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

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor