Richard Joseph (Dick) Ifield
From: Bud and Joan
Wonderful web site for Mr. Richard Ifield. The Internet has been grossly lacking data concerning this gentleman and I'm delighted to see this new web site now on the web for all to see.
It has been more than 40 years since I was in undergraduate engineering school here in the United States and more than 30 years since graduate school but, even back then, Richard Ifield was considered an icon and a role model for American engineering students. We read much about his many contributions and especially the Ifield pump. I never quite understood why he was never given the title, Sir Richard Ifield. Frank Whittle was knighted and even people such as Elton John in the entertainment field. So, how did England ever overlook paying Richard Ifield this much deserved tribute. He did so much to advance engineering in England and he certainly should have been given more credit. I can only assume there must be some ridiculous rule that one must be native to UK in order to be knighted or some other silly restriction. I understand that his ancestors were from Ifield England but he was actually born in Australia to which he returned.
You did a fine job creating this site and I assume RJ Ifield must have kept a journal on his experiences, since so much factual documentation is included. The writing also has a very delightful personal touch. I have recommended my associates visit this website for a fascinating reading about this great man.
From: David McMullen
I doubt whether you will have picked up the news of Sir Kenneth Corley's death on 6 March at the age of 96. He was Chairman of Lucas from 1969 to 1973 and would have known your father from the time he joined the Company.
While looking for references to Sir Kenneth, I came across your father's most intersting life story. It was not entirely unknown to me, as a Lucas man all my working life including 3 years in Melbourne (1966-70). I think he also gets a fair write-up in "Lucas - The First Hundred Years" Vol 2, written by Harold Knockolds and published in 1978 by David & Charles, ISBN 0-7153-7316-1.
On my return from Australia I was a member of Sir Kenneth's staff and subsequently Sir Bernard Scott's PA. I think it's certainly true that with Earnshaw's death and Sir Bertram Waring's retirement, your father's detractors gained strength, which would have been difficult, if not impossible to combat from the remoteness of Australia.
Alas Lucas is no more, following an ill-advised merger with Varity in 1996, various susbsequent disposals, including CAV to Delphi and Perkins Engines to Caterpillar, and then the takeover of what was left by TRW. Not clear what they wanted, because they then sold Lucas Aerospace to Northrop-Grumman and the remaining automotive business to Blackstone - a private equity firm.
With my kind regards,
P.S. I think the answer to Bud Gray must be that even Whittle's recognition came very late and grudgingly. The English don't respect engineers properly and it is doubtful whether the Australian honours system would have had your father on its radar.