Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/405
File NumberCM 3/1/73
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.405 - July 1957


DescriptionMinutes of the 405th Meeting of the Commission
Content NoteTopics covered:

Minutes of the 404th Meeting:
the minutes of the 404th Meeting of the Commission were approved and the following matters arising were noted:
report on the unveiling of the Dunkirk Memorial by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, which had been attended by a number of Commissioners, and by all three services, the Merchant Navy and the little ships; a folder of information had been prepared for each Member in relation to the subject of Allied War Graves, collecting all papers which had been submitted to the Commission on this subject since May 1956;

Report of the 449th Meeting of the Finance Committee:
adoption of report following mention of number of specific points including: measures to preserve Portland headstones in Tunisia and Libya, including the application of bitumen and modification of the irrigation system to prevent damage by salts, with comment that it was inevitable that the eventual replacement of all headstones would be required, and that replacements would be of Botticino Classico Marble from Italy or synthetic stone from Egypt; excess expenditure on the construction of seven cemeteries in the Loire Maritime, French Region; provision of 14 accommodation quarters for gardening staff in isolated sites in the Gallipoli Area, who had until now been living in temporary accommodation left by the contractor who had constructed the cemeteries; purchase of land in Rome to build new offices for the Southern Region headquarters; headstone and horticultural renovation and restoration in Malta; ex-gratia payments to staff in France, Belgium and Germany for compensation for losses between 1939 and 1940 which had not been covered by the War Damage Compensation Schemes of the countries concerned;

Appointment of a Trustee of the Imperial War Graves Endowment Fund:
appointment of General Sir John Tredinnick Crocker as a Trustee of the Imperial War Graves Endowment Fund in succession to Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore;

Imperial War Graves Commission Superannuation Scheme (1952) – Trustees’ Powers of Investment:
approval of alteration of the Deed of Trust of the Superannuation Scheme to allow the Commission to invest up to 30% of their investment fund in equities, following consultation with the UK Treasury;

Membership of the Commonwealth-French Joint Committee:
appointment of Monsieur Vincent Auriel, GCB, former President of the French Republic, and General de Corps d’Armee P. F. M. J. Garbay as Honorary Members of the Commonwealth-French Joint Committee;

Graves in the Maldive Islands:
approval of the proposal to erect a memorial on Gan Island, Addu Atoll, Maldives commemorating 68 men of the Commonwealth Armed Forces who died on Gan Island during the Second World War, with details as to why it had not been possible to mark the individual graves;

Cos War Cemetery, Dodecanese:
approval and confirmation of the transfer of war graves from the war cemetery on the island of Cos (Dodecanese) to Rhodes War Cemetery, with details and reasons explaining the decision;

Examination of Sketch Design: Pointe Noire European Cemetery, French Equatorial Africa:
authorisation for the Finance Committee to consider and accept tenders for the construction of the cemetery to the design by the architect Mr. R. Hobday, with description of the design, which consisted of a screen wall recording the names of those killed in the torpedoing of HMS “Phoebe” in October 1942, and comments from Sir Edward Maufe;

Maintenance of 36th (Ulster) Division Memorial at Thiepval, France:
approval of the revised financial arrangements for the repair and maintenance of the 36th (Ulster) Division Memorial at Thiepval;

Maintenance of War Graves in the United Kingdom: 59th Quarterly Report to the 30th June, 1957:
notice that arrangements were in hand to repair the displaced block of stone from the Plymouth Naval Memorial which had occurred after it was struck by lightning;

Placing of Wreaths and Flowers by Relatives at Memorials in the United Kingdom:
agreement on proposals by the Commission to alleviate the accumulation of flower receptacles at certain memorials in the United Kingdom;

General Notes:
account of Annual Pilgrimage of the Canadian Veterans’ Association to Brookwood Military Cemetery, which was attended by 500 Canadians, including the new Prime Minister of Canada, John Diefenbaker; note that details of the pilgrimage of the 29th Division Association to Gallipoli, which had included Sir Leonard Stone, had appeared in the Daily Telegraph, with comment that the article referred particularly to the work of Mr Millington, the Commission’s Area Superintendent, who had fought at Gallipoli in 1915 and had served the Commission there continuously since 1919;

Purchase of Office Premises, Southern Region:
authorisation for Charles Davidson Jack, Senior Deputy Regional Director, who was deputising for the Regional Director, Southern Region during the latter’s leave, to sign any documents necessary in connection with the purchase of land at Via Clitunno 3 and 3A, Rome, which was to serve as the Southern Region’s new office premises;

