|Description||Topics covered: |
Apologies for absence from Dame Janet Fookes, Admiral Sir Nicholas Hunt, The Viscount Ridley, Professor O'Neill and Sir Harold Walker
Welcome to General Sir John Akehurst and also to Mr David Kennedy, who was attending the meeting for the first time since his new sppointment
The Chairman reported the deaths of Sir Nicholas Ridley, Mr Rae Killen, Sir John Winnifrith, Sir Ewen Broadbent and Mr Walter Wynn Mason.
Review by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence
The review team's report will be distributed to all members before the next meeting in June.
Minutes of the 591st Meeting of the Commission and Matters Arising From The Minutes
Circulation of minutes
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemeteries in Libya
Mr Dalley states that structural and horticultural officials of the Commission have gained access to Libya to conduct a survey.
Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance
The Chairman reports that the President of the Royla British Legion has welcomed the idea of Commission attendance.
Tomb of an Unknown Austrailian Soldier
Mr Smith discusses the memorandum concerning this proposal, and how it does not represent a lessoning of the Australian governemnt's committment to the work of the Commission. This request has been submitted at this time in order to mark the 75th anniversary of the Armistice Day in November 1918. It is proposed that the unknown Australian soldier be exhumed from a cemetery in either France or Belgium. It is the Australian governemnt's wish to cooperate fullywith the Commission and its officials.
Mr Stewart requests confirmation that the Australian government will bear all costs associated with the repatriation. Sir Nigel Mobbs states that he wishes to seek assurance that the identity of the soldier would remain unknown.
Mr Reddie states that it would be easier to exhume the body in France, as French authorities could allow exhumation and repatriation on the basis of approval by the Commission.
The Commission agrees to the Australian government's request and welcomed the assurances given by the Australian government as to the way this should be carried out. It also acknowledges the exceptional nature of such a request, and accepts it could not reasonably object to a similar request.
Commonwealth War Casualties in Albania
Mr Dalley states that the graves in Tirana had been handed over to the Commission in July 1947 although shortly after, access had been denied. Due to the current political climate, access was now permitted, and it is now intended that the fifty two casualties, currently in Greece, should be commemorated ear their original place of burial. Although final costings are not yet known, they should not exceed £5,000. The Commission approved the course of action proposed.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Superannuation Scheme: Appointment of Investment Manager
In January 1993, the Trustees concluded that a change in investment management would be beneficial and therefore chose to appoint Phillips and Drew Fund Management Limited in place of Capital House Investment Management.
Appointment to Finance Committee
The Chairman reports that Professor O'Neill had expressed a willingness to serve on the Finance Committee, to which the Commission approved.
Forecast of Outturn 1992-93
Mr Reeves states that it would be considered imprudent to attempt to minimise the surplus by bringing projects forward from 1993-94.
Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees- Appointment of Members
The Commission approved three appointments and took note of seven others as set out in the accompanying report.
Schedule of Documents Executed on Behalf of the Commission
The Commission took note of the execution of documents on its behalf
Burials and Commemorations
The Commission approved the alternative commemoration of seventeen war burials.
Tours by Commissioners and Head Office Senior Officials
The Chairman reports that he had visited France, Northern Europe Area and United Kingdom Area. Mr Dalley speaks of his visit to Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and how he was pleased with the condition of most sites. The exception was Trincomalee War Cemetery, where fighting had prevented proper maintence.
Mr Gee explains that the Commission's Outer Area officials were investigating the deficiences in the standard of maintenance of the Gibraltar memorial.
Mr Coombe speaks of his visit to Lebanon. Whilst some cemeteries had not been affected by the war, others such as two in Beirut and one at Sidon were in need of complete restoration.
The Chairman reports that Her Majesty the Queen had appointed Miss Geertruida Oosterhaar an Honorary Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
The Commission Film
Sir Joseph Gilbert wonders whether it might be possible to reinstate production of the new films into the 1993-94 programme.
Visit to Antigua
Commenting on a private visit to Antigua, Sir Joseph Gilbert speaks of the poor condition of the two war graves in St John's Cemetery.
Turkish Memorial at Chunuk Bair
The Secretary reports that the Commission has been made aware of the construction of a statue of Kemal Ataturk adjacent to the New Zealand memorial at Chunuk Bair. The Secretary continues that the Commission has consulted the relevent authorities in Turkey and requested early consultation in future cases.
Museum in Thailand
The Secretary states that the Commission was still recieving complaints from visitors to Kanchanaburi. Results of forensic tests indicated that the remains were not of Commonwealth servicemen.
Tour by the President
Hir Royal Highness The Duke of Kent will be toruing sites in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania from 25 March to 3 April
General Sir Robert Ford
Sir Joseph Gilbert states that on behalf of the Commision to place on record their appreciation of all of the work that General Sir Robert Ford has done, and best wishes for a long and happy retirement.
The Chairman thanks Sir Joseph Gilbert and Mr Stewart for their kind remarks, and states that he has enjoyed every moment of his time with the Commission.
General Sir Robert Ford GCB CBE (Vice-Chairman of the Commission)
His Excellency Mr R J Smith (High Commissiner for Australia)
Sir Nigel Mobbs DL
Air Chief Marshal Sir Joseph Gilbert KCB CBE
Mrs LLin Golding MP
General Sir John Akehurst KCB CBE
MrJ M Stewart CB (Representing the Secretary of State for Defence in the United Kingdom)
Mr R. G. S. Johnson (Representing the Secretary of State for the Environment in the United Kingdom)
Brigadier-General D M Dean CD (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
Brigadier B S Malik AVSM (Representing the High Commissioner for India)
Commodore J G Leonard RNZN (Representing the High Commissioner for New Zealand)
Mr B Knoefel (Representing the Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa)
Professor Sir Peter Sepheard CBE BArch PPRIBA MRTPI PPILA, Honorary Artistic Advisor
Professor G T Prance MA DPhil FLS, Honorary Botanical Advisor
Mr D Kennedy, Director-General
ALSO IN ATTENDANCE:
Mr T F Penfold, Assistant Secretary, Deputy Director-General (Administration)
Mr R J Dalley, Assitant Secretary, Deputy Director-General (Operations)
Mr G.C. Reddie, Legal Adviser and Solicitor
Mr D R Parker, Director of Personnel
Mr A Coombe, Director of Works
Mr J.P.D. Gee, Director of Information and Secretariat
Mr D C Parker, Director of Horticulture
Mr T V Reeves, Director of Finance
Miss E Kennedy, Higher Executive Officer, Secretariat
Mrs C Kirby, Secretariat