Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/570
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.570 - September 1987


DescriptionMinutes of the 570th Meeting of the Commission
Content NoteTopics covered:

Deaths announced of Mr Karl-Heinz Franz, gardener at Becklingen War Cemetery, and Brigadier A E M Brown CMG OBE, retired member of the Commission’s Australian staff, who had played a leading part in the formation of the Commission’s Anzac Agency in 1946, and had been its first Secretary-General;

Reported that Mr Elson Manyika succeeded Mr W G Bolster as Secretary to the Commission’s Zimbabwe Agency;

It was reported that the British Empire Medal had been awarded to Mr Tan Chuan Seng (Group Supervisor at Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore) and Signor Raimondo Aloia (Head Gardener at Salerno War Cemetery). The Royal Horticultural Society’s Long Service Medal had been awarded to Mr Gerard Lee BEM (Sector Supervisor in France), Mr Edgar Blake and Mr Peter Grant (Senior Head Gardeners in Belgium) and Mr Robert Smallcombe (Gardener-Caretaker 1st Class in France);

Matters arising from the minutes of the 569th meeting:
It was reported that the Iraqi government had been very co-operative in working on the plans for the alterations to Mosul War Cemetery, and would supply labour for the exhumation and reinterment of burials, which would be supervised by Commission staff;

Annual Report 1986-87 and Statement of Accounts of the Commission:
Approval of the Annual Report and Statement of Accounts, with note that the annual report would be published in November; and that the current underspend would be called on in the next year to cover salary increases in the UK, additional costs for the superannuation scheme and items carried forward from 1986-87, and that The Treasury had allowed the Commission greater flexibility in carrying funds forward in this way;

Corporate Plan 1988-91:
Approval of corporate plan following discussions, with specific reference to the computerisation of work in the Commission, better measurement of performances, and the possibility of more of less simultaneous deterioration in the condition of structures, in particular large memorials;

The Commission’s Administrative Organisation
Presentation of paper on the Commission’s administrative organisation in which it was said that the reduction in the number of Assistant Secretary posts from three to two had been shown to be working successfully, and it would now be made permanent;

Report of the 609th meeting of the Finance Committee:
adoption of the report following the discussion on four items; the reconstruction of the entrance shelter building at New Irish Farm Cemetery in Belgium, with comment that further recommendations would be made following a visit to the site by the Artistic Adviser and Director of Works; the construction of group base accommodation at Vailly sur Aisne Cemetery, adjacent to Vailly British Cemetery, on land within the French War Cemetery, which would be shared between the Commission staff and their French counterparts; the rebuilding of the wall at Beersheba War Cemetery in Israel; and the theft of Commission property at St. Symphorien Military Cemetery in Belgium. With regards the new entrance at New Irish Farm Cemetery, it was commented that as the shelter formed such an important part of this cemetery, the replacement should be examined carefully if it was different from the original;

Policy on Smoking:
Presentation of paper following recent publicity on the dangers of passive smoking. It was noted that a policy had now been formed following discussions with the trade unions and a questionnaire survey of staff at Head Office, with result that all attendees at Head Office would be expected to refrain from smoking outside of a certain designated area of the building;

Burials and Commemorations:
Approval for the alternative commemoration of 23 war dead in the UK, with specific reference to an objection by the vicar to the erection of a memorial for two war dead buried in Pavenham (St Peter) Churchyard;

The Future of Rangoon War Cemetery:
Plans from the Burmese government for the relocation of grave at the Rangoon War Cemetery to Taukkyan War Cemetery were discussed. At the Commissioners meeting in September 1986, it was agreed that the financial contribution by the Burmese government was inadequate. An aide-memoire had since been drafted and submitted to the British Ambassador in Rangoon. There was no apparent urgency on the Burmese side. It had been discussed earlier in the year and could be raised when the Secretary visits Rangoon in November. The FCO were aware of the issue and would be kept informed. Concerns were raised about the possibility of a confrontation between the Commission and the Burmese government, by accident. A discussion was entered into as to whether it was better to raise the issue during the forthcoming visit by the Princess Royal, or later in the year when the Secretary was visiting, and it was agreed that it was undesirable to involve the Princess Royal in the matter in any way;

