Unique IDCWGC/2/2/1/574
TitleCOMMISSION MEETING NO.574 - September 1988


DescriptionMinutes of the 574th Meeting of the Commission
Content NoteTopics covered:

the Chairman informed the meeting that His Excellency Shri M Rasgotra had become Indian High Commissioner in London, succeeding Dr P Cherian Alexander; that His Excellency the Hon Donald MacDonald would become Canadian High Commissioner in London, succeeding Mr Roy McMurtry; that The Hon Gerald Merrithew had succeeded the Hon George Hees as Minister of Veterans' Affairs and as the Commission's Agent in Canada; and that Sir Derek Day had been appointed a Vice-Chairman of the Council of the British Red Cross;

the Chairman reported that Mr DA Smith, Head Gardener at St Nazaire, France, had been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's medal for 40 consecutive years of service to horticulture with one employer;

the Chairman reported the death of Mr Ahmed Aly Mahram, Gardener-Caretaker at Aswan War Cemetery, Egypt.

Matters arising from the Minutes of the 573rd Meeting:
the minutes of the 573rd Meeting of the Commission were agreed and the following matters arising were noted:
it was reported that a financial memorandum formulating the arrangements for the payment of the British government's grant in-aid to the Commission had been agreed by officials of the Commission and the Ministry of Defence and had been forwarded to the Treasury for comment; that Sir William Halcrow and Partners, a civil engineering firm, had been assigned to undertake the calculations required for the strengthening of the staircase at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux; that arrangements were now in hand to begin the reconstruction of the gardeners' quarters in Gaza War Cemetery, and that the British Consul-General in Jerusalem would shortly be visiting Gaza to discuss compensation for the Commission for the cost of the work with the municipality;

Appointment of Vice-Chairman of the Commission:
General Sir Robert Ford to be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Commission, in succession to Admiral Sir David Williams with effect from 1st April 1989;

Appointment of Secretary and Director-General:
the Chairman informed the Commission of the procedure that would be followed for the selection of a successor for the present Secretary and Director-General upon his retirement in October;

Annual Report 1987-88 and Statement of Accounts of the Commission:
draft annual report was circulated, and it was noted that a photograph of Her majesty the Queen taken during her visit to Arnhem (Oosterbeek) War Cemetery in July had been chosen for the front cover; and discussions of the accounts of the Commission, including details on the overall underspend for the year, mention on the reductions in staff costs and saving on structural maintenance, but over expenditure on horticulture in the main from costs of repairs of damage caused by the storm of October 1987 in northern Europe, and the purchase of machinery to meet the demands of increased workloads. Both the annual report and the statement of accounts were approved;

Corporate Plan 1989-92:
approval of the corporate plan, following discussions on a range of related topics covered by the plan including the greater need for efficiency, the deteriorating condition of stonework, the likely increase in tree work and border planting; current restrictions on travel to Libya; and replacement programme for headstones;

Report of the 612th Meeting of the Finance Committee:
adoption of report with approval of recommendation that the Commission update its retirement options for Commission staff to fall in line with changes made within the civil service;

Tanzania Agency of the Commission:
approval of proposed changes in funding of routine and day-to-day maintenance of sites in Tanzania, with the cost to be assumed by the Commission and directed locally to officials immediately concerned with the task of maintenance rather than through central government channels, with the Tanzanian government to be invited to confirm their agreement to the proposed changes in an exchange of letters;

Burials and Commemorations:
approval for the alternative commemoration of nine war dead in the United Kingdom and seven war dead in Canada;

Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees: Appointment of Members:
approval of two appointments to joint committees;

Execution of Documents:
confirmed action for the execution of documents, including documents relating to the agreement made between the Commission and Cemetery Management, the company now owning Paddington (Mill Hill) Cemetery, St Marylebone (East Finchley) Cemetery and Westminster City (Hanwell) Cemetery for the maintenance of the war graves within them;

Tours by Commissioners and Head Office Officials:
Sir John Gingell spoke of his visit, with the Director of Outer Area, to Greece and Turkey, noting the varied conditions encountered at sites, with some appearing parched as a result of the hot and dry summer, while those with adequate water supplies were generally in an excellent state. Specific mentions of Phaleron War Cemetery, noting that this site would require a major replanting scheme to screen it from surrounding development; Monastir Road Indian Cemetery, Salonika, where squatters occupying nearby land had habitually used the open grass area in the cemetery as a football ground; and the Doiran Memorial, where restoration work was currently underway. General comments made about sites in Gallipoli and the effects of increasing tourism to the area, and specific mention of the establishment of a camping site next to Lancashire Landing Cemetery.
Sir Derek Day had toured in France and Belgium with Sir Nigel Mobbs, accompanied by the respective Area Directors, visiting a wide variety of sites, with comments that the sites were in good order, and that there was a need to enhance the public profile of the Commission and its operations, which it was hoped would be met by the installation of historical notices in sites over the next few years.

Other Business:
attention was drawn to the upcoming annual Gardeners’ Service at Westminster Abbey, with note that certain questions had been raised regarding the future of the service and that it might be discussed at a future Commission meeting.

ADMIRAL SIR DAVID WILLIAMS GCB DL (Vice-Chairman of the Commission) in the Chair
HIS EXCELLENCY MR BRYCE HARLAND (High Commissioner for New Zealand)
HIS EXCELLENCY MR RAE KILLEN (Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa)
MR K C MACDONALD CB (Representing the Secretary of State for Defence in the United Kingdom)
MR R G S JOHNSTON (Representing the Secretary of State for the Environment in the United Kingdom)
MR P MacADAM (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
BRIGADIER H M KHANNA (Representing the High Commissioner for the Republic of India)

PROFESSOR E A BELL CB PhD FLS CChem FRSC (Honorary Botanical Adviser)


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 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)
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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