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Australian Inventor Leader in His Field

LAST WEEK, at 73, one of Australia’s most prolific and creative inventors died of cancer. Richard Ifield shunned publicity all his life but he was an immensely accomplished inventor. Before World War II he invented a fuel pump system that was to become standard equipment on early jet aircraft. That invention alone earned Lucas Industries, the company that sponsored Ifield, millions of pounds through the sale of manufacturing licences.

At one stage in Britain during the war the British army’s advanced design division, for whom Ifield had prepared tank steering and transmission designs, was competing for his services with the people developing jet engines. The jet people won.

Ifield was a particularly Australian inventor. A very private man, undemonstrative but with an unpredictable sense of humor, he avoided not only publicity but also commercial entrapment.Bob Ifield

He had no formal engineering qualifications but nonetheless was recognised by the top English and Australian engineering bodies. Despite his lack of qualifications he was registered as a chartered engineer, a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Institution of Engineers, Australia.

Ifield was born in 1909 in Campsie, Sydney, and spent much of his early life at Eastwood. In a small volume of memoirs which he wrote but never sought to have published Ifield said that at school he was thought of as “an inattentive dreamer.”

The family fortunes were such that young Ifield left School before he was 14 to seek full-time employment. He worked as a junior laborer and at other unskilled jobs until the family’s financial position improved to the point where he could do a 12month draughtsmanship course.

Ifield obtained his draughtsmanship diploma in 1925 and for the next seven years he worked for various companies, seeking knowledge and ex-perience. One company, Brady Franks, patented the first of Ifield’s inventions to be used commercially. This was a special hinge designed to overcome problems with the heavy bronze doors of the Melbourne War Memorial.

Ifield developed a strong interest in motor cycles. He was not a particularly skilled rider but achieved considerable success, including a long-standing Australian quarter-mile record, because he modified the bikes to improve their performance.

He developed his own foot-operated gear change which was more efficient and more adaptable than other similar devices developed overseas and, in 1932, went into business for himself producing and selling his device. He expanded to sell bikes and other parts but later he described the three years up to 1935 as his leanest.

In 1933 Ifield married and in 1935 he sold his business, borrowed some money from relatives and he and his wife set off to England in search of fame and fortune. It was a journey one of Ifield’s sons, Frank, was to take on the road to success as a singer.

Going to England was a big gamble. Many had tried and failed. But as Ifield said of himself: “I have always been an optimist, without which characteristic no inventor could even begin along the road to success.”

The young Australian had a swag of ideas and inventions but he was hoping particularly to interest someone in his idea for an infinitely variable transmission for use in motor vehicles. After a seemingly endless series of interviews, the Riley Car Company became his first sponsor and paid him a retaining fee. He stayed with Riley until 1938.

A scheme for a restricted ratio differential was transformed into a prototype and the army, in particular, was very impressed. In the end the differential was never produced but the company Ifield founded later in Australia, Ifield Engineering, is pursuing the same differential principle again.

In 1940, Ifield joined Lucas Industries, who needed a new fuel pump for a top secret project: the jet engine. Ifield was to maintain a business association with the company for the next 30 years.

In his memoirs, Ifield wrote that he knew of no successful jet engine in the immediate post-war period that did not use his pump and control system. Even today many aircraft gas turbine engines use Ifield fuel pumps and control systems based on his inventions.

But in 1948, mainly for personal reasons, and in spite of the blandishments of the Lucas management, Ifield decided to give up his position as chief engineer of the Lucas Gas Turbine Company and return to Australia.

The many small inventions and discoveries which followed may sound arcane to the layman but are important in industry. Ifield established a law of rolling and sliding friction which he disclosed at the 1969 jubilee conference of the Institution of Engineers, Australia.

At a simpler level, his wife called him one day to fix the toilet. He took off the lid to have a look, decided it could be done more efficiently and invented a new toilet flushing system.

But perhaps the most important project Ifield worked on back in Australia was his constantly or infinitely variable transmission. When he first put forward the concept, fuel considerations were not so important. Now, with the experience of energy shortages, the idea has been revived. Ifield Engineering currently has a contract from Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in the US to supply a prototype of a hydrostatic form of a constantly variable transmission.

Ifield retired from full-time service in his family company in 1974 but continued to work on his ideas which produced something like 250 provisional patents. Of these, 112 were accepted as world-wide patent inventions.

