Friday, May 7, 2021

Lady Ridsdale DBE (1921 – 2009, née Victoire Bennett)

Dame Paddy Ridsdale, as she generally known, was an intelligence operative, secretary to Ian Fleming during WW2 and the inspiration for the Bond character Miss Moneypenny.

 

A Conservative Party stalwart and married to Member of Parliament for Harwich from 1954 to 1992 Sir Julian Ridsdale CBE (1915 – 2004), Dame Paddy – or Vicky, as she was known to some – is best known for her role in ‘Operation Mincemeat’, a “famous caper” concerning a “man who never was” in 1943.

 

In the war, Dame Paddy wrote love letters and telegrams that were planted on the body of ‘Major William Martin’, an invented, drowned naval officer, that was floated in the ocean off Spain. The body carried fictitious plans of a purported Allied invasion of Sardinia and Greece and formed part of a plot designed to deflect attention from the Allied landings in Sicily. Of it, she later remarked: “I was sent to buy clothes in all the best men’s shops and had to pose as his girlfriend. I had to go to post offices and rather loudly send this telegram to ‘my boyfriend’, hoping of course that somebody would overhear me”. In due course, the body was indeed found, the Axis powers completely taken in and “Mincemeat swallowed whole, hook, line, and sinker”. A BAFTA winning film directed by Ronald Neame, The Man Who Never Was, made about the deceptive scheme in 1956.

 

Dame Paddy was known as a “political hostess in the style of a bygone era”, lived in a mansion “sandwiched between a sheikh and a Saudi prince” in The Boltons for the majority of her adult life and is buried in the grounds of the church there. She had one daughter, became Lady Ridsdale when her husband was knighted in 1981 and was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) in her own right, for political services, in 1991.

 

Of her relationship with her one-time employer Fleming, she concluded: “Ian had so many girlfriends that I was not tempted to become one of them”.

 

 

 

The Roll Call - WILDCARDS

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Evelyn McHale (1923 – 1947)

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Designer and tastemaker Eileen Gray (1878 – 1976, née Eileen Smith) – A pioneer of both the Art Deco style and the functionalist Modernist movement, bisexual Irish aristocrat Eileen Gray was best known for designing the Bibendum chair and the E-1027 table.

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Robert Adam – Hampshire based architect and designer Robert Adam (born 1948) followed in the steps of his namesake and has become one of the most important figures in neo-classical style.

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True wildcard Lady Ridsdale DBE (1921 – 2009, née Victoire Bennett) – Dame Paddy Ridsdale was an intelligence operative, secretary to Ian Fleming and the inspiration for the Bond character Miss Moneypenny.

6

Lady Ridsdale DBE (1921 – 2009, née Victoire Bennett)

Bob Marshall-Andrews QC – Barrister, former Labour MP and novelist

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Bob Marshall-Andrews QC

Interior designer and philanthropist Charlot Malin (1969 – 2017) –Oslo born, San Francisco based interior designer and philanthropist Charlot D. Malin worked with George Lucas and Robert Redford. She loathed microwaves.

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Charlot Malin (1969 – 2017)

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Baba Vanga (баба Ванга, AKA ‘Nostradamus from the Balkans’, 1911 – 1996)

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Mary Millington (marital name Mary Maxted, born Mary Quilter, 1945 – 1979)

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Mary Millington (marital name Mary Maxted, born Mary Quilter, 1945 – 1979)

Sir Ken Adam OBE (born Klaus Adam, 1921 – 2016)

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Sir Ken Adam OBE (born Klaus Adam, 1921 – 2016)

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Will and Calum Thompson (AKA “The Eat Wild Boys”)

Arthur Woodham

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Arthur Woodham

Hannah Wick

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Hannah Wick

Daniel Lismore

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Daniel Lismore

Irish fugitive and world record holder John Patrick Hannan

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John Patrick Hannan

Max Whitlock (nicknamed “Maxi”)

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Max Whitlock (nicknamed “Maxi”)

Kelly Killoren Bensimon

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Kelly Killoren Bensimon

Lee Miller (Lady Penrose, born Elizabeth Miller, 1907 – 1977)

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Lee Miller (Lady Penrose, born Elizabeth Miller, 1907 – 1977)

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Ted Richards

Victoria Pendleton

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Victoria Pendleton CBE (married name Victoria Gardner)

Christopher Mason

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Christopher Mason

Bonnie Lee Bakley (1956 – 2001)

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Bonnie Lee Bakley (1956 – 2001)

Gino D’Acampo (born Gennaro D’Acampo)

25

Gino D’Acampo

Gillian Clarke FI 1

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Gillian Clarke (1941 – 2015)

Francesco Macera

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Francesco Macera

Nick Loeb

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Nicholas Loeb

Reverend Robert Parker (AKA “Squire Parker” and “Britain’s richest vicar”)

