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Announcement of the death of the Hon Donald C Jamieson PC on 19th November, a member of the Commission during his term of office as Canadian High Commissioner in London from 1983 to 1985.
Appointment of Mr Derek Volker, Secretary to the Department of Veterans' Affairs, Canberra, to Secretary to the Department of Social Security, Canberra; and note that Sir Donald Maitland had been appointed Deputy Chairman of the Independent Broadcasting Authority.
Award of the Royal Horticultural Society's Long Service Medal to Mr T S W King MBE, Senior Horticultural Officer at Head Office who had recently retired, for 40 consecutive years of service in horticulture with one employer.
Matters arising from the minutes of the 566th Meeting:
Including reference to the threat to Rangoon War Cemetery from possible annexation of land by the Burmese Government for development, and the potential financial costs to the Commission should graves need to be moved; a progress report on restoration work to the ceiling of the Runnymede Memorial.
Approval of Annual Estimates of Expenditure 1986 -87 (Revised) and 1987-88:
with explanation for the increase in the revised estimate for 1986-87 over the approved estimate, with particular reference to the variability of exchange rates for the Commission's foreign currency requirements
Report of the 606th Meeting of the Finance Committee:
Adoption and approval of recommendations of the Report of the 606th Meeting of the Finance Committee
Proposed War Graves Agreement with the German Democratic Republic:
Report on the progress of the Proposed War Graves Agreement with the German Democratic Republic, which centred on the details of maintenance of the Commonwealth war burials in the Sudwestfriedhof at Stahnsdorf
Agency of the Commission in Tanzania:
Report on the status of the Agency of the Commission in Tanzania, with the observations of the Secretary from his recent visit and possible changes to its administration, with reaffirmation that the Commission would wish its agency in Tanzania to remain vested in the person the office of the Prime Minister
Disturbance of Remains at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand:
Clarification of the reported incident of disturbance of remains at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand, with note that 8 graves had been inadvertently disturbed due to the installation of a reticulation system in the cemetery, but that volume of criticism voiced in the media had not been echoed by the next-of-kin of those buried in the cemetery.
Report of the Third Meeting of the Commonwealth-Danish Joint Committee:
Report of the successful Third Meeting of the Commonwealth - Danish Joint Committee, noting the proposal to site historical notices in Danish cemeteries containing Commonwealth war burials, and that there had been a showing of the Commission film "I Will Make You A Name" followed by remembrance ceremonies held at the Danish War Memorial in Copenhagen and at the Commission's plot in Copenhagen (Bispebjerg) Cemetery
Commonwealth- Foreign Joint Committees: Appointment of Members:
Approval of the five new appointments to the Joint Committees, including Senator Taviani to the Commonwealth-Italian Joint Committee
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Superannuation Scheme (1952):
Approval of amendments to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Superannuation Scheme (1952) and discussion of the proposal to appoint Charterhouse Investment Management Limited as their investment advisers and managers;
Burial and Commemorations:
including approvals of the alternative commemoration in the United Kingdom of eighteen war dead and the classification as "not within the Commission's control" of fifteen war graves in the United Kingdom;
Schedule of Documents Executed by or on Behalf of the Commission
Tours by Commissioners and Head Office Officials:
Report by the Secretary of his tour in Egypt, Kenya and Tanzania in October and November, noting his attendance at the annual tripartite ceremony on the anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein, which was held at the German mausoleum, and which was preceded by a service at El Alamein War Cemetery which was attended by several hundred people including a pilgrimage of war widows and members of a battlefield tour group; comment that maintenance of sites in Egypt was of high standard, including Tel El Kebir War Cemetery which showed noticeable improvement; reference to varying standards of maintenance of sites in Kenya and Tanzania, with Nanyuki and Nairobi War Cemetery singled out as being in excellent state, but Thika War Cemetery noted as being in a neglected condition; attendance at Remembrance Sunday service at Dar-es-Salaam War Cemetery, and note of poor condition of Dodoma Cemetery.
