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Arnold Ridley

John Simkin

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Most people probably know Arnold Ridley best for his performance as Charles Godfrey in Dad's Army (1968-1977). However, he was also someone who bravely fought in the British Army in two world wars. He wrote a moving account of these experiences in his memoirs. Unfortunately, they have never been published. I have included some extracts from these memoirs on my page on Ridley:


After his death in 1984 his son, Jasper Ridley, pointed out: "A horrible irony is that my father was not the sort of man who was out for official recognition, yet all he had ever wanted was the Military Medal. He told me that when he came back from No Man's Land after an attack on the Somme, he was standing around with four or five other boys when an officer spoke to them. He said he was going to put them all up for the MM except for my father who, because he had a lance corporal stripe on, he would put up for the Distinguished Conduct Medal. All the other men got their MMs but he didn't get the DCM, and that did embitter him a little bit. It is exactly the sort of thing he would not have normally cared about, but I think he felt it was a badge of comradeship. When he was awarded an OBE for playing a small comedy part in a television series, I felt it was a poor reward for someone who had served in two world wars."

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