Papers of Robin Ridgway relating to his war service between 1939-1944. The archive comprises letters primarily from Ridgway to his mother, with a smaller number to his brother, Harry (Henry R Ridgway); there are also a few letters from his mother to Ridgway.
Ridgway appears to have retained these letters after his mother's death. In the early 1960s, he compiled typed copies of the letters, and annotated several letters with additional information.
Ridgway wrote regularly to his mother during his active service; during quieter periods, he would wrote roughly every week, but less frequently during other periods. He wrote less frequently to his brother Harry, who it appears was also a officer based in the UK, but such is the discretion of the correspondence that it is not entirely clear of the post his brother held.
Ridgway's letters are mostly routine accounts of his everyday life and the people he encountered in Britain and India. As a staff officer working in intelligence, Ridgway would have been more than usually aware of wartime censorship requirements, and his letters reveal little in hard military information, or his personal views on the war and of the senior officers and politicians he encountered (there are a few examples where Ridgway gave letters to friends returning from India to give directly to his mother, where the content was considered more sensitive). Generally,however, Ridgway avoided commenting on the progress of the war, and at least with his mother, is sanguine about the British position.
Ridgway was also acquainted with senior political and military figures in India including Viceroy Linlithgow, as well as Generals Wavell and Auchinleck. At various points, he meets Lord Louis Mountbatten,Stafford Cripps, and General Bernard Montgomery, and offers oblique comments on their personalities. Ridgway is consistently guarded in his comments about these individuals, almost to the point of platitude, and we learn little about the political atmosphere in Delhi during a period of considerable political turmoil and military uncertainty in 1942-3. The exception is Auchinleck (and his wife) about whom he is consistently positive.
For the most part, Ridgway confines himself to fairly anodyne comments about his work and his social activities in Delhi and Simla, although it is also clear he travelled frequently around the subcontinent. Ridgway spends much time in referring to former friends, colleagues and acquaintances he has met or heard from during the war. He showed particular interest in former colleagues and pupils of Winchester College, where he taught in the 1930s. and with many of whom he retained close contacts.
Ridgway continued to write to his mother, until her sudden death in mid-November 1943.