Maintenance of 102nd and 103rd (Tyneside) Infantry Brigade Memorial at Ovillers-La-Boisselle, Somme, France:
approval of the transfer into the name of the Commission the capital sum necessary to provide maintenance by the Commission of these memorials;

Canadian Agency:
note of the appointment of Colonel A. J. Brooks as the Commission’s Agent in Canada after becoming Canada’s Minister of Veterans’ Affairs;

War Graves in Denmark:
report on recent visit to Copenhagen (Bispebjerg) Cemetery by Sir Charles Guest during visit to Denmark, with comments on the high standard of maintenance found, and note that the war graves were maintained by the cemetery authorities without charge to the Commission;

Visit by Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore to Cemeteries in Belgium, Holland and Germany:
Air Chief Marshal Longmore gave an account of his visit, being impressed with Kemmel Military Cemetery, Tyne Cot Cemetery, Adegem Canadian War Cemetery, Evere-les-Bruxelles Cemetery, Leopoldsburg War Cemetery in Belgium. He noted that maintenance work was in progress at Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, and noted that the horticultural maintenance at Schoonselhof Cemetery was not of such as high standard as elsewhere, perhaps due to the constructional work in progress there. In Holland he visited the Area Office in Velp, and was impressed with the horticulture at Arnhem and Groesbeek, also mentioning the good maintenance found in the war graves plots in the civil cemeteries in Amersfoort, Amsterdam, the Hague and Rotterdam, and made the suggestion that each memorial, a plaque might be erected recording by whom and when the memorial had been unveiled. In Germany he had visited Rheinberg and Reichswald Forest War Cemeteries, where construction was going on well, and had taken the opportunity of visiting the local Royal Air Force Commanding Officer to thank him for providing accommodation for two Commission gardeners;

Unveiling of the Medjez-el-Bab Memorial:
details of the upcoming unveiling of the Medjez-El-Bab Memorial, including arrangements for General Sir Kenneth Anderson to unveil the memorial on 16th November 1957;

Ceylon Agency:
account of visit by and discussions with Mr N. J. L. Jansz, Honorary Secretary, Ceylon Agency, regarding the inability to maintain 39 war graves in Trincomalee Muslim Cemetery owing to local conditions in the cemetery, and the proposal to treat the war graves as unmaintainable and add the names of the casualties to Colombo (Liveramentu) Memorial Tablets, with the headstones being removed from the graves;

Beersheba War Cemetery, Israel:
note of letter received from Mr Harold Neal, MP, former Member of the Commission, who had recently visited Beersheba and had written to say that he had been impressed with its tidiness and good maintenance.


General Sir John Crocker GCB KBE DSO MC (Vice-Chairman of the Commission)
Campbell Moodie (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
E. J. B. Foxcroft (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
J. G. Hale (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
M. Hillebrand (Representing the High Commissioner for South Africa)
Lieutenant-Colonel M. M. Singh (Representing the High Commissioner for India)
Major Nasir Ali Khan (Representing the High Commissioner for Pakistan)
S. H. Field (Representing the Secretary of State for the Colonies)
A. J. Isaac (Representing the Minister of Works)
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore GCB DSO
The Right Hon. Sir Patrick Spens KBE GC MP
G. O. Sylvester MP
Captain Sir Harold Campbell GCVO DSO RN
Sir Arthur Rucker KCMG CB CBE
Admiral Sir John Edelsten GCB GCVO CBE


W. J. Chalmers CBE


Sir Edward Maufe RA FRIBA (Chief Architect and Artistic Adviser)

Also in attendance:
W. Wynne Mason MC (Assistant Secretary (External Relations))
A. K. Pallot (Assistant Secretary (Finance and Establishments))
Major-General J. F. D. Steedman CBE MC (Director of Works)
H. L. Simmons LLB (Legal Adviser)
W. F. W. Harding BSc (Chief Horticultural Officer)
Colonel E. A. Griffin OBE ED (Regional Director, United Kingdom Region)
A. S. Laing
R. I. Mill
Extent1 file
CategoryMeeting Notes
ArchNotePlease note that the downloadable document is the final version of the Committee Meeting minutes. Additional information, including the verbatim minutes and subsidiary reports, may be available in the physical file.
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