Lady Paddy Ridsdale

Lady Paddy Ridsdale

Birth
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Death 16 Dec 2009 (aged 88)
England
Burial Brompton, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England
Memorial ID 45581395 · View Source
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Literary Folk Figure. The distinguished wife of a Member of Parliament and a significant political figure in her own right, she shall instead be remembered as the real-life Miss Moneypenny of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. Born Victoire Evelyn Patricia Bennett to a wealthy and distinguished family, she was well educated, studying architecture at the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1939 Paddy took a sectretarial job with naval intelligence, the only girl working in the legendary Room 39 for seven officers, including Ian Fleming, under the command of Admiral John Godfrey, who was to live in fiction as Bond's boss "M". Paddy left in 1942 to marry Julian Ridsdale (deceased 2004), but continued her involvement with "Operation Mincemeat"; her job was to be the "girlfriend" of "Major William Martin, Royal Marines", talking about him loudly in public, buying him presents, and sending him love letters and telegrams. The trap was sprung in 1943; an unidentified body was dressed in "Major Martin's" uniform carrying theatre tickets and Paddy's letters along with fake plans for an Allied invasion of Greece and Sardenia, and dumped off the Spanish coast, a supposed crash victim; the Germans took the bait (dispatch of the time: "Mincemeat swallowed whole, hook, line, and sinker"), believing the false documents and failing adequately to prepare for the invasion of Sicily. After the war she was her husband's loyal partner thru a long career in politics, sharing his interest in Japan and heading a club for the wives of Conservative MPs. Becoming "Lady" when Sir Julian was knighted in 1981, she was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) for her own services in 1991. Tough all her life, Paddy received publicity in 1997 when she was mugged and then disabled her attacker by kicking him in the groin with her spike heel. At her death, Dame Paddy lived on as Miss Moneypenny in Fleming's books and in numerous films; the story of Operation Mincemeat was told in the 1956 "The Man Who Never Was" with Paddy played by Gloria Grahme. Answering the inevitable question, given Miss Moneypenny's unrequited love for Bond, she said that Fleming "had so many girlfriends I was not tempted to become one of them".

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 17 Dec 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 45581395
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lady Paddy Ridsdale (11 Oct 1921–16 Dec 2009), Find a Grave Memorial no. 45581395, citing St. Mary The Boltons, Brompton, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .