Arnold Ridley

Arnold Ridley who as we all know, became so famous as Private Godfrey in Dad’s Army did have a very long acting career before he got that role.

In the Fifties he appeared in the film Green Grow The Rushes – which we have featured here and also an episode of White Hunter with Rhodes Reason.

He had been injured  during World War I ,and so the young Arnold Ridley was forced to give up a his acting career and turn to writing. He hit the jackpot with ‘The Ghost Train’ which was a great West End success and has been filmed at least twice. He had other plays during the 1920s and 1930s but with the success of The Ghost Train. 

The Ghost Train

The Ghost Train above – Arthur Askey in the Film Version – Very Good it was too !!

Arnold Ridley with his Son

Above – a really lovely picture of Arnold Ridley with his son, Nicholas – Born 1946

In later life he returned to acting, and was cast in  his most famous role as Private Godfrey in the BBC comedy series Dad’s Army (1968) from 1968 to 1977.

The horrors of World War 1  had come flooding back when, in September 1939, he went to war once more, returning to France with the British Expeditionary Force – this time with the rank of major.

In an unpublished memoir written towards the end of his life, he recalled: ‘Within hours of setting foot on the quay at Cherbourg, I was suffering from acute shell-shock again. It took the form of a mental suffering that can best be described as an “inverted” nightmare.

‘I (had) suffered badly from nightmares between the wars. They always took the same form. Somehow or other, my discharge had gone wrong and I was back in the Army again. Not amid shot, shell, bayonet and other horrors, but merely back in France awaiting orders to go up to the front line once more. These dreams were so real that sometimes it would take me an hour or more to persuade myself that what I had dreamed was impossible.

‘Now it was no longer impossible. My dream had caught up with me. My real and conscious life was now my nightmare – a nightmare from which I had no awakening.’

However the picture Below needs no introduction :

Arnold Ridley


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