Apologies: Dame Janet Fookes, Admiral Sir Nicholas Hunt, Professor O'Neill, Professor Shepheard and Professor Prance.
Welcome from the Chairman to Miss Dinah Nichols and Mr Ian Hamill who were attending a meeting for the first time as the representatives of the Secretary of State for the Environment and Defence in the United Kingdom, respectively. Also welcome to Mr Philip Blunden and Mr David Webb of Coopers and Lybrand.
Minutes Of The 593rd Meeting
Mentions the minutes of the last meeting were circulated and agreed, before they were then signed by the Chairman.
Matters Arising From The 593rd Meeting
a) Review By The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence
b) The Unknown Australian Soldier
Accounts Of The Commission 1992-93
Refers to paper presented to the meeting but Mr Reeves proposed to not go through it in detail. Refers to expenditure, losses, and savings, with the significant in staff costs, structural maintenance, and base site construction. Mentions Agency Services project expenditure higher than expected.
Forecast Of Outturn 1993-94
Comments from the Secretary on the revised format of presentation which was intended to give a more detailed view of the Commission’s expenses and income. Total expenditure for 1993-1994 would be £2,306 greater than estimated whilst receipts expected to be £329,840 lower than expected. Estimated surplus balance of £776,273. Also mentions savings on staff costs and assumed exchange rate gains had made it possible to reinstate certain deferred projects, including the commissioning of the new film and a number of irrigation and base site projects.
Brigadier Malik explained delay in Indian contribution due to questions around increased costs.
Vice-Chairman: Terms Of Reference
Refers to paper presented before the meeting, namely the draft terms of reference for the Vice-Chairman: "The Vice'-Chairman writes the annual report of the Director-General and makes decisions on the level of his remuneration and countersigns the annual reports of the Deputy Director Generals". The Chairman mentioned that after the June meeting, there was no longer a need for the Organisation Sub-Committee. Resolution that, with the agreed amendments, the Commission then approved the terms of reference for the Vice-Chairman.
Commemoration Of War Casualties In The Former Soviet Union, The Former GDR And China
Overview of the situation, following decisions made at the meetings in March and June 1993. Refers to the restoration of Zehrensdorf Indian Cemetery, the demolition of the Brookwood (Russia) Memorial, and the policies of the Commission as required by the Royal Charter. Resolution that the Commission took note of the present position in the areas in question and:
a) confirmed that where war graves are found to exist they should be restored and maintained so far as reasonably practicable;
b) deferred a decision regarding which of the two options in respect of Zehrensdorf Indian War Cemetery should be pursued;
c) agreed to alternatively commemorate all those whose graves in Russia cannot be found, and whose names appear on the Brookwood (Russia) and Haidar Pasha Memorials on a new memorial or memorials to be erected in Russia;
d) agreed that all those whose graves in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Ukraine cannot be found should be alternatively commemorated on a memorial at Haidar Pasha, unless a cemetery is located in the country concerned at which alternative commemoration can be carried out;
e) agreed that in cases where the graves have been lost but the cemetery still exists. alternative commemoration may be carried out in the cemetery itself or at another war cemetery or plot within that country;
f) agreed to the subsequent demolition of the Brookwood (Russia) Memorial.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Superannuation Scheme – Annual Report 1992-93
Mentions draft Annual Report had been adopted by Trustees at the meeting in September. Mentions David Parker said that following the 1990 valuation, when the Government Actuary reported a surplus, the Commission had been able to improve benefits for staff whilst reducing the Commission's contribution. He added that the primary change had been a shift from a 1/80th to a 1/60th basis of accrual.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Superannuation Scheme – Custody Of Investments
Resolution that the Commission approved the appointment of UBS Asset Administration Limited.
Commonwealth-Foreign Joint Committees: Appointment of Members
Resolution referring the approval of three appointments set out in the paper before the meeting.
Burials And Commemorations
Resolution that the Commission approved the alternative commemoration of nine war burials, including a casualty buried at Edendale (Macibisi) Cemetery, Natal.
Schedule Of Documents Executed On Behalf Of The Commission
Resolution that the Commission took note of the execution on its behalf of the documents serial numbers 676 and 329-332 referred to in the Schedule laid before the meeting and signed for identification by the Commission's Legal Adviser and Solicitor.
Tours By Commissioners And Senior Officials
Comments from Sir Harold Walker on his introductory tour of France Area and Northern Europe Area, particularly the care of work and variety of cemeteries and memorials, as well as high morale of staff. Also notes he had written to the Secretary about the necessity of planting immediately in front of headstones to prevent soil from splashing back onto the headstones during rain.
Comments from Sir Nigel Mobbs about his private visit to Italy, including Castiglione South African and Santerno Valley War Cemeteries.
Comments from the Chairman regarding his visit to Turkey and Greece, referring to the beneficial impact this had had, and discussions had been productive, despite advice which had not been optimistic regarding a Commonwealth-Turkish War Graves Agreement.
Refers to swift and effective action of staff to tackle vandalism at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, the Netherlands. Thank you from Mr Gair to Head Office and France Area staff for during his visit. Mentions he visited Lannilis Communal Cemetery to see the grave of a relative, and even this remote site was tended with the greatest care and respect. The next meeting of the Commission would be held on 15 December 1993.
Refers to the previous practice for the Organisation Sub Committee to meet to discuss the appointment of new members to the Commission. It was suggested to break from this practice. It was intended that the vacancy which would arise from the retirement of Admiral Sir Nicholas Hunt in Spring 1994, should be filled by Admiral Sir John Kerr.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Joseph Gilbert K.C.B., C.B.E. (Vice-Chairman of the Commission, in the Chair)
His Excellency The Honourable George F. Gair Q.S.O. (High Commissioner for New Zealand)
Sir Nigel Mobbs D.L.
The Viscount Ridley K.G., T.D.
Mrs Llin Golding M.P.
Sir Harold Walker K.C.M.G.
General Sir John Akehurst K.C.B., C.B.E.
Mr I. Hamill (Representing the Secretary of State for Defence in the United Kingdom)
Miss D.A. Nichols (Representing the Secretary of State for the Environment in the United Kingdom)
Mr D. Goss (Representing the High Commissioner for Australia)
Brigadier-General D.M. Dean CD (Representing the High Commissioner for Canada)
Brigadier B.S. Malik A.V.S.M. (Representing the High Commissioner for India)
Mr B. Knoefel (Representing the Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa)
Also in attendance:
Mr P.S. Blunden F.C.A. (Representing Coopers & Lybrand)
Mr D.I. Webb A.C.A. (Representing Coopers & Lybrand)
Mr T.F.P. (Assistant Secretary, Deputy Director-General (Administration))
Mr R.J. Dalley (Assistant 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 D.C. Parker (Director of Horticulture)
Mr T.V. Reeves (Director of Finance)
Miss E. Kennedy (Secretariat/External Relations Officer)