Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/523
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.523 - December 1975


DescriptionMinutes of the 523rd Meeting of the Commission.
Content NoteTopics covered:

Mr D S Koyana
Welcome to Mr Koyana who was representing the South African Ambassador.

Lord Holford
Mention of the death in October of Lord Holford, who had been the Commission's Artistic Adviser since 1969.

Mr T A E Gibson
Mention of award in November of the Silver Medal of the Royal Humane Society to Mr Edwin Gibson, Senior External Relations Officer at Head Office. Mr Gibson had behaved with great bravery when, in 1973, he saw a woman fall in front of a train at Reading Station and, without hesitation, had jumped down and held her between the rails while the front part of the train passed over them.

Lieutenant Colonel V Badhwar
Mention the previous week had been the last at which Colonel Badhwar, who was returning to India, had been present. Colonel Badhwar had been a regular attender at Finance Committee Meetings and had attended Commission Meetings in the absence of Brigadier Vohra.
Minutes Arising From The 522nd Meeting of the Commission
a) Update on status of Pakistan’s membership of the Commission.
b) Update on the Liverpool Memorial
c) Negotiations with Unions in Belgium
d) Rangoon War Cemetery
e) Canadian Agency
f) Economy Measures
g) Situation in Iraq – war graves

Estimates 1976-1977
Refers to estimates and revised estimates for 1976-1977. Also refers to a recent visit to Imphal War Cemetery by Brigadier Vohra.

Report of the 564th Finance Committee Meeting
Item 1 covered the Estimates which had just been discussed.
Items 2 and 3 would be covered later as items on the Agenda.
Item 4 concerned the Head Office air conditioning system.
Item 5 was routine block expenditure on approved services.
Item 6 dealt with the Canal Zone rehabilitation scheme.
Items 10 and 11 arose from the Estimates and were the authorities for the establishment of staff and expenditure on motor transport.
Item 12 concerned increases in rates of pay for UK based manual staff in line with those for local authority staff.
Item 13 dealt with pensions and the increased provisions for staff participating in the 1926 Superannuation Scheme. This involved a small number of staff only and the annual cost would be around £1,600.

Commission’s Administrative Organisation – East Africa
Refers to the paper presented to the meeting and that the proposals recommended by the Reorganisation Sub-Committee had been examined and endorsed by the Finance Committee at its last meeting. Mentions in East Africa there were a relatively small number of graves, the majority of which were maintained through the Commission's agencies. Although the maintenance cost per grave was very high, the total cost involved, compared with other commitments, was low and reorganisation there had been low on the list of priorities.

Commission’s Administrative Organisation – United Kingdom
Refers to proposal for the establishment of one operational headquarters which would combine the work of the present four Area offices and the present United Kingdom Department at Head Office.

Tobruk War Cemetery, Libya
Refers to problem of the water supply at the cemetery and resolution that the present type of horticultural treatment at Tobruk War Cemetery be continued.

Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees – Appointment of Members
Commonwealth-Belgian Joint Committee:
Mr R H Noyes Roberts (Counsellor (Public Affairs), Canadian High Commission, London) Commonwealth-French Joint Committee:
His Excellency Mr Gerard Pelletier (Canadian Ambassador, Paris)
His Excellency Sir Nicholas Henderson KCMG (British Ambassador, Paris)
Mr J M Sterban (First Secretary, South African Embassy, London)
Commonwealth-German-French Joint Committee:
His Excellency Sir Oliver Wright KCMG DSC (British Ambassador, Bonn)
Commonwealth-Japanese Joint Committee:
Mr Yoshiyuki Matsubayashi (Director of the General Affairs Bureau, Yokohama City Office)
Mr Leonard Pickles OBE (Consul-General, British Embassy, Tokyo)

