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
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015