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Announcement of the sudden death of Mr Norman Kirk, Prime Minister of New Zealand, which had been a sad shock to the whole Commonwealth and that Mr Swan was representing the Commission at the Memorial Service in Westminster Abbey.
Miss Honor Currie and Brigadier J H Vohra SM
The Chairman welcomed Miss Currie and Brigadier Vohra, who were representing their High Commissioners at a meeting of the Commission for the first time.
Mr Ronald Lonsdale
Announcement of the sudden death of Mr Ronald Lonsdale, an Assistant Establishment Officer at Head Office.
Sir Charles Wheeler KCVO CBE PPRA
Announcement of the death of Sir Charles Wheeler, who had been associated with the Commission from its early days, where he had been responsible for the fine sculpture on the Memorials to the Missing at Loos, Neuve Chapelle, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Chatham, Tower Hill and Malta.
Lieutenant General John Piron DSO
Announcement of the death of General Jean Piron, at whose funeral in Brussels the Commission had been represented by the Chief External Relations Officer
Minutes of the 517th Meeting and Matters Arising From the Minutes
Report that there was no progress on Pakistan's Membership of the Commission.
Update on Proposed Turkish Memorial Park on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Update on choice of Sculptor for the Liverpool Memorial, with a proposal of Mr David McFall RA for the project.
Update on Reorganisation in the Pacific Region which had to be postponed as the legislation necessary to set up the new Australian Government office had not been presented.
Update on Percentages of Contributions to the Commission by Participating Governments, with a focus on India.
Update on Commonwealth Tunisian War Graves Agreement.
Update on damage at Cemeteries and Memorials in the Suez Canal Zone, with an estimate of the cost of repairs needed.
Report on Exhibitions and Information, including the small exhibition at the Royal Show at Stoneleigh, an exhibition set up in the Cloth Hall at Ypres and a note of the forthcoming exhibition at Head Office.
Note from the Secretary that the Commission had provided a set of photographs to the National War Museum in Ottawa, Canada.
Note of the date of the presentation of the Royal Institute of British Architects Award to the Commission's Head Office Building.
Report of the 559th Meeting of the Finance Committee
Adoption of the Report of the 559th Meeting of the Finance Committee and approval of the recommendations contained in it, including an update on the regrouping of graves in Tanzania, an update on refacing work at the Thiepval Memorial, an update on replacing headstones in cemeteries in the Canal Zone, an update on the current programme of structural maintenance at the Menin Gate, an update on structural maintenance at the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, an update on increases in rates of pay, a recommendation for the confirmation of the promotion of Mr Nelson to be the Area Horticultural Officer in France, and the engagement of a Consultant Engineer to report on the air-conditioning system at Head Office.
55th Annual Report and Statement of Accounts of the Commission
Approval of the 55th Annual Report and Statement of Accounts of the Commission.
Percentages of Contributions to the Commission by Participating Governments
Proposal that the Commission takes note of the revised percentages accepted by the Participating Governments as the basis on which they should be asked to contribute to the cost of carrying out the work of the Commission.
Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees - Appointment of Members
Commonwealth-Belgian Joint Committee:
Son Excellence Monsieur le Ministre Joseph Michel (Minister of Home Affairs)
Commonwealth-French Joint Committee:
General de Corps d'Armee Philippe Clave (Military Governor of Paris)
Commonwealth-German-French Joint Committee:
Son Excellence Monsieur Olivier Wormser (French Ambassador, Bonn)
Commonwealth-Italian Joint Committee:
His Excellency Mr J E Ryan OBE (Australian Ambassador, Rome)
Unmaintainable Graves – United Kingdom: Irlam (St John The Baptist) Churchyard, Greater Manchester
Approval of the action already carried out to commemorate one burial of the 1914-1918 War in Irlam (St John The Baptist) Churchyard, Greater Manchester by the erection of a special memorial headstone, suitably inscribed, in an area reserved for cleared memorials in the same Churchyard.
Unmaintainable Graves – United Kingdom: Pendlebury (Christ Church) Churchyard, Greater Manchester
Approval of the proposal to commemorate 4 burials of the 1914-1918 War in Pendlebury (Christ Church) Churchyard, Greater Manchester by the erection of a special memorial in the Garden of Remembrance in the same churchyard.
Unmaintainable Graves – United Kingdom : Malins Lee (St. Leonard) Churchyard, Shropshire
Approval of the proposal to commemorate 3 burials of the 1914-1918 War in Malins Lee (St Leonard) Churchyard, Shropshire by the re-erection of the existing headstones, suitably superscribed, near the south-west wall of the church in the same churchyard.
Unmaintainable Graves – United Kingdom: Donnington Wood (St Matthew) Churchyard, Shropshire
Approval of the proposal to commemorate 3 burials of the 1914-1918 War in Donnington Wood (St Matthew) Churchyard, Shropshire by the erection of the existing headstones, suitably superscribed, near the south wall of the church.
Execution of Documents
Confirmation of the action for the execution by the Commission or on its behalf of the documents, Serial Nos Part I 494-498 and Part 11 112-114, referred to in the Schedule laid before the Meeting and signed for identification by the Commission's Legal Adviser and Solicitor.
