Obituary: Sir Sidney Ridley

Sidney Ridley, colonial civil servant and college administrator: born 26 March 1902; Indian Civil Service 1926-47; Revenue Commissioner in Sind and Secretary to Government 1947-54; Kt 1953; Domestic Bursar, St John's College, Oxford 1960-68, Fellow 1962-69 (Emeritus); married 1929 Dorothy Hoole (died 1987; three daughters); died Waytown, Dorset 9 October 1993.

SIDNEY RIDLEY was one of the small group of senior members of the Indian Civil Service who, at the time of independence in 1947, offered their services to the government of Pakistan to assist in the establishment and maintenance of the machinery of government in the new dominion. In his case, it was a question of returning home, as he had spent the first 10 years of his service in the province of Sind. Ridley continued as the Revenue Commissioner in Sind till 1954, being among the last of the British members of the ICS to leave. He was rewarded with a knighthood in 1953.

'Sam' Ridley was equally at home in secretarial posts and district administration. He was the first Finance Secretary to the Government of Sind when the province was formed in 1935. From 1936 to 1940 he was on deputation as Secretary to the Agent General for India in South Africa, yet, after leaving Pakistan, he acted as representative of the West Africa Committee (concerned with British commercial interests) in Ghana, Sierra Leone and the Gambia.

Ridley was universally popular with colleagues both British and Indian and, though a very hard worker, was always ready to enjoy a light-hearted occasion with friends. Legend has it that his sobriquet arose from the popularity of his rendering at parties of the old ditty 'Sam, Sam, pick up th' musket', in an authentic Northern accent - he came from Lancashire. Dorothy, whom he married in 1929, was a wonderful partner in all he did, cheerfully undergoing the rigours of the relentless touring and camping that district officers in Sind had to maintain.

Ridley's service included three years as Deputy Commissioner, Upper Sind Frontier, the headquarters town of which, Jacobabad, was officially the hottest place in India, among places where records were kept. Sam and Dorothy built up a wonderfully united family with their three daughters, who, with their husbands, had been a great source of strength to Sam since Dorothy's death in 1987.

On his return from West Africa in 1960 Ridley took an appointment as Domestic Bursar to St John's College, Oxford, joining that band of retired civil servants and officers of the defence forces who grace such appointments. For eight years he attended to the detail of his responsibilities in the manner of a good district officer, popular with everyone. Though the overall financial position of the college was not his direct responsibility, his views on investment, and finance generally, were listened to with care; and shortly after Ridley retired, the college was able to enter on a period of considerable expansion.

After leaving Oxford, Sam Ridley concentrated on his main affections, first his family, and then his links with Pakistan and particularly Sind. Until recently, he presided over an annual reunion, held in London, of people who had lived and worked in Sind.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower