|Content Note||Topics covered:|
Deaths of Staff:
deaths reported of two members of staff: Mr Seng in Singapore and Mr Cani in France.
Matters arising from minutes of the 545th Meeting of the Commission:
report on progress on France area accommodation, with confirmation that penalties would be imposed on contractor if delayed; report by Local Supervisor in Turkey of work in Gallipoli area covering road resurfacing, tree planting, reconstruction of trenches and completion of one section of the Turkish Memorial; Proposed UK/German Democratic Republic war graves agreement, with report that at present a visit to the cemetery at Stahnsdorf by a Commission gardener was unlikely until governmental negotiations resume; Service cemeteries in Malta, with no new developments to report; Threat to Rangoon War Cemetery; where it was reported that although the British Association for Cemeteries in South East Asia had been in discussions with the Ambassador in Rangoon, they had not been involved in the Commission’s problem there; General Fund, with discussion about proposal to use General Fund for educational purposes e.g. to remake the Commission’s film or to publish a more extensive book on the Commission’s memorials (with specific reference to the introduction written by Gavin Stamp for The Silent Cities Commission Exhibition of 1977, and suggestion by General Sir Robert Ford to consider using the services of the Services Kinema Corporation.
Report of the 587th meeting of the Finance Committee:
adoption of the report with specific mentions of the pay increases for the Vice-Chairman and other staff positions, and the over-expenditure on Motor Transport Capital Expenditure due to the purchase of three additional vehicles for experimental horticultural reorganisation programme in France and North West Europe Areas.
62nd Annual report and statement of accounts of the Commission:
Commission’s financial position healthy; discussion of various accounts, including reference to the Property Account and the new accommodation at Beaurains; and the financial contribution to the Commission of the West Indies Governments
Reorganisation of horticultural work in France and NW Europe Areas:
approval for the proposed reorganisation which had already been approved by Organisation and Finance Committees. Changes to be implemented over 3 years and closely monitored. Commissioners’ visits welcomed to monitor. Increased use of chemical weedkillers (Simazine) and larger grass-cutting machinery could reduce staff numbers by simply by not requiring borders to be hoed to anything like the same extent as they had in the past, and the staff reductions would hopefully be achieved over the three year period by natural wastage; Trialled in France and Belgium; Consensus favourable; Mr Paton confident it should go ahead; Advice taken in use of Simazine and no loss of plants to drift encountered.
The Commission’s Administrative Organisation – United Kingdom:
approval for the purchase and development of site at Sydenham Industrial Estate, Leamington Spa, for the new Headquarters of the United Kingdom Area as the existing rented office in Leamington Spa was now too small. Leamington Spa still considered the best location due to its central location and good communications.
Imperial War Graves Endowment Fund – Amendment of Trust Deed:
approval for the amendment of the trust deed to widen the remit for investments and to put the power of the Endowment Fund Trustees on a par with those of the Superannuation Scheme Trustees
Thiepval Memorial – Horticultural layout:
approval of plans to adjust the planting scheme at the memorial to enhance its setting and open up views of the surrounding landscape following full discussion, including reference to road maintenance and rights of way through the site for local farmer.
Maintenance of metalwork
discussion of the appearance of metalwork at the Commission’s sites and problems associated with its maintenance, including changing colour shades at sites, and proposal to use micaceous iron ore paint.
Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees – Appointment of Members;
appointment of new members to the Commonwealth -Belgian, Commonwealth-Italian, Commonwealth- Japanese, and Commonwealth-French Joint Committees.
Unmaintainable Graves – United Kingdom – Acton (St Mary) Church Cemetery, Greater London
approval for the alternative commemoration of one First World War and two Second World War burials in the cemetery on a single special memorial at the same site.
War graves in Russia:
Report from Mr Kennedy on his recent visit to the Soviet Union, including meeting with representatives of the Soviet War Veteran’s Committee, visit to Commission cemeteries in Murmansk and Archangel, discussion about Murmansk New British Cemetery with conclusion that investigations during this visit proved that it no longer existed, and the casualties buried there would be commemorated on the Brookwood (Russia) Memorial.
Report of visit to Normandy and Belgium by Sir Robert Ford, who commented how grateful he was for the opportunity to visit Normandy and the places he had landed with his regiment during the war, and noting that three of the cemeteries he had visited were in places where he had personally fought, with personal comments on his experience and specific reference to Jerusalem War Cemetery where he had witnessed his tank gunner had been killed
Report of the recent visit to war cemeteries in Beirut by the Area Horticultural Officer, noting that the Beirut 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 cemeteries had been occupied by units of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), who had fortified them with trenches and mortar positions and had caused significant damage to headstones and walls
Note that all plans for the Hill 62 Museum of Peace at Zillebeke had been abandoned due to lack of funds; discussions underway for successor as Secretary and Director-General of Mr Pallot; Gardener’s Service at Westminster Abbey; departure of Miss Baker (shorthand writer) who was attending her last Commission Meeting
Air Chief Marshal Sir John Barraclough KCB CBE DFC AFC FRSA (Vice-chairman of the Commission) in the Chair
Sir Arthur Hockaday KCB CMG, Representing the Secretary of State for Defence
Mr R A Gomme, Representing the Minister of Housing and Construction
Mr G A Cowley, Representing the High Commissioner for Canada
Mr R H Robertson, Representing the High Commissioner for Australia
Group Captain B P Bygate, Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand
Mr A E van Niekerk, Representing the Ambassador of South Africa
Brigadier V Madan VSM, Representing the High Commissioner for India
Sir Robert Black GCMG OBE
Sir John Winnifrith KCB
Lord Wallace of Coslany
General Sir Robert Ford GCB CBE
Mr A K Pallot CMG, Director-General
Mr Peter A Scott BSc FICE, Honorary Consulting Engineer
Professor J P M Brenan MA BSc FLS FIBiol VMH, Honorary Botanical Adviser
Mr A S Laing CBE 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 J B Paton NDH, Director of Horticulture
Mr P H M Swan, Director of External Relations
Mr S G Campbell MC, Director of Information Services
Mr W J Symons, Chief Finance Officer
Mr N B Osborn, Organisation and Audit Office
Mr D Kennedy, Director, Outer Area
Mr J P Gee, Secretariat