Reports from Areas and Agencies: Quarter ended 30 June 1974
Overview of Quarterly Reports from Areas and Agencies, where a large number of ceremonies had taken place during the quarter to the end of June, and an update on the repair of the Portsmouth Memorial, where craftsmen from France had carried out the work.
Report from the Secretary on his recent tour of Australia and New Zealand, and a later tour of Canada where he had attended the Dominion Convention of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans' Association at Halifax, Nova Scotia, visited the Halifax Memorial, and travelled across Canada to address bereaved relatives and representatives of the veterans of the two World Wars in Prince Edward Island.
Update from Mr Pallot on the situation in Cyprus where the three gardeners had been unable to travel to the Nicosia War Cemetery since late August as it was in the Turkish controlled area, and due to the water supply being stopped, the horticulture would probably have suffered.
Report from Mr Pallot on the fires in the Eastern Mediterranean Area where the Anzac Area had suffered, with the horticulture in five cemeteries completely destroyed and very badly damaged in another five cemeteries, with only four cemeteries including the New Zealand Memorial at Chunuk Bair, escaping damage. The two gardeners and the local supervisor had saved the cottages and rest-houses, the tractor and other equipment, but the nursery had been burnt out.
Report of a fire near the Doiran Memorial and Cemetery where serious damage had been prevented but many trees had been badly burned.
Report from the Chairman on his recent tour in Belgium where he had visited 22 cemeteries and 2 memorials, and met Heads of Mission and Members of the Commonwealth Belgian Joint Committee at a reception in Brussels, and been impressed by the beauty of the Kasterlee War Cemetery, the landscaping at St. Symphorien Military Cemetery and the size of Tyne Cot.
Report from the Chairman of his visit to the Northern Area Office of the United Kingdom and the sites around Glasgow and Edinburgh, where he found that some cemeteries owned by private cemetery companies where poorly maintained, and the maintenance of the war graves contained in them was hard for Area staff to carry out.
Report from the Chairman on his visits to the Naval Memorials at Portmouth, Lee-on-Solent and Plymouth, returning via cemeteries around Exeter and Bournemouth. Attention drawn to forthcoming events including the Commonwealth-Danish Joint Committee meeting in Copenhagen on 9th October, the presentation of the Royal Institute of British Architects Award at Head Office on 17th October, the exhibition referred to in the meeting to be held at Head Office from 4th - 15th November, and the Annual Gardeners' Service which would be held at Westminster Abbey on 8th November.
Report concerning the misrepresentation in the Press of the condition of the grave of Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC and Squadron Leader James Warwick, both buried in a civil cemetery at Steenbergen-en-Kruisland, Holland. The Commission had taken over the maintenance of the graves and the Secretary was anxious to make it clear that graves of holders of the Victoria Cross did not receive special attention but that because they could become items of controversy a special watch would be maintained on them.
Report from Mr Laing about the raising of the wreck of the E24, a British submarine sunk in 1916, by a German salvage firm, and the burial of the remains of 25 sailors found within it in Hamburg Cemetery.
Note of the Press reports of salvage operations on the Midget Submarine X5 in Kaafjord, Norway, and the wishes of the next of kin of any remains found.
Warning from Mr Westland to all Members of the threat of postal bombs as some had been sent to home addresses, with the need to be suspicious of mail received that had been posted in Northern Ireland.
Report from Mr Pallot of the Finance Committee meeting where it was proposed that under the Director of Administration there should be a separate organisation, staff inspection and audit branch, which would combine duties previously carried by the Establishment and Finance branches respectively.
Report from Mr Pallot of a second point raised at the meeting where the titles for the Assistant Secretaries were discussed, and that the two administrative Assistant Secretaries should be Assistant Director-General (Secretariat) and Assistant Director-General (Administration).
Discussion of the title of the Vice-Chairman, where members indicated their preference for "Commissioner-General".
Appointment of Mr A.S. Laing MVO, Mr P. R. Matthew BA, and Mr J. Saynor as Assistant Secretaries to the Commission with effect from 1st April 1975.
Note that the next meeting would be held on Tuesday 17th December at 11am at Head Office, Maidenhead
General Sir Noel Thomas KCB DSO MC (Vice-Chairman of the Commission), in the Chair
Sir John Wilson KCB (Representing the Secretary of State for Defence)
Miss Honor Currie (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
Mr K. McDonald (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
Mr J.B. Shearer (Representing the Ambassador of South Africa )
Brigadier J.H. Vohra (Representing the High Commissioner for India)
Mr R.D. Hutchings (Representing the Minister for Housing and Construction)
Sir Robert Black GCMG OBE
Miss Joan Woodgate CBE RRC
Admiral Sir Frank Twiss KCB DSC
Mr George Wallace
Mr W.J. Chalmers CB CBE (Director-General)
There were also present:
Mr A.K Pallot (Assistant Secretary, Director of Administration)
Mr P.R. Matthew BA (Legal Adviser and Solicitor)
Mr W.H. Dukes (Director of Works)
Mr W.F.W Harding OBE BSc (Hort) FLS (Director of Horticulture)
Mr A.S. Laing MVO (Director of Information Services)
Mr J. Saynor (Chief Finance Officer)
Mr H Westland (Establishment Officer)
Mr D.H. Lloyd ARICS (Director, United Kingdom)
Mr W.J. Symons (Administrator, Overseas Direct Administration)
Mr I.C. Haydon (Private Secretary to Director-General)