Graves not Within The Commission’s Control – United kingdom
Refers to several proposals relating to graves of this description:
Proposal to commemorate 2 burials of the 1914- 1918 War in Croxton (St John The Baptist) Churchyard, by the erection of a single special memorial, suitably superscribed, in Fulmodeston (Christ Church) Churchyard.
Proposal for commemorating 5 burials of the 1914-1918 War and 4 of the 1939-1945 War in Lever Bridge (St Stephen and All Martyrs) Churchyard by the re-erection of 8 existing headstones together with one new headstone and a commemorative stone, in the same churchyard.
Proposal to commemorate 13 burials of the 1914-1918 War and 4 of the 1939-1945 War in Shifnal (St Andrew) Churchyard by a screen wall to be erected in the Memorial Garden in the same churchyard.
Proposal to commemorate 6 burials of the 1914- 1918 War in Westminster City Cemetery by an inscribed stone panel to be inserted in the podium of the Cross of Sacrifice, in the same cemetery.

Execution of Documents
Resolution that action for the execution by the Commission of the documents, Serial Nos Part I 516 and Part 11 121-124 inclusive, referred to in the Schedule now laid before the Meeting and signed for identification by the Commission's Legal Adviser and Solicitor.

Mentions that the Diary was a new paper, first presented at the last meeting when there had not been time to explain it, which replaced two, and at one time, three former papers reporting current events. Also mentions photographs were displayed relating to the items described in the paper.
Mentions a newsletter was now in production for distribution to staff.
Report of Chairman’s visit to Gibraltar and North Africa, including comments about Bone War Cemetery, which was beautifully cared for, but there was an unsightly dump of old cars and general rubbish behind the cemetery. It was hoped that the problem would be solved by members of the large British community taking it up with the local authority. Also refers to water supply at Massicault War Cemetery.
Miss Woodgate mentioned during a holiday in Canada she had seen the Acting Secretary-General of the Canadian Agency and had met the Minister of Veterans' Affairs. On her return to Europe she had toured in Northern France for the first time, and at Arras she had met many of the staff and their wives at a staff party; she had been pleased to hear that the staff had set up an organisation to visit and help retired members.
The Secretary said that since the beginning of the year he had visited the capitals of the four countries in northern Europe in which the Commission had a major commitment and also Rome.
Also mentions Secretary’s visit to East Germany to discuss war graves agreements and comments on the problem of access to Berlin South Western Cemetery, Stahnsdorf, which had been completely overgrown until a team of gardeners and craftsmen had been allowed in some two years ago and, the problem of the many scattered graves that were known to exist in East Germany including the Indian Army cemetery at Zehrensdorf which was in a Russian military area and had been reported as completely bulldozed.
Refers to House of Commons exhibition with over 400 recorded visitors.
Lord Wallace said the question of the possible salvage of Wales' and 'Repulse' had been raised in the Lords.

General Sir Noel Thomas KCB DSO MC (Vice-Chairman of the Commission), in the Chair
Mr R H Noyes Roberts (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
Mr K McDonald (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
Mr D B G McLean (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
Mr D S Koyana (Representing the Ambassador of South Africa)
Brigadier J M Vohra SM (Representing the High Commissioner for India)
Mr P C Aggleton (Representing the Minister for Housing and Construction)
Sir Robert Black GCMG OBE
Miss Joan Woodgate CBE RRC
Sir John Winnifrith KCB
Mr Edward Gardner QC MP
The Lord Wallace of Coslany

Mr A K Pallot CMG (Director-General)

Mr P A Scott BSc FICE (Honorary Consulting Engineer)

There were also present:
Mr A S Laing MVO (Assistant Secretary, Assistant Director-General (Secretariat))
Mr J Saynor (Assistant Secretary, Assistant Director-General (Administration))
Mr P R Matthew BA (Assistant Secretary, Legal Adviser and Solicitor)
Mr W H Dukes (Director of Works)
Mr W F W Harding OBE BSc (Hort) FLS (Director of Horticulture)
Mr P H M Swan (Director of External Relations)
Mr S G Campbell MC (Director of Information Services)
Mr H Westland MIPM (Establishment Officer)
Mr P J Cook (Chief Finance Officer)
Mr D L Ayers (Secretariat)
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.
Add to My Items