonies which had taken place since the last meeting which was circulated to all members of the Commission.
Termination of the 1939-45 War
Discussion regarding observations submitted by the British Legion to His Majesty in Council opposing the Commission's application for a Supplemental Charter fixing 31 December 1947 as the termination of the Second World War for war graves purposes, with note that the Commission would respond with a submission to the Privy Council but would also seek to privately discuss the matter with the Chairman of the Legion, with copies of related correspondence appended at the end of the minutes.
Refers to a letter from the Treasury appointing Brigadier Higginson as the Accounting Officer, with agreement on the proposed reply.
Report of the 350th Meeting of the Finance Committee
Adoption of the report of the 350th Meeting of the Finance Committee, with note of the following:
recommendation that the appointment of Mr Oliver Holt as Principal, Secretarial Branch, in place of Mr King be approved; that the report from the Secretary regarding the cost of personal inscriptions would be circulated to the Governments and Agencies of the Commission; note on the extension of the headstone contract with Messrs. Griggs & Sons Ltd., with comment that this was simply a continuation of production at the existing factory while another process of machine production was being examined; that a basic figure to the designs of the Anzac Agency for the Memorials to the Missing would act as a pointer to the general cost of such memorials; and that the question raised by the Anzac Agency regarding whether a proportion of their staff could be accorded the status of permanent staff would be considered by the Commission at a later date when claims from other Districts could also be measured.
Central European District
Approval for the proposal to split the Commission’s Central European District into two self-contained districts, a French District and a North-West European District.
Organisation in India and South East Asia
Approval for the proposal to split the Commission’s India and South-East Asia district into two self-contained districts, India and Pakistan District, and South East Asia, with discussion on the nomenclature used by the Commission in regard to areas and districts, and note that Brigadier Obbard would take over the India and Pakistan District, and that Brigadier Baker would take over the South East Asia District.
Hong Kong Memorial to Chinese who lost their lives in British Service
Approval of the inscription proposed by H.E. the Governor of Hong Kong for the Hong Kong Memorial to be erected by the Commission in the Botanic Gardens, Hong Kong, following lengthy discussion around an alternative inscription and difficulties in accurate commemoration due to loss of records.
Commission Headstones – New Zealand
Refers to a letter from Mr Knowles regarding New Zealand government’s position regarding Commission headstones, which the Commission took note of.
Approval of Mr S.H. Smith, A.R.I.B.A., and Mr C.F. Blythin, F.R.I.B.A. as architects of the Liverpool Naval Memorial.
Maintenance of War Graves in the United Kingdom – 23rd Quarterly Report (to the 30th June 1948).
Presentation of 23rd Quarterly Report for the maintenance of graves in the United Kingdom by Lieut.-Colonel R.W. Murphy, O.B.E. (Chief Administrative Officer, United Kingdom District), with particular reference made to the removal of American graves from Brookwood, with the vacated plots soon to be handed back to the Commission, and note that all American bodies in Lisnabreeny (Belfast) and Brookwood had now been removed, but that the Americans were retaining some part of their cemetery in Cambridge for those bodes which they were not repatriation; and note of the instructions issued in the United Kingdom regarding the provision of headstones to replace private memorials destroyed by enemy action, with some concern expressed that the orders likely to be placed by various local authorities with monumental masons might prove to be in competition to the Commission’s orders, and that the measurements for the standard headstone approved by the War Damage Commission was the same as the Commission headstone, although a different shape.
Appointment of “Proper Officer”
Approval of the appointment of W.J. Chalmers, Assistant Secretary designate, and retrospective approval of Brigadier F. Higginson, CMG, Secretary, and Mr F.C. Sillar, CBE, Principal Assistant Secretary, as “proper officers” of the Commission.
Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery, Kent
Affixation of Commission’s seal to a Deed of Grant for 202 grave spaces at Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery, Kent.
Statement by Chief Administrative Officer, Western Mediterranean District
Statement by Lieut.-Colonel G.H. Peek, O.B.E., Chief Administrative Officer, Western Mediterranean District on the current position in his district, including the imminent hand over by the Egyptian Government of the land for all the cemeteries in Egypt; similar situation noted in Tunisia where the French authorities were ready to hand over the sites as soon as details of procedure were settled; completion of the construction of Halfaya Sollum Cemetery, and near completion of Acroma; note of some difficulties in Egypt due to the frontiers being closed during the Palestinian war, but that the Egyptian Government had afforded all possible help; note of general good conditions of cemeteries in Tunisia and Libya, that work at El Alamein had not yet started and that question of water supply at Sollum had been solved.
Copy of letter from H.P.R. Foster, Legal Assistant, to F.J. Fernau, Privy Council, dated 23rd July 1948, in reply to the petition by the British Legion to the Privy Council against the termination of the 1939-45 war dates fixed by the Commission, with comments that any graves of HM Forces which were beyond this date could be maintained by the Commission on an agency basis at the request of participating governments, as per the arrangements set out in the Commission’s supplemental charter of 1924, with particular reference to HM Forces in Palestine and Forces of Occupation elsewhere.
Comments of the Imperial War Graves Commission upon the observations of the British Legion on the Commission's application for the grant of a Supplemental Charter, F. Higginson, dated 22 July 1948, giving full explanation as to decision regarding the choice of termination dates for the Second World War.
Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar-Smith, V.C., K.C.B. (Vice-Chairman in the Chair)
J.P. Sigvaldason (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
C. Knowles, C.B.E. (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
I.T. Meyer (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
Major K. Ramanthan (Representing the High Commissioner for India)
E. Simcock (Representing the High Commissioner for Pakistan)
Colonel W.F. Rendell, C.B.E. (Representing the Government of Newfoundland)
R.C. Cade, M.B.E. (Representing the Secretary of State for the Colonies)
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.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Hopkins, G.C.B.
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)
Lieut.-Colonel R.W. Bateman (Director of Works)
Brigadier J.K. McNair, C.B.E. (Foreign Relations Officer)
Major W.K.K. Kinnear (Chief Records Officer)
Captain H.P.R. Foster (Legal Assistant)
Major F. Tyrrell, M.B.E.
Lieut.-Colonel R.W. Murphy, O.B.E. (Chief Administrative Officer, United Kingdom District)
Lieut.-Colonel G.H. Peek, O.B.E. (Chief Administrative Officer, Western Mediterranean District)