Page 255 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
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Lieutenant Colonel (retired)Vivian
Howard Ridley MBE QGM
It is with regret that we inform you
that 426990 Lt Colonel Vivian Howard
RIDLEY MBE QGM of Salisbury died
on 3 February 2019 aged 87. He was
called up as a National Serviceman in
1950 with the Kings Royal Rifles Corps
(KRRC) before attending Eaton Hall and
RMAS. Vivian was commissioned 2nd
Lt on 6 February 1953 into the Wiltshire
Regiment where he served as a Platoon
Commander in Warminster, Chester
and Cyprus 1953 to 1957. He was
then appointed Adjutant of Depot the
Wiltshire Regt and Depot Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regt (DERR) at Devizes, 1957 to 1960 before being seconded to the Ghana Army 1960 to 1961. He was then posted to 1 DERR and served with it in UK, Malta and Cyprus 1961 to 1963 before attending Staff College at Quetta in 1964. He then served in an exchange appointment as a Major in the appointment of Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General (DAQMG) in HQ Canadian Armed Forces from 1965 to 1966 before becoming OC B Company 1DERR initially in BAOR and then British Honduras 1968 to 1969. A tour as Deputy Assistant Adjutant General (DAAG) MOD(A) M6 London 1970 to 1971. Returning to regimental duty as the Battalion Second in Command of 1 DERR during the Ballykinler tour of 1973 to 1975 as Province Reserve saw Vivian awarded with a well merited MBE. He then became DAAG HQ Prince of Wales Division from 1975 to 1976 before being posted to 3rd Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters as Commanding Officer 1977 to 1979. Immediately post command Vivian was in the British element of the Commonwealth Monitoring Force of Operation AGILA in Rhodesia, 17 December 1979 to 31 March 1980, for which he was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal. Returning to the UK he assumed the appointment of AAG/ CRLS HQ Eastern District 1980 to 1982. He finished his regular service as SO2 AG2b (DAAG B AG2) MOD Stanmore 1982 to 1986. On retiring from the regular army, he took up the appointment, as a Retired Officer, of Assistant Regimental Secretary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment until 1994 taking the opportunity at the same time to rebadge to his old regiment. Even then Vivian Ridley continued to give loyal service by being a volunteer at the regimental museum until 2014 when his health began give cause for concern
The citation for the Queen’s Gallantry Medal is quite remarkable; it reads:
“Lt Col Ridley was employed in Rhodesia as the Lieutenant Colonel Commissioner with the Patriotic Front in the most volatile and tough operational area of the country. He was required to set up an operational HQ with a senior Patriotic Front Liaison officer (PFLO) and to control four RV points and two Assembly Places.
During the assembly phase from 28 December to 10 January, Lt Col Ridley displayed initiative and courage of quite exceptional order. The area to the south west of Umtali was reported by the Rhodesians to be full of large hard-line guerilla groups. With his PFLO he went time and again into the bush, even on one occasion after dusk, to make contact with these groups and persuade them to report to the RVs and Assembly Places. Not only were many of the tracks he used mined but, in the view of the Rhodesians, he was certain to be shot. Both these facts he knew full well but, with total disregard for his own safety, he saw it as his duty to act as he did in order to ensure that the assembly phase in his area was a success. On one of his journeys his PFLO, unaccountably disappeared but, undeterred, Lt Col Ridley continued to his destination down a track which subsequently turned out to be mined and made
contact with an aggressive guerilla commander. Not only did he persuade him to bring in his group but he also tended to, and evacuated, a wounded guerrilla, who he drove back down the mined and almost certainly ambushed tracks to Umtali.
His outstanding personal courage must have ultimately become recognised by the guerrillas themselves because, in the areas where he operated, and despite transport being blown up on a mine with many resulting casualties, the assembly phase was a major success with one RV point taking in over 2000 men and Assembly Place Foxtrot, with its 6000 guerillas, being nearly three times the size of any other in the country.
After the Assembly phase was complete. Lt Col Ridley was immediately present in the Assembly Places under his command whenever a tense or threatening situation occurred, as it often did. Again it was his personal courage and selfless disregard for his own safety which saved one situation after another and overcame the handicap of having a volatile and aggressive drunk as his PFLO. Throughout the operation he never spared himself. He took his life in his hands again and again. The example of courage he displayed was an inspiration not only to his subordinates but also to the Rhodesian and even to the Patriotic Front Guerillas themselves. The results he achieved by this extraordinary gallant behaviour speak for themselves and he richly merits an award.
Captain (Retired) Michael (Mick) Godwin
Like many a promising infanteer, Mick began his Army career as Junior Leader at Oswestry showing his potential at an early age. Progressing through JNCO’s Cadres, being a SAA Instructor at the School of Infantry, doing exceptionally well on his Senior Brecon Course. Having done his time as a Platoon Sergeant he became CQMS of A Company 1DERR and two years later became A Coy’s CSM. Mick went on to become the RSM of 1 DERR.
On the sporting side Mick found time
and energy to represent the Battalion at Squash, Tennis, Hockey, Cross Country, Orienteering and Golf.
It is interesting to note that on handing over as CQMS and CSM of A Coy and RSM of the Battalion each time his successor was Toby North, who Mick had taken the time to persuade back in 1971 in Berlin that Toby ought to attend a JNCO’s cadre. Clearly demonstrating that as well as being a highly motivated soldier he was looking out to ensure the high standard of the Regiment were maintained in others.
Mick was commissioned eventually becoming the Quartermaster in the acting rank of Major. He decided on the very day he was about to be promoted to substantive Major that the time was ripe for seeking a new career, which with his customary dedication he made a success of.
In 2017, with the creation of the Rifles and RGBW Regimental Association, Mick once again answered the call and took on the role of Association Secretary. The amount of work that Mick did in this voluntary position is a mark of the man. Nothing was ever too much for him and his quiet efficiency belied the amount of time and energy he put into the role. He also had a great sense of humour.
His sudden and unexpected death on 12 March 2019 whilst about to catch a plane, with other Farmer’s Boys, on a golf break in Spain deprived us of a key man in the Association. We extend our commiserations and condolences to his wife, Sue, his sons, Stephen and Michael, and his daughter Helen.

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