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The South African Ambassador
Announcement of the appointment of Dr de Villiers to serve in the South African Cabinet.
The Indian High Commissioner
Announcement of the appointment of Dr V A Seyid Mohammad as Indian High Commissioner in London.
Major-General M Mayadas
Announcement that Brigadier Mayadas, who had represented the Indian High Commissioner at Commission Meetings for the last three years, had recently been posted back to India in the rank of Major General.
Honours and Awards
Announcement that the Head Gardener at Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Mr Mustafa Aly, had recently been awarded the British Empire Medal.
Announcement that in Australia Mr Stirrup, the Works Officer, Office of Australian War Graves, had been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Australian Birthday Honours List.
Matters Arising from the Minutes of the 541st Meeting
a) Note that there had been no progress in matters concerning the Service Cemeteries in Malta
b) Update on the Commonwealth-Iraq War Graves Agreement.
c) Update on a lack of progress on the France Area Accommodation.
d) Note that Mr Wheeler had written confirming his acceptance as the fourth Member of the South African Agency.
Review of the Commission's Organisation and Staffing
Update on Review of the Commission's Organisation and Staffing by Reorganisation Sub-Committee, including note that the substantial staff and other cost savings that the Commission would be making over the next three to five years should amount in total to about 3.5% of the current annual expenditure.
Adoption of the Report of the 583rd Meeting of the Finance Committee
Item 1 concerned an increase in the Vice-Chairman's pay in line with those recommended by the United Kingdom Top Salaries Review Board.
Item 4 related to modifications to the air-conditioning system at Head Office.
Items 6 to 10 were all straightforward pay increases in line with the usual analogues.
Items 2 and 5 were being dealt with as separate Papers
Amendment to the Rules of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Superannuation Scheme (1952), including authorisation and request that the Trustees of the Scheme make such modifications, alterations or additions to the Rules of the Scheme as may be necessary or expedient in order to provide that as from 1 January 1981 the purchase of added years by a single payment may be made by a Member only within the period of 12 months from the date of the beginning of his full-time service, and that from 1 October 1980 the rate of compound interest stated in paragraph 3(4) of the Rules shall be 4%.
61st Annual Report and Statement of Accounts of the Commission
Approval of the 61st Annual Report and Statement of Accounts of the Commission for the year ended 31 March 1980.
Threat to Cemeteries in Libya
Update on recent difficulties affecting the Commission’s work in Libya, including challenges in obtaining visas and pressure to relocate graves out of Tripoli War Cemetery in the early 1970s. Includes report from Mr Cheater of his visit to Libya.
Commemoration of Casualties in the Soviet Union
Update on the Inscription to be used on a memorial to Commemorate Casualties in the Soviet Union, with consensus of opinion that Rudyard Kipling’s wording “Their Glory Shall Not Be Blotted Out” was not quite appropriate for the memorial in question.
Commonwealth War Graves in the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen
Approval of proposals made for the Commonwealth War Graves in the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen including leaving the remains of the 8 Commonwealth war dead in Holkat Bay Military Cemetery and continuing to maintain their graves and exhuming the remains of the 31 Commonwealth war dead in Sheikh Othman Cemetery and reinterring them in individual graves within a curbed plot in Maala Cemetery, with commemoration on a single memorial in the plot.
Update on Proposed Turkish Memorial in Ramleh War Cemetery, Israel
Refers to proposal first made in 1979 and sketch outline that the Turkish authorities had turned down due to cost, with reference to a second approach and discussions with Turkish authorities.
The Thiepval Memorial – Horticultural Layout
Approval of changes to the horticultural layout around the Thiepval Memorial including changes to the tree planting at the site.
Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees: Appointment of Members
Commonwealth-German-French Joint Committee:
Brigadier Vijay Madan VSM (Military Adviser, Indian High Commission, London)
Commonwealth-Japanese Joint Committee:
Mr Toshiaki Ikezawa (Director, General Affairs Bureau, Yokohama City Office)
Mr Kimio Takahashi (Director, National Property Inspection Division, Ministry of Finance)
Unmaintainable Graves – Hastings Cemetery, East Sussex
Approval of the proposal to commemorate 34 burials of the 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 Wars in Hastings Cemetery by the erection of a memorial around the Cross of Sacrifice bearing the names and an inscription.
Execution of Documents
Confirmation of the action for the execution by the Commission or on its behalf of the documents, Serial Nos Part I 564 to 567 and Part II 167 to 169, referred to in the Schedule laid before the Meeting and signed for identification by the Commission's Legal Adviser and Solicitor;
Indian Army Memorial, Neuve-Chapelle
Update on the Indian Army Memorial at Neuve Chapelle, advising that the present owner of the sketch Mrs Leith-Ross felt strongly that the true home of the picture was in the Town Hall at Neuve Chapelle, and that when the picture was repatriated not only would it be in the spirit of Entente Cordial but also of the Auld Alliance, as it had hung in Mrs Leith-Ross's home in Edinburgh for some fifty years.
Report from Miss Woodgate on her tour in the United Kingdom Area with Admiral Sir David Williams, with notes on the condition of graves in Falmouth Cemetery, Plymouth Old Cemetery, and Portland Royal Naval Cemetery;
Report from the Secretary on his visit to Northern Scotland, the Faroes and Iceland, including the note that he had been able to visit Scapa Flow and sail over the wreck of the Royal Oak, where a notice put up by the Commission on the buoy over the wreck was still in place;
Report from Mr Cheater on an exhibition at Witney, organised by Miss Jacqui Broome (with help from Mrs Betty Hayes from the Records Branch), who had decided to carry out a complete survey of all the names on the War Memorial in Witney where she lived with the idea that local people would be able to see what their predecessors had done during the two world wars;
Report on future Inspection visits to Northern Ireland.
Update on the War Graves Agreement with the German Democratic Republic where the German Democratic Republic authorities had indicated that they were willing to hold discussions on a War Graves Agreement in East Berlin, early in 1981.
Reminder to the Commissioners that the Gardeners' Service would be taking place in Westminster Abbey on Friday 7 November.
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)
Sir F.C. Murray (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
Mr B.J. Lynch (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
Mr A.L. Manley (Representing the Ambassador of South Africa)
Mr R.A. Gomme (Representing the Minister for Housing and Construction)
Miss Joan Woodgate CBE RRC
Sir John Winnifrith KCB
Mr A.K. Pallot CMG (Director-General)
Mr Peter A. Scott BSc FICE (Honorary Consulting Engineer)
Professor Sir Peter Shepheard CBE BArch PPRIBA MRTPI PPILA (Artistic Adviser)
There were also present:
Mr A.S. Laing CBE MVO (Assistant Secretary, Deputy Director-General)
Mr P.R. Mathew (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 J. B. Paton NDH (Director of Horticulture)
Mr P.H.M. Swan (Director of External Relations)
Mr H. Westland MIPM (Establishment Officer)
Mr W.J. Symons (Chief Finance Officer)
Mr G.A. Cheater (Director of Information Services)
Mr D. Kennedy (Director, Outer Area)
Mr J.P. Gee (Secretariat)