Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/554
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.554 - September 1983


DescriptionMinutes of the 554th Meeting of the Commission.
Content NoteTopics covered:

Representatives of Official Members:
The Chairman welcomed Mr Dromgoole, Mr Phillips and Major General Clunies-Ross who were representing Commissioners at the meeting for the first time;

The meeting thanked Mr Gee for his work, and welcomed Mr Walker, his successor;

South African Agency:
reported that Mr B A Van der Vyver, Chairman of the South African Agency, had been promoted to be Secretary of the Cape Provincial Administration;

the sudden death of Captain Don Hoy SAN, representative of the Ambassador of South Africa on the Finance Committee, was reported, as was the death of three serving members of staff;

Minutes of the 553rd Meeting of the Commission:
the minutes were agreed and signed, with an amendment with regard the matter of Sutton Veny, after which the following matter arising was noted:
that the details of the Canadian Note relating to the proposed UK-German Democratic Republic were still awaited, with Brigadier Madan stating that he hoped to be able to confirm that action being taken by the Indian Government prior to the visit to East Berlin of Mr. Rifkind;

64th Annual Report and Statement of Accounts of the Commission:
approval of report and statement of accounts, with mention of exchange rate improvements and an underspend due to the fact that staffing reductions had been made earlier and some work and purchases had been postponed – with the surplus being added to the budgeted surplus resulting in the reduction of future contributions by the participating governments; and note that the property account showed a positive balance as expenditure on new properties was mostly complete and that the expected sale of property would realise a future amount;

Rehabilitation of Cemeteries in the Lebanon:
approval of the proposed rehabilitation work on Beirut War Cemetery and Sidon War Cemetery, with caveat that work should not be undertaken on site or expenditure incurred beyond £120,000 if there appeared to be serious risk of further substantial damage;

Unmaintainable Graves in the Republic of Ireland:
approval of the design and construction of a memorial in Grangegorman Military Cemetery to alternatively commemorate 266 casualties buried elsewhere in Ireland whose graves were declared unmaintainable, and further approval for the removal, transport and re-erection of 83 headstones from Cork Military Cemetery to Grangegorman following extensive vandalism of the headstones in Cork

Report of the 594th Meeting of the Finance Committee:
adoption of the report;

Graves not within the Commission’s Control:
presentation of paper and discussion on graves ''not within the Commission's control'' (NWCC), (individual graves marked with private memorials), including consideration of other commemorative options for the Commission for these casualties, such as local commemoration, regional memorials and memorial books, based on a survey of graves in Avon and Dyfed. Reference was also made to the suggestion by Mr Barnard, Director of the Office of Australian War Graves, concerning the Gardens of Remembrance established in state capitals in Australia, and whether something along those lines could be established at Brookwood Cemetery. The views of the Commissioners were sought, and the Secretary undertook to carry out additional surveys in the UK and to consider further the practical implications of the Australian proposal, noting that the major ex-service organisations would also be asked for their views;

Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees – Appointment of Members:
approval of appointees to the Commonwealth-Belgian; Commonwealth-German-French; Commonwealth-Netherlands; and Commonwealth-Thai Joint Committees;

Execution of Documents:
confirmation of execution of documents by the Commission;

Tours by Head Office Officials:
report by Sir Arthur Hockaday on his recent introductory tour of South East Asia and Australasia, mentioning that the New Zealand Prime Minister, Mr Muldoon, had agreed to record the Remembrance Day Service for the BBC; that discussions had been held in Papua New Guinea about the proposed Exchange of Letters; and note that the agency arrangements with both the Office of Australian War Graves and the Department of the Interior in New Zealand were working well, and in turn they had developed good relations with ex-service organisations, but note that particularly in New Zealand, the problem of scattered graves, similar to the situation in the UK, needed careful consideration;

note that the Canadian High Commissioner in London’s visit to France coincided with the Memorial Day for the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel;
Sir John Winnifrith spoke of his recent visit to France and Belgium, commenting that the mobile group system for gardeners was working well, emphasising the importance of the role of Head Gardener, and noting that several name panels at the Menin Gate needed urgent attention. He also spoke of his tour in the United Kingdom Area, noting that some privately owned cemeteries were in a very poor condition, but that the new District Inspector system was functioning satisfactorily;
Sir Edward Goschen spoke of his tour in Italy, noting that the renovation of the cottages occupied by the cemetery caretakers was appreciated, and that the dark green marble panels on the Cassino Memorial had been badly affected by the elements;
General Sir Robert Ford spoke of his tour in Holland and Germany, commenting on how impressed he was at the staff efforts, particularly at Arnhem, to cope with the effects of drought, on evidence of vandalism in Holland (but noting he had found none in Germany), that GOC Berlin had recently visited Stahnsdorf Cemetery and sent a report and photographs to the Commission, and that while in Germany he had spoken with the Commander-in-Chief about the loneliness of some of the Commission gardeners in some of the small cemeteries and as a result a letter had been issued to units of the British Army near to cemeteries asking them to make contact with the gardeners.
The Chairman announced that the President HRH the Duke of Kent would attend the Gardeners' Service on Remembrance Day;

Other Business:
Miss Woodgate and Sir John Winnifrith were attending their last Commission Meeting, and received gifts of a bound “The Unending Vigil”, signed by the President, in recognition of their long service with the Commission.

AIR CHIEF MARSHAL SIR JOHN BARRACLOUGH KCB CBE DFC AFC FRSA (Vice-Chairman of the Commission) in the Chair
MR J DROMGOOLE (Representing the Secretary of State for Defence)
MR M COULSHED (Representing the Minister for Housing and Construction)
MR M PHILLIPS (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
MAJOR GENERAL A CLUNIES-ROSS MBE (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
MR B WOOD (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
MR L H EVANS (Representing the Ambassador of South Africa)
BRIGADIER V MADAN VSM (Representing the High Commissioner for India)

MR PETER SCOTT BSc FICE (Honorary Consultant Engineer)
PROFESSOR E A BELL PhD FLS CChem FRSC (Honorary Botanical Adviser)


Also in attendance:
MR P R MATTHEW (Assistant Secretary, Deputy Director-General)
MR J SAYNOR (Assistant Secretary, Assistant Director-General (Administration))
MR W J SYMONS OBE (Assistant Secretary, Assistant Director-General (Operations))
MR H WESTLAND MIPM (Establishment Officer)
MR P H M SWAN (Director of External Relations)
MR J B PATON NDH (Director of Horticulture)
MR N B OSBORN ARICS (Director of Works)
MR G C REDDIE (Legal Adviser and Solicitor)
MR S G CAMPBELL MC (Director of Information and Secretariat)
MR D KENNEDY (Director, Outer Area)
MR T PENFOLD (Chief Finance Officer)
MR J P GEE (Secretariat)
MR S WALKER (Secretariat)
Date22/9/1983 - 22/9/1983
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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