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Reverend Robert Parker

Gillian Duffy

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Gillian Duffy

David Hallberg

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David Hallberg

Ruthann Aron

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Ruthann Aron (AKA “Ruth Aron”, née Ruthann Greenzweig)

Lady Alice, Lady Eliza and Lady Violet Manners

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Lady Alice, Lady Eliza and Lady Violet Manners (AKA “The No Manners Girls”)

Topsy Taylor (born Lesley Taylor)

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Peter Dinklage

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Peter Dinklage

Olivier Sarkozy and Mary-Kate Olson

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Olivier Sarkozy and Mary-Kate Olson

Nina Campbell

37

Nina Campbell

Crispin Baynes

38

Crispin Baynes

Bill Martin

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Bill Martin MBE (born William Wylie MacPherson)

Henry Blofeld

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Henry Blofeld OBE (AKA “Blowers”, “Tycoon” and “Typhoon”)

Emma Sayle

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Nancy Cunard

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Elliot Bssila

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Joudie Kalla

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Alexa Jago

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Charlie Anson

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Sandra Howard

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Anne Naysmith

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Anne Naysmith (1937 - 2015, AKA “The Rag Lady of Chiswick”)

Claudine Longet

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Claudine Longet

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Sarah, Duchess of York (AKA “Fergie”, née Sarah Ferguson)

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Sir Gerald Nabarro (AKA “Old Whiskers” and “The Abominable Showman”, 1913 – 1973)

Tim Bell FI 1

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Teresa Gorman FI 1

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Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart FI 1

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Gloria Minghella FI 1

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Gloria Minghella MBE (AKA “the Queen Mum of the Isle of Wight”, 1930 – 2014)

Clarissa Dickson Wright FI 1

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Clarissa Dickson Wright (1947 – 2014)

Wayne Bryson FI 1

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Wayne Bryson

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Mary The Elephant (AKA ‘Murderous Mary’)

Fred Dibnah Fi 1

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Emeritus Professor Jane Somerville

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Russell Brand

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Lady Camilla Bloch FI 1

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Lady Camilla Bloch (born Lady Camilla Bingham)

Terry Deary FI 1

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Norma Major FI 1

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Dame Norma Major DBE

Jeannette Etheredge FI 1

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Jeannette Etheredge

Michael Chalky White FI 1

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Michael “Chalky” White

Nubar Gulbenkian FI 1

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Nubar Gulbenkian (Armenian: Նուբար Սարգիս Գյուլբենկյան, 1896 – 1972)

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Shireen Ritchie FI 1

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Shireen Ritchie, The Rt. Hon. The Baroness Ritchie (1945 - 2012)

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Dame Paddy was a delightful lady. I recall her functions at her home being packed to the rafters with the bold and the glorious. She knew how to mix a drink and she knew how to stick a spike in a robber. You should have mentioned she stuck the heel of her shoe into some imbecile who dared try and rob her in 1997.

  2. Like Yolanda I went to receptions at the home of Sir Julian and Lady Ridsdale. They were great occasions and their beautifully decorated residence just a perfect setting. I miss that era and am getting old myself now.

  3. WHERE’S GLENMORE TRENEAR-HARVEY WHEN YOU NEED HIM? I BET HE’LL CLAIM TO KNOW HER. I BET HE’LL CLAIM HE WAS INVOLVED IN THE WHOLE SAGA. I BET HE’LL CLAIM THEY GAVE LECTURES TOGETHER LATER ON. WHERE IS THE KNOW-ALL SPY MASTER? WE MUST BE TOLD!

  4. I love that film. Great that you shared a link to both the trailer and the whole thing. Thanks. I’ll watch this afternoon.

  5. She did nothing to help dear Gerry and Kate McCann to find their beloved daughter Madeleine from what I recall. That is very disappointing and I do not see why she is at all relevant now. Instead focus on FIND MADELEINE, FIND HER NOW.

    • Hmmm… from what I recall she was 86 when Madeleine went missing what exactly did you expect here to do? Set out of for the Algarve (was it?) with her spade and start digging?

      • Plainly. Gillian expects us all to do everything in our powers for ‘FIND MADELEINE, FIND HER NOW!’ and has done since I set up this publication in 2012. She is quite determined to remind us and has left hundreds of comments in this regard. She is about as exciting as other ranters such as Rod, Glenmore Trenear-Harvey (thankfully now gone), Sandra Shevey (thankfully quiet for the moment) and the ‘Rolf Harris is Innocent’ person (also thankfully mostly quiet these days).

        • Everything is nice and quiet Matthew, don’t put the kiss of death on it. Remember Rolf has an encore this week I think.

    • Actually Gillian, she has been working very hard on this issue, it’s just that she has been working undercover and couldn’t tell you about it. If she had, she would had have to kill you.

  6. There’s an error in Wikipedia. It states in her entry that she was the daughter-in-law of Sir Aurelian Ridsdale, but in his entry it states that Sir Julian was his nephew, not his son.

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