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Deaths reported of four serving members of staff: Mr Roger Angot, Mr Hedi Ben Ibrahim Khezami, Mr Paul Widdrington and Mr Jack Radford BEM. The deaths of two former Commissioners, Lord Soames and Lord Duncan-Sandys.
Appointment of Sir Nigel Mobbs as a Commissioner in succession to Professor the Baroness McFarlane of Llandaff and return to India of the representative of the Indian High Commission, Brigadier Satish Nambiar.
Matters Arising From The Minutes Of The Previous Meeting
a) Delay in planning of reconstruction work at Beersheba War Cemetery in Israel due to other work, and funding questions.
b) Heads of Mission of member governments had proposed a policy of ‘constructive inertia’ over dealings with the Burmese Government over the possible development of the Rangoon War Cemetery until the Burmese Government resumed the subject of repossession.
Annual Estimates of Expenditure
Reports presented for 1988-89 and revisions to 1987-88. Key issues were the forward purchase of foreign currencies to allow for exchange rate fluctuations, inflation was offset by anticipated strengthening of Sterling and as a result there was an anticipated reduction in contributions from member governments.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Superannuation Scheme
Amendments proposed covering death benefit lump-sum payments of staff who had been re-employed by the Commission; making membership of the scheme optional; reducing the qualification period for the preservation of benefits. Proposal covering cash held on deposit. Resignation of Sir Donald Maitland GCMG OBE as a Trustee and appointment of the Rt Hon J D Concannon and Mr Philip John Noakes as Trustees of the scheme.
Report of the 610th meeting of the Finance Committee
Report was adopted and approved. Sir Derek Day KCMG voted to be a member of the Finance Committee.
New Irish Farm Cemetery: Entrance Building
Reported that the entrance building to this cemetery required repair. Proposal to demolish the structure and salvage as much of the original material for reuse in its reconstruction. The new stonework would match and blend in with the salvaged material. The Commission approved the proposal. Total cost would not exceed £37,400.
Commonwealth-Japanese Joint Committee meeting
Report on most recent meeting in Japan attended by the Secretary. Brief and routine meeting and visit made to Yokohama War Cemetery. Reciprocal care of Japanese graves discussed.
Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees
The Commission approved three recent appointments to this committee.
Burials and Commemorations: Graves Not Within the Commission’s Control in the United Kingdom
Report on the ever-growing problem of neglect of family-owned graves. The Commission acknowledged continuing responsibility for the commemoration of the war dead with standard headstone or plaque.
El Alamein War Cemetery: Proposed Battle Exploit Memorial (9th Division)
The Commission approved the project to erect a memorial to the 9th Australian Division outside the El Alamein War Cemetery. Whilst the Commission couldn’t become directly involved in the construction, they would offer advice. Maintenance to be the responsibility of the Trustees of the memorial.
Tours by Commissioners and Senior Officials
Members of the Commission reported on recent visits made:
Sir Robert Ford to the Northern Europe Area
Sir David Williams to Egypt
Sir Peter Shepheard to Villers-Bretonneux (where cracks in the structure had been found)
Visit by Mr Alf Clarke, Director of the Office of Australian War Graves to various countries, including Syria and Libya
The Secretary to Sri Lanka, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Malaysia
Mr Osborn to India.
Members of the Dutch Royal Family would be visiting cemeteries in Japan and Thailand.
Report on damage to Commission sites in England and France during the storm of 15-16 October. Some 240 trees were destroyed in France, others would have to be cut down, and there was devastating damage to other areas of permanent planting. Less severe damage In Southern England – mostly at Runnymeade and Brookwood sites.
Recent visit to Tanzania had shown that the funding arrangements discussed with the Government earlier in the year had not been working as planned. Vigilance over the condition of the cemeteries would be needed and it was announced that Sir David Williams would visit Tanzania in February when further discussions could take place if necessary.
His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent KG GCMG GCVO (President of the Commission) in the Chair
Admiral Sir David Williams GCB DL (Vice-Chairman of the Commission)
His Excellency Mr R Roy McMurtry QC, High Commissioner for Canada
His Excellency Dr P Cherian Alexander, High Commissioner for the Republic of India
The Rt Hon Nicholas Ridley MP, Secretary of State for the Environment in the United Kingdom
His Excellency the Hon Douglas McClelland AC, High Commissioner for Australia
His Excellency Mr Rae Killen, Ambassador or the Republic of South Africa
General Sir Robert Ford GCB CBE
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
Miss Janet Fookes MP
Sir Derek Day KCMG
Mr R A Farrell, Acting High Commissioner for New Zealand
Mr J M Stewart, Representing the Secretary of State for Defence in the United Kingdom
Professor Sir Peter Shepheard CBE BArch PPRIBA MRTPI PPILA, Honorary Artistic Adviser
Professor E A Bell CB PhD FLS CChem FRSC, Honorary Botanical Adviser
Sir Arthur Hockaday KCB CMG, Director-General
Also in attendance:
Lieutenant Commander Sir Richard Buckley KCVO RN, Private Secretary to HRH The Duke of Kent
Mr R A Gomme, Department of the Environment in the United Kingdom
Miss D Lamb, Department of the Environment in the United Kingdom
Mr J Rowsome, Canadian High Commission
Colonel Y K Mehta, Officiating Military Adviser, Indian High Commission
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 T F Penfold, Director of Personnel
Mr R J Dalley, Director of Secretariat
Mr P J Noakes BSc MIHort, Director of Horticulture
Mr R D Wilson ACMA, Director of Finance
Mrs M E Meads, Senior Executive Officer (Secretariat)
Mr S T Bell, Secretariat