Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/563
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.563 - December 1985


DescriptionMinutes of the 563rd Meeting of the Commission.
Content NoteTopics covered:

announcement of the recent deaths of Professor Patrick Brenan, the Commission's Honorary Botanical Adviser from 1978 to 1982, and of Mr Bill McNiven, Senior Executive Officer at Head Office, who was the son of a Commission Works Officer and who had joined the staff of the Commission as a pupil gardener in France in 1955;

New Zealand High Commissioner:
the Chairman welcomed His Excellency Mr Bryce Harland who had taken up his appointment in October as New Zealand High Commissioner and was attending a meeting of the Commission for the first time;

Commission Staff:
the Chairman welcomed Mr Philip Noakes, Director of Horticulture; Mr John Jones, Deputy Establishment Officer, and Mr Stephen Bell who was succeeding Mr Benton in the Secretariat;

Honours and Awards:
announcement of the appointment in October of the Commission's President as a Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter; that Mr Peter Swan, until recently the Commission's Director of External Relations, had been presented with the Gold Medal of the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgraberfursorge (the German War Graves Commission); and that Mr John Paton, who had retired recently as Director of Horticulture, had been awarded the Associateship of Honour of the Royal Horticultural Society;

appointment of Air Chief Marshal Sir John Gingell as a Commissioner by Royal Warrant.

Matters arising from the minutes of the 562nd Meeting of the Commission:
minutes of the 562nd Meeting of the Commission were agreed and signed, and a number of matters arising were noted including the approval of the adjustment of the period covered by the Annual Report which would now cover a 12 month period from 1st August to 31st July; and note taken of change of Membership of the Commission so that henceforth the Secretary of State for the Environment, rather than the Minister for Housing and Construction, should take the place on the Commission assigned by the 1964 Supplemental Charter to the Minister of Public Building and Works;

Annual Estimates of Expenditure 1985/86 (Revised) and 1986/87:
approval of a revised estimate of net expenditure during the financial year 1985/86, note being made that no further funds need be requested from member governments during 1985/86, and approval of an estimate for net expenditure during the financial year 1986/87 and an invitation to member governments to provide a sum in the financial year 1986/87 in order to fund the estimated·expenditure and restore the working balance, with particular mention of the release of funds to the Commission for the sale of land at the rear of the former workshops in Arras, and allocation of funds to repairs and maintenance at Arras and Runnymede and the refurbishment and cleaning of the Menin Gate;

Proposed Parapet Wall at Etaples Military Cemetery:
approval for the construction of the proposed parapet wall, to be made out of Savonnieres limestone blocks, on the terrace of the memorial at Etaples Military Cemetery in order to protect the public from risk of serious accident;

Report of the 602nd Meeting of the Finance Committee:
adoption of the Report of the 602nd Meeting of the Finance Committee and approval of its recommendations, including the setting of the establishment of staff for the financial year 1986/87 to 1263, the raising of the limit of the Director-General's delegated powers to authorise individual items of expenditure, and the rationalisation of remuneration for manual staff serving overseas by removing the London Weighting element from pay and increasing Local Allowance to compensate for this;

Burials and Commemorations:
approval of the alternative commemoration of 5 war dead buried in the UK in the following cemeteries; East Haddon Cemetery, Northamptonshire; Llancarfan (Bethlehem) Welsh Baptist Chapelyard, South Glamorgan; and Walker (Christ Church) Churchyard, Tyne and Wear; approval of the alternative commemoration in Egypt of one war dead buried in Cairo Civil International Cemetery; and approval of the classification as "not within the Commission's control" of 24 war graves in the United Kingdom;

Exhumations and Reburials – Malawi:
the Commission took note of the report of the exhumations and reburial at Karonga in Malawi of twelve Commonwealth and six German war dead, with note that a ceremony had been held at Karonga where symbolically the remains of one British, one Malawian and one German soldier had been buried with military honours, and wreaths had been laid by representatives from the Malawian Army, the British High Commission and the German Embassy;

Execution of documents:
confirmation of the execution of a number of documents by the Commission;

Appointment to Finance Committee:
appointment of Admiral Sir David Williams GCB DL to be a member of the Finance Committee with effect from 1 April 1986;

Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees: Appointment of Members:
approval of Colonel N G S Gray as a member of the Commonwealth-Japanese Joint Committee;

Tours by Commissioners and Head Office Officials:
report by the Chairman of his visit to the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany, with note that he had been joined in the Netherlands and Friesian Islands by the President and Director-General of the Oorlogsgravenstichting (the Netherlands War Graves Foundation), and that he has also called the offices of the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgraberfursorge in Kassel.
report by Sir Robert Ford on his visit to seventeen sites in Greater London, commenting that the visit had been a revelation to see the extent of the problems facing the Commission’s staff in some sites, and making specific mention of the appalling state of Abney Park Cemetery, where he suggested that the resiting of the Cross of Sacrifice and the alternative commemoration of the war burials should be urgently investigated;

the Commission took note of the report of various visits and ceremonies; including the visit by Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne to Khartoum War Cemetery on 9 December, a report on the pilgrimage to the Far East sponsored by the British Government, and a report that the British Ambassador to Finland had spoken at length on the work of the Commission in his Remembrance Day address at the Anglican Church in Helsinki;

Other Business:
including a farewell to Mr Peter Swan on his retirement from his position as Director of External Relations after 15 years’ service with the Commission; the meeting listened to a recording of the Remembrance Day broadcast which this year had been given by Lieutenant-General Aviateur Baron Michel Donnet, a member of the Commonwealth-Belgian Joint Committee; and record was made of the Commission's appreciation of all those who had helped in its task in 1985, especially staff, member governments and diplomatic missions all over the world, and wished staff a happy Christmas season and a successful year in 1986.

Air Chief Marshall Sir John Barraclough KCB CBE DFC AFC FRSA (Vice-Chairman of the Commission) in the Chair
Mr J. N. H. Blelloch CB (Representing the Secretary of State for Defence)
Mr R.A. Gomme (Representing the Secretary of State for the Environment)
Mr J. Rowsome (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
Mr A.L. Vincent (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
His Excellency Mr Bryce Harland (High Commissioner for New Zealand)
Mr L.H. Evans (Representing the Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa)
Brigadier S. Nambiar VrC (Representing the High Commissioner for the Republic of India)
Sir Edward Gardner QC MP
The Lord Wallace of Coslany
Sir Edward Goschen Bt DSO
Admiral Sir David Williams GCB DL
General Sir Robert Ford GCB CBE
Sir David Muirhead KCMG CVO
Sir Donald Maitland GCMG OBE
Professor The Baroness McFarlane of Llandaff

Professor E.A. Bell PhD FLS CChem FRSC (Honorary Botanical Adviser)

Sir Arthur Hockaday KCB CMG (Director-General)

Also in attendance:
Mr P.R. Matthew (Assistant Secretary, Deputy Director-General)
Mr J. Saynor JP (Assistant Secretary, Assistant Director-General (Administration))
Mr W.J. Symons OBE (Assistant Secretary, Assistant Director-General (Operations))
Mr P.H. Swan (Senior Principal)
Mr N.B. Osborn FRICS (Director of Works)
Mr G.C. Reddie (Legal Adviser and Solicitor)
Mr R.J. Dalley (Director of Secretariat)
Mr M.S. Johnson ACMA (Chief Finance Officer)
Mr J. Jones (Deputy Establishment Officer)
Mr P.J. Noakes BSc (Hort) (Director of Horticulture)
Mr S.J. Benton (Secretariat)
Mr S.T. Bell (Secretariat)
Date12/12/1985 - 12/12/1985
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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