Famous 1914-1918; Arnold Ridley

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Cuddles, Jul 5, 2010.

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  1. it is curious to muse that Dad's Army's conscientious objector Private Godfrey was in fact played by a fire-eating WW1 veteran who was wounded several times and recommended for a DCM. He was Arnold Ridley and he was initially recommended with four other Somerset LI men for the MM. Some well-meaning officer noted that L/Cpl Ridley was nominally in charge of the others and had his citation beefed up for a DCM.

    Of course the honours desk crunched the citations and awarded MMs to the other four but Cpl Ridley got zip. This rankled with him for the rest of his life, according to his son. Even the award of an OBE for services to acting and the theatre didn't cut it.

    In Richard van Emden's Famous 1914-1918 this is just one of several fascinating titbits about a number of people who survived to become famous. curiously the survivors seemed to be in Transport or signal sections...rather than rifle platoons! As usual his book is well researched but for one error in the account of Ridley's life.

    Arnold ridley was not a president of Bath RFC, he was THE founding president of Bath Old Sulians RFC. I happen to know this because i am a life member and always look for Ridley's name on the honours board during dinners!

    PR Totty this is not a book review, it is a point of pedantry!
  2. Arnold Ridley also wrote the book for the play The GhostTrain that was made into a film (Oh Mr.Porter) and starred the comedy trio of Will Hay, Graham Moffat and Moore Marriott.
  3. Indeed he did but it wasn't until he played godfrey that he achieved any form of financial security. Curiously enough the producers used his age as a bargaining chip to force his pay down - he was paid about half what Le Mesurier and Lowe got. Ironically it was his 44 year old co-star, the spiv black marketeer who died in harness!
  4. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    He went bankrupt and had to sell the rights for peanuts IIRC thats why he reportedly worried about money for the rest of his life

    Cpl Frazer actor John Lawrie was also at the Somme with the HAC and was wounded shortly after which prevented him joining up again in WW2
  5. I guess being in transport and signal sections during the Great War could be pretty fraught but
    a number of WW1 veterans who became famous in films or on the stage were near enough the sharp end to get wounded.

    Claude Rains, London Scottish, Gassed, left almost blind in one eye
    Herbert Marshall, London Scottish, Leg Amputation
    Ronald Colman. London Scottish, Leg wounds
    Leslie Banks Essex Regiment, Facial Wounds
    Basil Radford, Facial Wounds
  6. Actually the signal and transport sections of gunner or Infantry units were just as vicious - as indeed was the transport section of an MGC. Actually there are two factors to be considered, being in transport or signals indicated less constant threat but also some kind of intelligence! so a)more likely to survive and b)greater propensity to succeed. Lord Reith was a case in point of a clever obstinate stick at it sod, who luckily for him did his sharp end soldiering in a transport section of an infantry battalion...he would have succeeded in any case or at least i wouldn't want to be the one who told him he wasn't going to!
  7. Another actor with WW1 service was Harold Bennett AKA "Young Mr Grace" in "Are you Being Served." Harold Bennett - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The wiki entry says he was a courier, though I have attended a Western Front Association presentation which claimed that he had been a balloonautic.
  8. blue-sophist

    blue-sophist LE Good Egg (charities)

    Sad ... but then who ever said going to War was fair?

    Everyone on the LOC was a target for artillery fire ... and thousands died in consequence.

    I lost a great-uncle in WW1 ... a Signaller with the R West Kents. I guess he was out there re-connecting wires when a barrage came down on the LOC. No glory of a bayonet charge, just another guy doing his job when sh1t arrived.

    [BTW, the 'small green globular legume' key on my keyboard has just resigned so I can't even have a *iss. Buggrit]
  9. sgt wilson,not ww1, but ww2 RTR capt.
  10. and Lance Corporal Jones; PoW in WW2.