Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/547
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.547 - December 1981


DescriptionMinutes of the 547th Meeting of the Commission
Content NoteTopics covered:

Appointment of Secretary and Director-General
Appointment of Sir Arthur Patrick Hockaday, KCB, CMG as Secretary and Director-General of the Commission in succession to Mr Arthur Keith Pallot, CB, CMG.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Canada
Mention that the Honourable Bennett Campbell had been appointed Minister for Veterans Affairs in Canada in succession to the Honourable Gilles Lamontagne, who had been acting Minister since the death of Mr MacDonald in September 1980. Mr Campbell thus became the Commission's Canadian Agency.

Deaths of Staff
Mention that Mr Kerstin, the Commission's Supervisor in Tunisia, had been murdered the previous month by one of the local gardeners when on duty in Massicault War Cemetery. His body had been brought back to the United Kingdom and buried in Harrogate War Cemetery. The Director-General and other staff had attended the funeral. Members would also be sorry to hear that 6 other members of staff had died in service; Mr Abdul al Badran in Iraq, Mr Aly Emara and Mr Anwar Morsi Ibrahim in Egypt, Captain Purnabahadur Limbu in India, Mr Gruson in France and Mr Rudd in Belgium.

Minutes of the 546th Meeting of the Commission
Mention that the minutes of the 546th meeting had been circulated, were agreed, and signed by the Chairman.

Update on France Area Accommodation.
Update on reorganisation of horticultural work in France and North West Europe Areas. Sir Robert Black reported on recent visit to Flanders and Holland to view the new organisation of work. Acceptance of arrangements but also some nostalgia among older gardeners who felt there was less proprietorial pride and care as to when they had ‘their’ cemeteries. Sense of belonging to the mobile group needed to encourage morale. The Chairman agreed that judgement of the results of the reorganisation had to be reserved. The use of modern chemical treatments yet to be proven.

Estimates 1982-1983
Discussion of the paper presented at the meeting with following resolutions:
a) That the Revised Estimate of Expenditure for the financial year 1981/82 is approved at £10,507,045.
b) That the Estimate of Expenditure for the financial year 1982/83 is approved at £11,799,425.

Acquisition of Adjoining Property at Beaurains, Arras
Discussion about arguments in favour of purchasing additional land at Arras, with resolution that the purchase of the whole of the property adjoining the eastern side of the new France Area premises at Beaurains, Arras at auction or by negotiation, provided the cost does not exceed £75,000, is approved.

Christmas and New Year Holiday
Discussion regarding proposals recommended by the Finance Committee that from 1982 onwards, staff in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany should be allowed the 2 or 3 days additional leave necessary to arrange for a continuous holiday period from Christmas Day to New Year's Day inclusive.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Superannuation Scheme (1952) – Amendments to Rules
Mention of proposed amendments to the Rules followed recent amendments to the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme. Resolution that the Trustees of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Superannuation Scheme (1952) be authorised and requested to make such modifications, alterations or additions to the Rules of the Scheme as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions set out in the Paper at Item 7.

Report of the 588th Finance Committee Meeting
Items 6 and 7 were routine ones which appeared each year at the December Meeting following the approval of the Estimates and gave authority for the increased expenditure.
Item 8 sought approval for the Establishment of Staff for 1982/83 and the figure of 1,335 showed a reduction of 49 on 1981/82.
Items 9 and 10 were straightforward pay increases in line with outside analogues.
Item 11 always appeared at the December Meeting and concerned increases for the few remaining pensions of the 1926 Superannuation Scheme.
Item 12 concerned the next phase of the approved programme of work in refacing the Thiepval Memorial.
Item 13 concerned the provision of an additional underground water tank at El Alamein War Cemetery.
Item 14 detailed the writing off of £1,731, in relation to the Commission’s work in Libya.

Service Cemeteries, Malta
Update on meeting with Maltese authorities, general coverage of election in Malta, and discussion regarding British, Australian, French, German, Italian, Czech and Japanese graves in cemeteries in Malta.

Unmaintainable Graves in the Republic of Ireland
Discussion regarding the situation and difficulties of maintenance of war graves in Ireland, with resolution that the 267 Commonwealth war graves in the sites in the Republic of Ireland listed in Appendices A and B, and in Cork Military Cemetery be declared to be unmaintainable, that proposals for alternative commemoration in Grangegorman Cemetery, Dublin, be discussed with the Irish Office of Public Works and that the Commission headstones on these graves with the exception of those in Cork Military Cemetery be allowed to remain but should no longer be maintained.

Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees: Appointment of Members
Commonwealth-Belgian Joint Committee:
His Excellency Mr S S Puri (Indian Ambassador, Brussels)
Commonwealth-German-French Joint Committee:
Dr Friedrich Kroneck (Head of Labour and Social Law Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Commonwealth-Japanese Joint Committee:
Mr Kenichi Matsumoto (Director, Second West Europe Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Colonel D K Baker J (Defence and Military Attaché, Australian Embassy, Tokyo)
Commonwealth-Netherlands Joint Committee:
His Excellency Dr D A Kotze (South African Ambassador, The Hague)

Unmaintainable Graves - East Ham (St Mary Magdalene) Churchyard, Greater London
Discussion and resolution that the proposal to commemorate the 47 burials of the 1914-1918 War and the 13 burials of the 1939-45 War in East Ham (St Mary Magdalene) Churchyard, Greater London, by the erection of a stone plaque in the church porch, is approved.

Unmaintainable Graves - Nunhead (All Saints) Cemetery, Camberwell, Greater London
Discussion and resolution that the proposal to re-commemorate 522 burials of the 1914-1918 War and 32 burials of the 1939-1945 War in Nunhead (All Saints) Cemetery, Camberwell, Greater London, by the erection of a new memorial and the extension of the existing screen wall respectively, is approved.

Graves Not Within The Commission’s Control – United Kingdom
Discussion regarding graves covered by definition, mention that they were marked by private memorials. Also refers to distinction between these graves and those in Ireland. Resolution that the classification as not within the Commission's control of the 44 war graves enumerated in Supplementary List No 22 of war graves in the United Kingdom recommended for classification as 'not within the Commission's control', submitted by the Secretary and signed by him on each page for identification, is approved.

Execution of Documents
Resolution that the action for the execution by the Commission or on its behalf of the documents Serial Nos Part I 574 and Part 11 187 to 190, referred to in the Schedule now laid before the Meeting and signed for identification by the Commission's Legal Adviser and Solicitor is confirmed.

Update on the Chairman’s summer tour of Brittany and Normandy, including comments about the reaction of his younger children to visiting the war cemeteries and difficulty locating war graves in communal cemeteries, particularly Lorient (Kerentrech) Communal Cemetery. Also refers to concrete pergolas at Tilly-sur-Seule War Cemetery, industrial background at the Bayeux Memorial, as well as visit to Ranville War Cemetery and the Arromanches Museum.
Comments about Mr Gardner’s special visit to Omaha beach and visit to the United States with a Parliamentary delegation.
Comments from Mr Gandar about his visit to Bulford and Codford St Mary New Churchyard, which on the signpost was called an Australian War Cemetery. Mentions he had taken several photographs of New Zealand graves and had sent them back to the Returned Services Association magazine in New Zealand.
Comments from Sir Arthur Hockaday about Mr Nott’s visits to Heliopolis War Cemetery and Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, including that Mr Nott had been deeply impressed by the great care shown in the maintenance of the war graves at both cemeteries. Comments that Kanchanaburi was particularly moving and whilst there had been presented with a small model of the Kwai Bridge, and also mentions one of the journalists covering the Secretary of State's visit had been personally interested because his father had worked on the Death Railway as a prisoner of war.

Other Business
Brief update on the topic of HMS Edinburgh and allegations made in the Sunday Times.
Mention by the Chairman that the Director-General would be on a tour in Africa during January and February and then would be entering hospital for a short spell. As a consequence, he would be unable to attend the March Meeting. In his absence the Deputy Director-General would function in the usual way.

Air Chief Marshal Sir John Barraclough KCB CBE DFC AFC FRSA (Vice-Chairman of the Commission) , in the Chair
Sir Arthur Hockaday KCB CMG (except during Item 1) (Representing the Secretary of State for Defence)
Mr R A Gomme (Representing the Minister for Housing and Construction)
Mr G A Cowley (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
Mr R H Robertson (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
His Excellency The Hon. L W Gandar (High Commissioner for New Zealand)
Mr A E van Niekerk (Representing the Ambassador of South Africa)
Lt Col D S Vasudev (Representing the High Commissioner for India)
Sir Robert Black GCMG OBE
Miss J Woodgate CBE RRC
Sir John Winnifrith KCB
Mr Edward Gardner QC MP
Sir Edward Goschen Bt DSO
Admiral Sir David Williams GCB
General Sir Robert Ford GCB CBE

Mr A K Pallot CB CMG (Director-General)

Mr Peter A Scott BSc FICE (Honorary Consulting Engineer)
Professor Sir Peter Shepheard CBE BArch PPRIBA MRTPI PPILA (Honorary Artistic Adviser)
Professor J P M Brenan BSc FLS FIBiol VMH (Honorary Botanical Adviser)

There were also present (except during Item 1):
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 H Westland MIPM (Establishment Officer)
Mr S G Campbell MC (Director of Information Services)
Mr W J Symons (Chief Finance Officer)
Mr D Kennedy (Director, Outer Area)
Mr J P Gee (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.
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