|Content Note||Topics covered:|
Announcement of the death in service of Mr George Ioannides, Gardener at Mikra British Cemetery, Greece; of Mr Jaabar Sa'adoun, a Gardener of the Baghdad Mobile Group, Iraq; of Mr Abdel Razek Raslan, a Gardener at Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Libya; of Mr Maung Toe Maung, a Gardener at Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Burma; and of Mr Mohamed Sherif Bagher, General Clerk in the North Africa Area office, Cairo.
Announcement of the award to Mr Reg Pluck, a Gardener Caretaker (1st Class) in France, who had recently retired, of the Royal Horticultural Society's Long Service (bronze) medal for 40 consecutive years of service in horticulture with the Commission
Announcement that the Warrant appointing Mr Concannon as a Commissioner in succession to Lord Wallace had been issued
The Commission’s Administrative Organisation:
agreement that Sir Arthur Hockaday remain in post as Secretary and Director-General until 31 October 1989.
Matters arising from the Minutes of the 565th Meeting:
including note that the Treasury’s acquiescence in the decisions of the last meeting clearly placed the onus of demonstrating efficiency on the Commission following the Policy Review and Financial Management Survey by the UK Treasury; and report that the Protection of Military Remains Act had entered the statute books in a form acceptable to the Commission; and that the Commission were able to recover some reimbursements of the costs it had incurred in its representations against the London Docklands Railway (City Extension) Bill.
Annual Report 1985-86 and Statement of Accounts of the Commission:
approval of the annual report with note that it would be available in October, and approval of the Statement of Accounts, with note that the under expenditure on structural maintenance was mainly due to the delays in letting contracts for repairs to the pergola at Kirkee War Cemetery, India and for the rehabilitation of Maala Cemetery, South Yemen
Corporate Plan 1987-90:
approval of the draft Corporate Plan 1987 -90, with a note that the document was brief because the Commission's objectives could not be set out in the same way as those of an industrial or commercial organisation and they were now essentially static objectives of maintenance, and comments from Mr Blelloch that future corporate plans would likely contain a greater commitment of expenditure to structural maintenance as natural stonework deteriorated.
Imperial War Graves Endowment Find: Trustees’ Powers of Investment – Modification of Trust Deed:
approval of the proposals and the forms of wording to amend The Imperial War Graves Endowment Fund Trust Deed, designed to give additional discretion to the Trustees, enabling them to operate more effectively in a more complex investment market;
Report of the 605th Meeting of the Finance Committee:
adoption of report of the Finance Committee, with comments regarding the proposal to forward purchase foreign currency which had received favourable responses from four member governments, but that replies from two others were still awaited; and update on the redecoration of the ceiling of the Runnymede Memorial, with the Finance Committee recommending the lowest tender for the work, and note that some of the work had already been started to allow the gilding could be carried out before the onset of winter
Burials and Commemorations:
update with approval of the alternative commemoration in the United Kingdom of ten unmaintainable war dead graves, with explanation of reasons for the need for alternative commemoration being outlined
Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees: Appointment of Members:
approval of appointments to the various joint Committees
Schedule of Documents Executed by or on behalf of the Commission:
confirmation of the action for the execution of documents, including reference and explanation for the Commission currently renting two separate premises as offices for the Local Supervisor in Turkey;
Threat to Rangoon War Cemetery:
Wide-ranging discussion on the paper outlining situation regarding Rangoon War Cemetery and the intention of the Burmese government to annex the land occupied by the cemetery for development purposes, including references to the Geneva Convention and Protocols, offer from Burmese government of alternate land at Taukkyan but not for full reimbursement of the costs of exhumation and transfer of burials, comment on the danger to the Commission should this set a precedent, and discussion on whether services in kind could be accepted if full costs not forthcoming, with conclusion by the Chairman that member governments should communicate their views as soon as possible;
Tours by Commissioners and Head Office Officials:
including notes of the Secretary's visits to central Italy, Romania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Greece where it was noted that these hot a dry regions presented problems for water supply; and with specific comments on the outstanding standards at Phaleron War Cemetery, Greece and Florence War Cemetery and others in Italy; staff problems at Suda Bay War Cemetery, Crete and Belgrade War Cemetery, Yugoslavia (where standards had only been made acceptable by deployment of a team of gardeners under the Local Supervisor from Salonika); and general comments on the need for enrichment of soil, review of border planting schemes, and development of management skills in the field in these areas.
report on Mr Osborn's tour of the North-Eastern District of United Kingdom Area, undertaken as part of a routine-monitoring of structural maintenance, with note that the cleanliness of headstones was generally below acceptable standards and that many sites had also suffered vandalism, but note that the formation of a works team in Leamington four years ago had helped reduce the backlog of structural repair and that with the recruitment of staff the commitment should now be kept under control
update including the Chairman's report of the well -attended ceremony at the Thiepval Memorial on 1 July to mark the 70th anniversary of the opening of the Battle of the Somme, which he had attended together with the President, the Chairman and representatives of Commissioners and staff.; also note that His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, who would be attending World Wildlife Fund functions in Assisi, Italy, planned to visit Assisi War Cemetery to lay a wreath; it was hoped that the President of the Commission would be able to visit Luxembourg (Hollerich) Communal Cemetery while attending a British trade exhibition; the Chairman expressed the hope that as many Commissioners and their representatives as possible would be able to attend the Gardeners' Service in Westminster Abbey on 7 November; and it was noted that this year's Remembrance Day Broadcast would be given by Sir Harry Secombe.
70th Anniversary of the Commission:
outline of some of the proposals under consideration for marking the 70th Anniversary of the Commission in 1987, which included an expanded edition of the Annual Report, a larger than usual Gardener’s Service, collaboration in the production of a television documentary, a special approach to youth and schools, and the introduction of a Commission tie and scarf
Reference was made to the retirement of Mr Philip Matthew from the appointment of Deputy Director-General after fourteen years of service with the Commission; notification of the transfer of Mr L J W Ludbrook from the New Zealand High Commission in London to a home posting; announcement of the retirement at the end of the month of Lord Wallace of Coslany who was one of the two longest-serving members of the Commission, and presentation to him of a copy of Philip Longworth's history of the Commission, "The Unending Vigil", which had been signed by the President.
Admiral Sir David Williams, GCB, DL ((Vice-Chairman of the Commission) in the Chair))
Mr J N H Blelloch, CB (Representing the Secretary of State for Defence in the United Kingdom)
Mr M O'Sullivan (Representing the Secretary of State for the Environment in the United Kingdom)
Mr J Rowsome (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
Mr A L Vincent (Acting High Commissioner for Australia)
Mr L J W Ludbrook (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
Mr L H Evans (Representing the Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa)
The Lord Wallace of Coslany
General Sir Robert Ford, GCB, CBE
Professor The Baroness McFarlane of Llandaff
Captain Sir Miles Wingate, KCVO
Major General Desmond Smith, CBE, DSO, CD
Sir Arthur Hockaday, KCB, CMG, Director-General
Also in attendance:
The Rt. Hon. J D Concannon, MP
Mr P R Matthew, CBE, Assistant Secretary, Deputy Director-General
Mr W J Symons, OBE, Assistant Secretary, Assistant Director-General (Operations)
Mr N B Osborn, FRICS, Director of Works
Mr G C Reddie, Legal Adviser and Solicitor
Mr D Kennedy, Establishment Officer
Mr R J Dalley, Director of Secretariat
Mr M S Johnson ACMA, Chief Finance Officer
Mr P J Noakes, BSc(Hort) , Director of Horticulture
Mr H Mackay, Senior External Relations Officer
Mr S T Bell, (Secretariat)