Sir Donald Maitland spoke of his visit to Kenya in September on other business, where he had found time to visit three cemeteries - Gilgil War Cemetery where work was in progress, Nyeri War Cemetery where he found the entrance padlocked to keep out cattle and vandals, and Thika War Cemetery which he also found to be in poor condition
Note that in November the President had paid an unscheduled visit to Delhi War Cemetery, noting serious corrosion on many of the headstones, which were due to be replaced
Note that Sir John Gingell had visited some of the smaller Commission cemeteries to the south of Arras while on holiday in France, noting an intrusion of weeds in many sites which shared boundaries with nearby properties
The Chairman spoke of his recent visits to Commission sites in Greece and Turkey, noting the extent to which the Commission was reliant on its local supervisors who worked in remote locations such as the Gallipoli peninsula. He had also recently visited sites in Yorkshire in the vicinity of Leeds, Bradford and Harrogate, specifically requesting to be shown some problematic sites and commenting that many suffered from neglect due to the limited resources available to the local authorities maintaining them
Mr Osborn spoke of his visit to the Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar and South Africa in October and November, noting that the panels on the Seychelles Memorial were fractured and needed replacing, that Diego Suarez War Cemetery was neat and tidy but that some headstones had been chipped in the course of grass-mowing, and he had been accompanied by the Secretary of the South African Agency on his tour of a cross-section of the types of sites to be fund in South Africa, conditions ranging from good to fair.
Note that the British High Commissioner to Singapore had read the passage from the Funeral Oration of Pericles at the annual Remembrance Service at Kranji War Cemetery, following the President’s example at the ceremony at the Thiepval Memorial to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme; and notice that on the 15 November, with military help, gardeners at Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery in Burma had removed three anti-personnel mines previously placed in the cemetery
including report of the threat to Mosul War Cemetery, Iraq from a road-widening scheme, with potentially 50-100 graves affected, and that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had asked the British Embassy to consult missions of other member governments to press for a diversion of the road; reported that it was the wish of the widow of the former Secretary and Director-General William Chalmers CB CVO CBE that the insignia of his honours and decorations should be presented to the Commission; farewell to Mr L H Evans who had represented the Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa and would shortly be leaving to take up an appointment in Pretoria; note on the Remembrance Day Broadcast which this year had been given by Sir Harry Secombe CBE.
Admiral Sir David Williams GCB DL (Vice-Chairman of the Commission) in the Chair
Sir Edward Gardner QC MP
General Sir Robert Ford GCB CBE
Sir Donald Maitland GCMG OBE
Air Chief Marshal Sir John Gingell GBE KCB
Captain Sir Miles Wingate KCVO
Major General Desmond Smith CBE DSO CD
The RT HON J D Concannon MP
Mr J M Stewart (Representing the Secretary of State for Defence in the United Kingdom)
Mr R A Gomme (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 (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
Mr N D Walter (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
Mr L H Evans (Representing the Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa)
Professor E A Bell PhD FLS CChem FRSC (Honorary Botanical Adviser)
Sir Arthur Hockaday KCB CMG, Director-General
Also in attendance:
Mr A Clarke AM RFD ED (Director, Office of Australian War Graves)
Mr J Saynor JP (Assistant Secretary, Deputy Director-General (Administration))
Mr W J Symons OBE (Assistant Secretary, Deputy Director-General (Operations))
Mr N B Osborn FRICS (Director of Works)
Mr G C Reddie (Legal Adviser and Solicitor)
Mr D Kennedy (Director of Personnel)
Mr R J Dalley (Director of Secretariat)
Mr M S Johnson ACMA (Director of Finance)
Mr P J Noakes BSc(Hort) (Director of Horticulture)
Mr H Mackay (Senior Executive Officer (Secretariat))
Mr S T Bell (Secretariat)