Arnold Ridley R4 Now!

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Cuddles, Jul 6, 2012.

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  1. There is a fascinating programme on R4 about "Private Godfrey", the actor Arnold Ridley. He was a pretty nails infantryman in the Great War. Fascinating bio notes here

    He was also the first chairman and a founder of the Old Sulians RFC! Not mentioned yet...
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  2. Only a brief reference to his interest in rugby. Seriously injured at the Somme in WWI and then volunteered for service with the BEF in WWII. Who would believe that the frail, doddery old man in 'Dad's Army' was such a lion in real life? It just goes to show how deceiving appearances can be and that we should never make assumptions about the elderly or treat them with disrespect.
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  3. skid2

    skid2 LE Book Reviewer

    Caught that. Entertaining
  4. He also wrote 'The Ghost Train', which was made in to a film, and for a lad it was pretty scary:

    The Ghost Train (1941) - Full cast and crew

    Christ that was a long time ago, and it only cost me two and a half pence to get in
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  5. He admits that returning to the colours in 1939 was not a good move. He said in his autobiography that he felt the symptom of shell shock, the moment he landed at Calais. He was invalided out after Op Dynamo and interestingly was the only member of the Dad's Army cast to serve in the Home Guard!
  6. There was a DA episode devoted to him as i recall. He got bubbled as a CE in the Great War & the detachment ostracised him.....then turns out he was hero medic & got the MC on the Somme or something. Remember that episode.
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  7. It was a Military Medal. Ridley was recommended for a DCM after a fighting patrol in 1916. The other five lads were recommended for MMs and each received it. As he was a lance-jack, he was put up for a DCM and didn't get it. His son has said that Arnold Ridley was pretty annoyed by that and said some uncomplimentary things about the OBE he received for his acting/writing by comparison!
  8. Sorry was referring to his role as Godfrey rather his actual awards.
  9. One of the writers, Jimmy Perry, was in the Home Guard
  10. Sorry Ches, so was I - Godfrey was supposedly a decorated medic/stretcher-bearer with an MM. I just added the bit about Ridley because I am a recent expert on the fellow!!
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  11. Nice programm, on R4.
    Just goes to show how little we know about some people.
  12. I think John Laurie was also served in the BEF in 1917-18 and the Home Guard in WW2. I read that he served in the HAC including a spell on Passendaele ridge in Oct 1917 and was invilded out with shell shock.
  13. The reason that Pte Godfrey was turned into Plt Medic (in the conchy episode) was because his WW1 injuries were causing Arnold Ridley agro. He was in severe pain carrying the rifles. The writers didn't want to lose either hte character or the actor, so wrote around the problem.

    The episode, I felt, was a delightful insight in to ordinary men (in both world wars) doing extraordinary things before returning to obscurity. Pte Godfrey explains he doesn't want a rifle anymore, as he couldn't shoot a 'Jerry' with one anyway. Naturally Capt Manwaring goes ballistic, and asks how he coped in WW1 (a war in which Capt Manwaring did not serve (only reaching France in 1919 'to tidy up'). When Godfrey responds that he was a Concientious Objector he is immediately ostracised by the usual suspects (although some are still remarkably freindly, with Jack Jones slipping him sausages).

    Eventually when Godfrey is taken ill, the Plt visit him (and his dotty sisters (the whole familer are not married it appears)). Above his bed is his Military Medal, when Manwaring enquires about the medal, Godfreys Sisters gush how brave he was during WW1 venturing countless times in to No Mans Land (unarmed) to recover the wounded; much to Godfreys squirming embaressment.

    He explains that he doesn't wear his medals, as he isn't brave like others in the Plt (at which point LCpl Jones sqirms with his chest full of campagne medals). It is decided that he will be the medic from there on.

    In another episode, Godfreys dotty sisters calmly have tea whilst the Home Guard engage (each other!!!), defending Walmington On Sea from the Nazi hordes. A WW1 German Coal scuttle helmet is worn by (Jones?), which the Godfreys were using as a plant pot adds to the confusion!!!

    I think the Ghost train, although written by Ridley, was sold for a pittance. And then did very well. Ridley didn't receive much from it... this was a tale from Jimmy Perry (I think) in a 'Dad's Army' special programme on one of my DVDs. Arnold Ridley made Perry promise never to sell the whole rights to his work, in case he lost out as he had.
  14. For those that can access BBC IPlayer you can listen again here:

    BBC IPlayer - Arnold Ridley

    ...and it looks like the Dad's Army episode in which he becomes platoon medic will be available on IPlayer soon.
  15. I think that episode is on BBC 2 tomorrow at 1740.