Imperial War Graves Endowment Fund: Appointment of New Trustee:
It was announced that Mr Henry Lambert had succeeded Mr Michael Welham as a Trustee of the Imperial War Graves Endowment Fund, and that Lord Remnant was willing to replace Sir John Hogg, who had given notice of his wish to retire, on the board. Appreciation of the service of Sir John Hogg was recorded to Sir John Hogg, and Lord Remnant was officially nominated to replace him;

Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees – Appointment of Members:
Approval of new appointment to the Commonwealth-French Joint Committee, and it was also noted following a question raised there was no ground for supposing that cemeteries near Calais would be under threat from the proposed Channel Tunnel;

Tours by Commissioners and Head Office Officials:
Reports were made on visits made by Sir Robert Ford to 15 cemeteries in Normandy; Sir Edward Gardner to Ypres (to attend ceremonies for commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele and the 60th anniversary of the dedication of the Menin Gate Memorial); the Chairman to Denmark, Sweden and Norway (including a meeting with His Majesty King Olav); Sir John Gingell to Northern France (including visits to the Area office and workshops in Beaurains, Villers-Brettonneux, Thiepval and the Ulster Tower, where reference was made to some disturbing comments in visitor books, Delville Wood ); and Mr Saynor to Italy (including the planned new location for the Area office at the Villa Wolkonsky in Rome);

It was reported that Mr Alf Clarke, Director of the Office of Australian War Graves, had visited Maidenhead as part of a world tour which was also taking in sites in Malta and Libya.

Other Business:
It was reported that an objection had been lodged on the Commission’s behalf against the proposed erection of a British Telecom radio mast on land adjoining the Runnymede Memorial, and that the BT application had been rejected, following other opposition raised by the National Trust and possibly other bodies, with British Telecom confirming that they would not appeal the decision; that Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC would be giving the Remembrance Day broadcast; that The Princess Royal, as Colonel in Chief of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment was visiting the Nicosia War Cemetery in Cyprus, and would be visiting Taukkyan War Cemetery and the Rangoon Memorial later on in the year; with a possibility that she might also visit Kandy War Cemetery in Sri Lanka and Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore; that Prince and Princess Michael of Kent would possibly be visiting El Alamein War Cemetery next month; that the Gardeners’ Service would be held on 6th November at Westminster Abbey; that The President would chair the Commission meeting in December; that Professor The Baroness McFarlane of Llandaff, Sir Donald Maitland, and Sir Edward Gardner were retiring from the Commission, with comments and record of thanks for their individual contributions were recorded.

Admiral Sir David Williams GCB DL, (Vice-Chairman of the Commission) in the Chair
His Excellency the Hon Douglas McClelland AC, (High Commissioner for Australia)
His Excellency Mr Rae Killen, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa
Sir Edward Gardner QC
General Sir Robert Ford GCB CBE
Sir Donald Maitland GCMG OBE
Air Chief Marshal Sir John Gingell GBE KCB
Captain Sir Miles Wingate KCVO
The Rt Hon J D Concannon
Sir John Blelloch KCB, 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
Colonel Y K Mehta, Representing the High Commissioner for the Republic of India
Ms F J Newman, Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand

Professor E A Bell CB 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 (Operations)
Mr D Kennedy, Assistant Secretary, Deputy Director-General (Administration)
Mr N B Osborn FRICS, Director of Works
Mr G C Reddie, Legal Adviser and Solicitor
Mr R J Dalley, Director of Secretariat
Mr P J Noakes BSc (Hort), Director of Horticulture
Mr R D Wilson ACMA, Director of Finance
Mrs M E Meads, Senior Executive Officer (Secretariat)
Mr S T Bell, Secretariat
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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