Arnold Ridley (1896-1984)

(William) Arnold Ridley was the brother of John Harry Dunn Ridley, head of the Engineering Secretariat at the B.B.C. from 1950 to 1965. The actor Daisy Jazz Isobel Ridley (born 1992) is a granddaughter of John Ridley.

Arnold Ridley was earlier in his career known for writing the play The Ghost Train and later in life for portraying the elderly Private Godfrey in the British sitcom Dad’s Army.

In reality, Arnold had been a lance corporal with the 6th Somerset Light Infantry, who “went over the top” on the morning of September 16, 1916.

He later wrote about his experiences, and his physical and mental scars; after recovering in England, he had faced the British Army Travelling Medical Board. A doctor suggested his hand injury was self-inflicted.

He recalled: ‘I was still suffering from shell shock, blue with cold and in considerable pain. “Yes sir,” I replied. “My battalion is famous for self-inflicted wounds, and just to make sure, I cracked my skull with a rifle butt as well and ran a bayonet into my groin.”’

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