Ronald Atterbury1 is an elderly (76 at the time of Johnny and the Dead) resident of Blackbury, a retired executive of the Blackbury Rubber Boot Co. and volunteer with the British Legion. He encounters Johnny Maxwell arriving just too late to find the late Tommy Atkins and takes up the fight to preserve Blackbury's cemetery as founder and president of the Blackbury Volunteers. His military and business experience allows him to manipulate United Amalgamated Consolidated Holdings and their hired politician in the public forum and save the grounds for the living if not the Dead, who find they don't need it any more.
1The Blackbury Guardian refers to him as Arthur Atterbury, in the best journalistic tradition of getting the name wrong. It also identifies him as a war hero: this is probably true in general, no details are given.