Godfrey was born on 13 October 1871, the son of William Alexander Godley and Laura Greaves Bird, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
He attended Wellington College, but on leaving following his fathers death had to seek employment in 1889 moving to Sumatra, Dutch East Indies where he was employed in coffee planting. He then moved to Siam employed on railway pioneering and construction. Finally he found himself in South Africa in 1893 where he enlisted in the Cape Mounted Rifles and was with the regiment when they annexed Pondoland in 1894, to become part of the Cape Colony.
He was discharged as medically unfit in 1895 due to dysentery and a fever he contracted in Siam, and joined the Natal Civil Service employed in the Mines and Treasury areas. He resigned from the Natal Civil Service in 1901 to be an assistant to Sir Godfrey Lagden who was Commissioner for Native Affairs in the Transvaal and chaired the Commission of Enquiry into Native Affairs in South Africa in 1903. By 1912 Archie was Chief Clerk in the Union Government Native Affairs Department.
In September 1916 he was commissioned into the SANLC as a Lieutenant Colonel and it is stated some 21,000 black members of the Corp served in France. Archie arrived with
the Corp in France in 1917 and was employed in various labour tasks including unloading ships, trains, building trenches, lumber jacking etc.
They were however segregated from the white troops and the local French population, which was to cause grave problems in the long term.
Archie's work with the SANLC was mainly concerned with HQ Staff and the SANLC received high praise for their abilities, so much so a request was made for a further 30,000 men as a result of which Archie returned to South Africa to arrange the recruitment. The SANLC were however finally returned to South Africa owing to discontent in the manner they were treated and amongst concerns a mutiny may break out. With the demise of the SANLC Archie was released from his military service in April 1918 to return full time to the Civil Service. He was invested as a Commander, Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) for his services in raising the SANLC, in 1919.
In October 1919 he was made Under-Secretary of State for Native Affairs and for one day during the Royal Visit of the Prince of Wales (King Edward Vlll) acted as the government escorting officer for the Prince. Archie retired the following year, and died in December 1934.
|Alexander Shepstone||Born 9 Aug 1900||Married Valda Mary Kirby|
|Godfrey Archibald Godley||
b: 13 Oct 1871 Aberdeenshire, Scotland
son of William Alexander Godley and Laura Greaves Bird
|Ruth Mary Shepstone||
b: 21 Sep 1880
daughter of Arthur Jesse Shepstone and Georgina Margaret Gem
Godfrey Archibald Godley
Ruth Mary Shepstone
|Alexander Shepstone Godley||
b: 9 Aug 1900
only son of Godfrey Archibald Godley and Ruth Mary Shepstone
|Godfrey Archibald Godley||Died 31 Dec 1934|
|Ruth Mary (Shepstone) Godley||Died 8 Oct 1958 East London, South Africa|
|GODLEY - On 8th October, 1958, at East London, South Africa, Ruth Mary Shepstone, wife of the late Colonel Godfrey Archibald Godley, C.B.E.. No letters please.|