Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/568
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.568 - March 1987


DescriptionMinutes of the 568th Meeting of the Commission
Content NoteTopics covered:

Announcement of the death in service of Mr J G Peet, Gardener Caretaker (1st Class) in France after 36 years of service;

Reported that Mr Rae Killen, Director-General of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pretoria, had been appointed South African Ambassador in London in succession to Dr Denis Worrall; that Mr David Broadbent had been appointed Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada in succession to Mr Pierre Sicard; that Mr Noel Tanzer had been appointed Secretary of the Department of Veterans' Affairs in Australia in succession to Mr Derek Volker; that Mr Peter Boag had been appointed Secretary of Internal Affairs in New Zealand in succession to Mr Ted Babe; and that Mr Roger Farrell had been appointed Deputy High Commissioner for New Zealand in London in succession to Mr Neil Walter;

Reorganisation of Veterans Affairs Canada:
Reported that with effect from 1 January, responsibility within Veterans Affairs Canada for the Canadian government's dealings with the Commission had been transferred from the Pensions, Health and Social Programs Branch in Charlottetown to the recently created Field Operations Branch in Ottawa;

Honours and Awards:
Reported that Mr Gordon Cheater, Director of Outer Area, had been awarded an OBE; that Mr Bob Simpson, Director of North Africa Area, had been awarded an MBE; and that Mr Jack Radford, resident Head Gardener (1st Class) at the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, had been awarded the British Empire Medal. Mr Alfred White, Senior Head Gardener in North West Europe Area, and his brother Mr Wilfred White, a Gardener Caretaker (1st Class) also in North West Europe Area, had both been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's medal for 40 years' continuous service to horticulture with one employer;

Matters Arising from the Minutes of the 567th Meeting:
Update on issues concerning threats to Rangoon War Cemetery from development; update on status of the Proposed War Graves Agreement with the German Democratic Republic with the hope that the War Graves Agreement and the maintenance agreement would be signed simultaneously in April; update on threat to Mosul War Cemetery from a proposed road-widening scheme; report of changes to the administration of the Commission's Agency in Tanzania; appointment of Charterhouse Investment Management Ltd as investment advisers to the Superannuation Scheme;

Status of the Commission:
Report on discussions with the Treasury Solicitor on the Status of the Commission and whether the Commission constituted a Crown body. The Treasury Solicitor concurred with the view of the Commission that the Commission was not a Crown body and did not have Crown status;

Commission Tie:
Approval of the proposed design for a special Commission tie in blue, featuring the design of the seal of the Commission in gold, for sale to present and former members of staff and Commissioners at cost price, with deferment of decision regarding a design in a second colour, and whether an alternative design could be offered to ‘friends of the Commission”, and further investigation as to whether there was demand for a Commission scarf for female members of staff;

Report of the 607th Meeting of the Finance Committee:
Adoption and approval of recommendations contained in the report of the 607th Meeting of the Finance Committee, including the effects to the Superannuation Scheme and the Endowment Fund from recent alterations in operational methods at the London Stock Exchange affecting the way investment organisations charged for their services; and agreement that the price for the supply and shipment of Botticino headstones from a long-standing supplier in Italy was reasonable;

Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees: Appointment of Members:
Approval of appointment of members to Joint Committees, including three new appointments to the Commonwealth-Thai Joint Committee;

Maintenance of War Cemeteries, Graves and Memorials in the United Kingdom:
Presentation to the meeting of guidelines designed to improve conditions and maintenance standards in the UK by establishing minimum acceptable standards;

Burials and Commemorations:
Approval of alternative commemoration for seven war dead in the United Kingdom; including reference to a particular case where the brother of a casualty had consistently refused consent for the Commission to erect a headstone over the grave as the Commission had refused to accept the personal inscription that he had wished to inscribe;

Annual Report of Exhumations and Reinterments: 1986.
Mention that the Commission took note of the report;

Tour by Commissioners and Head Office Officials:
Summary of recent tours by Commissioners and Head Office Officials, including comments from the Chairman about his recent tours in India, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand, which had been conducted in order to make contact with representatives of member governments and ministers and officials from host governments. Specific mentions of visits to sites in Delhi, Bombay, Poona, Calcutta, Kohima (where it was noted that a recent landslide posed a danger to the cemetery and might require the construction of a buttress on one side of the site), Rangoon, Taukkyan, Thanbyuzayat (where the Burmese Army had provided a large wreath, which the Chairman laid in the presence of two buglers playing the Last Post), Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne.

Report from the Secretary on his recent visit to Tunisia and Algeria, with comments about the condition of the sites and outlining the three key problems affecting them: scarcity of water in some sites or inadequate distribution equipment in others; decline in the calibre of staff in recent years due to a number of retirements, with not all of the replacement staff yet adequately trained; and the uncertain legal status of the Commission in both countries

Report by Mr Osborn on his recent visit to Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia, undertaken to assess standards of structural maintenance and to examine some specific problems of recent development, including reference to the reconstruction of features in cemetery site sin Papua New Guinea following earthquake damage suffered in 1984, and reference to the discolouration of white Ulam headstones in Port Moresby and Sydney due to the effects of a fungal growth

Comments from Mr Noakes about his recent visit to Egypt, including specific reference to Halfaya Sollum and Aswan cemeteries and problems with the horticulture at both sites due to a shortage of water, with Professor Bell suggesting that Japanese pebble garden methods using drought resistant plants might be considered at the sites

Confirmation by the Chairman that the visit of Her Excellency Madame Jeanne Sauve, Governor-General of Canada, to sites in Hong Kong, had taken place; and announcement by the Chairman that it was the intention of the Commission's Chairman to take the Chair at the next meeting on 24 June, marking the 70th anniversary of its formation;

Other Business:
Notice of a press report which had appeared in the Observer about the threat to two cemeteries in northern France near the proposed Channel Tunnel; notice of the Warrant of Appointment of His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, dated 1937, which had recently been presented to the Commission by his son, the present Duke of Gloucester; and notice of the increased rent for the proposed new office accommodation for Western Mediterranean Area within the Villa Wolkonsky in Rome.

Admiral Sir David Williams GCB DL (Vice-Chairman of the Commission) in the Chair
General Sir Robert Ford GCB CBE
Sir Donald Maitland GCMG OBE
Air Chief Marshall 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 De Goede (Charge d'Affaires, Embassy of the Republic of South Africa)
Mr J M Stewart (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 L B Maher (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
Mr J Rowsome (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
Brigadier S Nambiar VrC (Representing the High Commissioner for the Republic of India)
Mr R Kirikiri (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)

Professor E A Bell PhD FLS CChem FRSC, Honorary Botanical Adviser

Sir Arthur Hockaday KCB CMG, Director-General

Also in attendance:
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 D R Parker, Director of Management Services
Mr P J Noakes BSc(Hort) , Director of Horticulture
Mr H Mackay, Senior Executive Officer (Secretariat)
Mr S T Bell, Secretariat
Date18/3/1987 - 18/3/1987
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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