While researching Captain Ridley for my forthcoming book ‘Captain Ridley’s Shooting Party‘ I have come across reference to his wife, Vera Constance Ridley. It appears that she was also helping out at Bletchley Park during World War 2.
At the time war broke out Vera Constance Ridley (nee Walker) would have been approximately 55 years old and had been married to William Henry Wake Ridley since 1913. I know that she was beautiful and spirited with a great sense of humour, as did her husband.
The quote about Vera Constance Ridley can be found in ‘Bletchley Park People‘ by Marion Hill.
Unfortunately, because of the way the author has created a composite picture of life at Bletchley Park using quotes from hundreds of people who worked on the site, she has opted to list all contributors at the back of the book rather than put a name to each individual quote. This means that, at the moment, I do not know who described the formidable Mrs Ridley as follows:
Mrs Ridley was the wife of Capt. Ridley in admin – a formidable personality…She acquired tables and chairs, cups, saucers, an urn and a permit for milk and sugar. She conscripted fellow naval wives as helpers and opened the Coffee Hut. She would pour out the coffee, add the milk and then look fiercely at one and say, Sugar! At first I said, Yes please, then my nerve failed me… I’ve never taken sugar in coffee since.”
I have looked on Bletchley Park’s Roll of Honour and Vera Constance Ridley is not listed. Looks like we have another name to add to the list..