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Air Chief Marshal Sir Walter Cheshire
Announcement of the death of Air Chief Marshal Sir Walter Cheshire, and that Miss Joan Woodgate had represented the President, and the Director-General and the Deputy Director-General the Commission, at the memorial service for Sir WaIter at Lymington on 8 January.
New Year Honours List
Announcement that in the New Year Honours List Mr J Whyte, a Horticultural Superintendent
in France Area, had been awarded the BEM, and that in the same list Mr W J Chalmers, formerly Secretary and Director-General, had been appointed CVO.
Dr A A Caenpeel
Announcement that Dr A A Caenpeel, a Belgian historian of the First World War well-known to the Commission in Ypres who had died earlier that week, had been appointed before his death to be Honorary OBE.
Professor J P M Brenan
Congratulations to Professor Brenan on being awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour.
M. Emile Turpin and Mr Ahmed Ibrahim Ahmed
Announcement of the death in service of M. Emile Turpin, a Gardener in France and Mr Ahmed Ibrahim Ahmed, a Gardener in Egypt.
Membership of the South African Agency
Announcement that Major-General I Lemmer had succeeded Lieutenant-General H A Kotze as a member of the South African Agency.
Matters arising from the Minutes of the 535th Meeting
a) Update on the situation in Iraq where the Director, Eastern Mediterranean Area, had obtained a visa and would make the first visit for some time to Iraq towards the end of the month.
b) Appointment of Professor Shepheard as Architect for the France Area Accommodation.
c) Update on Estimates 1979/80, where the Indian Ministry of Defence, had given assurance that authority had been given for payment of all outstanding amounts of contributions due to the Commission.
d) Report of the 576th Meeting of the Finance Committee, with an update on work needed to the Thiepval Memorial and the savings to be made by using recommended materials.
Adoption of the Report of the 577th Meeting of the Finance Committee
Item 1 was a resolution recurring at each March meeting seeking the delegation of authority to the Secretary and Director-General to employ staff and approve expenditure within certain limits and to write-off losses should they occur.
Item 2 concerned the solution to the problems encountered at the Bergen op Zoom cemeteries in the Netherlands which suffered from a lack of water during the summer months, and the proposal to sink a well.
Malta – Service Cemeteries
Update on Service Cemeteries in Malta where it was agreed that war graves should remain undisturbed unless it is established to the satisfaction of the Participating Governments that a particular removal of the burials in a Service Cemetery or in an area of a Service Cemetery containing Commonwealth war burials is required by reason of overriding public necessity.
Membership of the Finance Committee
Agreement on the Membership of the Finance Committee, to consist of the Vice-Chairman, three other non-official Members and the five Official Members of the Commission representing Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Superannuation Scheme (1952) – Appointment of Trustee
Appointment of Thomas Atkinson Burns as a Trustee of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Superannuation Scheme (1952) for a period of 3 years from 22 March 1979.
Sofia War Cemetery, Bulgaria – Proposed exhumations
Approval in principle for the re-grouping of a maximum of 37 burials in Sofia War Cemetery, Bulgaria.
The Shillong Memorial
Note that the Shillong Memorial had been moved from its original site and re-sited in front of the main guard room at the Assam Rifles Depot in the Happy Valley.
Nassau War Cemetery, The Bahamas
Update on the extensive vandalism at Nassau War Cemetery, where the headstones had been replaced by semi-recumbent Botticino blocks, which are about seventy-five per cent heavier than a standard stone and would be both difficult for a vandal to push over and relatively immune to breakage.
Protection of surroundings – Helles Memorial
Paper reporting the satisfactory outcome of representations over what had appeared to be a threat to the surroundings of the Helles Memorial.
South African Memorial, Delville Wood
Update on the difficulties that had arisen in the management of the herd of deer in Delville Wood.
The Commission’s Administrative Organisation
Report of the transfer of responsibility for Gibraltar and Bilbao British Cemetery to Outer Area.
Report of Staff Movements
Retirement of Mr Harding as Director of Horticulture and Mr Lloyd as Director of United Kingdom Area.
Mentions Mr Symons would take over temporarily from Mr Harding's successor Mr Paton, pending the arrival of Mr McCarthy from France Area, while Mr Kennedy would become Director, Outer Area in place of Mr Symons, his post of Organisation and Audit Officer being taken by Mr Osborn.
Mr Lloyd would retire in October and would be replaced by Mr Wall, who had had a long spell as Director, North West Europe Area, and whose place would be taken by the present Chief Finance Officer, Mr Cook.
Mr McCarthy's appointment as Deputy Establishment Officer was a promotion as was Mr Williams's move from Ypres to Arras as his replacement. The latter's post would be filled by Mr Dolby, who had been recruited as an Administrative Trainee a few years ago and had done well in the Information Services Department.
Mrs Amos, who had had a long and successful spell as Welfare Officer, would take Mr Dolby's place and would be replaced by Mrs Grierson who had had experience on the welfare side before joining the Commission's staff.
First Meeting of the Sri Lanka Co-Ordinating Committee
Report of the First Meeting of the Sri Lanka Co-Ordinating Committee on Commonwealth War Graves.
Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees: Appointment of Members
Commonwealth-Belgian Joint Committee:
Sir Peter Wakefield KBE CMG (British Ambassador, Brussels)
Commonwealth-French Joint Committee:
His Excellency Mr J V Scott (New Zealand Ambassador, Paris)
Annual Report of Exhumation and Re-interment: 1978
Refers to routine annual report of exhumations and reinterments which had taken place in 1978.
Execution of Documents
Confirmation of the action for the execution by the Commission or on its behalf of the documents, Serial Nos Part I 551 and 552, referred to in the Schedule laid before the Meeting and signed for identification by the Commission's Legal Adviser and Solicitor.
Report from Sir Arthur Hockaday on the visit of the Secretary of State for Defence to Florence War Cemetery and on his own visit to Belgium.
Report from the Assistant Director-General (Operations) on his visit to Egypt and Libya during February and March.
Report from Mr Saynor of his visit with the Horticultural Officer (East), Outer Area, to Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.
Report that with the reorganisation of the upper level of the Commission's Head Office administration the advantages of the new organisation were greater than expected, and further reports would be made as and when necessary to later meetings of the Finance Committee.
Announcement of the retirement of Mr W F W Harding after 33 years service (23 as Director of Horticulture).
General Sir Noel Thomas KCB DSO MC (Vice-Chairman of the Commission), in the Chair
Sir Arthur Hockaday KCB CMG (Representing the Secretary of State for Defence)
Mr G.A. Cowley (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
Mr F.C. Murray (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
Mr B.J. Lynch (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
Mr T.F. Wheeler (Representing the Ambassador of South Africa)
Mr P.C. Aggleton (Representing the Minister for Housing and Construction)
Sir Robert Black GCMG OBE
Miss Joan Woodgate CBE RRC
Sir John Winnifirth KCB
Mr Edward Gardner QC MP
The Lord Wallace of Coslany
Air Chief Marshal Sir John Barraclough KCB CBE DFC AFC
Sir Edward Goschen Bt DSO
Mr A.K. Pallot CMG (Director-General)
Mr Peter A. Scott BSc FICE (Honorary Consulting Engineer)
Professor Peter Shepheard CBE BArch PPRIBA MRTPI PPILA (Honorary Artistic Adviser)
Professor J.P.M. Brenan MA BSc FLS FIBiol VMH (Honorary Botanical Adviser)
There were also present:
Mr A.S. Laing MVO (Assistant Secretary, Deputy Director-General)
Mr P.R. Matthew (Assistant Secretary, Assistant Director-General (Operations))
Mr J. Saynor (Assistant Secretary, Assistant Director-General (Administration))
Mr I.E. Morgan (Legal Adviser and Solicitor)
Mr W.H. Dukes OBE (Director of Works)
Mr W.F.W. Harding OBE BSc (Hort) FLS (Director of Horticulture)
Mr H. Westland MIPM (Establishment Officer)
Mr D. Kennedy (Director, Outer Area)
Mr T.A.E. Gibson (Chief Records Officer)
Mr D.L. Ayers (Secretariat)