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One of the most respected engineers of his time with over 250 provisional patents and over 112 accepted as world wide patented inventions. Many people within and outside of the engineering field, will remember this man – Dick Ifield.

Dick Ifield was born on the 27th of April 1909 at Campsie near Sydney, in New South Wales, Australia and, like many past and current inventors whom others class as genius, Dick had very limited schooling. Due to the financial needs of his family, he was forced to leave school before his forteenth birthday and after only two years of high school. Throughout his school years he was regarded as an inattentive dreamer.

One of the most respected engineers of his time with over 250 provisional patents and over 112 accepted as world wide patented inventions. Many people within and outside of the engineering field, will remember this man – Dick Ifield.

Dick black and white image

Dick Ifield was born on the 27th of April 1909 at Campsie near Sydney, in New South Wales, Australia and, like many past and current inventors whom others class as genius, Dick had very limited schooling. Due to the financial needs of his family, he was forced to leave school before his forteenth birthday and after only two years of high school. Throughout his school years he was regarded as an inattentive dreamer.

He began work as a builder’s junior labourer and he worked at a variety of unskilled jobs for about sixteen months, after which the family finances had improved sufficiently for him to take a twelve month’s course in draughtsmanship. While there, he learned to prepare water coloured drawings of mechanisms and he received the School Diploma in February 1925 and his career as a designing engineer then began. His ability to produce attractive water coloured drawings of machines proved of great value when he sought sponsors for his inventions in later years, because such drawings were self explanatory.

His inventions and designs range from his earliest (a hinge of unique design, to solve a difficult problem encountered with the heavy bronze doors at the Melbourne War Memorial Building and later for other similar applications) to fuel systems for the earliest jet engines, which are still used today in the supersonic passenger aircraft – the Concorde.


Dick’s Australian Drawing Office Experiences 1925 to 1932

DICK’S PERSONAL STORY – Dick’s Australian Drawing Office Experiences 1925 to 1932

Dick Ifield was born Richard Joseph Ifield of parents John Joseph and Amelia Frances (nee Long). He was born on the 27th of April 1909 at Campsie near Sydney, in New South Wales, Australia. He was one of ten children, eight brothers and sisters and one half sister from his fathers previous marriage.

Like many past and current inventors whom others class as genius, Dick had vey limited schooling. Almost the whole of his primary education was at Eastwood Public School. This was followed by two years at Ashfield Junior Technical School. Throughout his school years he was regarded as an inattentive dreamer, yet he was always among the youngest children in his classes and he easily passed all examinations.

While at primary school, he contributed to the family income, by his small earnings from delivering newspapers each morning and from helping a bread carter on Saturdays. While at Ashfield school, he earned a small income by helping with the delivery of fruit and vegetables on Saturdays but, due to his father’s illness and family financial circumstances, it was necessary for him to leave before the end of his second year of high school to seek full time employment. This he did before he was fourteen years old, to help support the family.

He began work as a builder’s junior labourer and he worked at a variety of unskilled jobs for about sixteen months, after which the family finances had improved sufficiently for him to take a twelve month’s course in draughtsmanship, at The Sydney School of Mechanical Drawings and Architecture. Here, he learned to prepare water coloured drawings of mechanisms, for which he had natural talents, so he became a star pupil. He receive the School Diploma in February 1925 and his career as a design engineer began. His ability to produce attractive water coloured drawings of machines proved of great value when he sought sponsors for his inventions in later years, because such drawings were self explanatory.

Dick held many positions in his early career, to feed his thirst for knowledge to enhance his obvious, inherent talents.
Dick once said that “After I received my draughtsmanship Diploma, I had no difficulty in gaining employment as a junior draftsman, but I must have been a very unsatisfactory employee, because although I was well liked and gave complete satisfaction in my work, I was restless in seeking the type of work which gave me the greatest opportunities for employing my inventive talents.”

Even at the height of the depression years, Dick never joined queues for jobs; he never failed to obtain any position he applied for and he was never dismissed from any position. But, he left each job as soon as he had learned all he wanted to know about that particular branch of engineering and, he was a fast learner.

As a junior draftsman, his first employer was The Sydney Steel Company; the second was The James Steel Engineering Company, both only briefly because they were concerned with structural engineering and of little interest to him. His third job with The Tool and Engineering Company (T.E.C.) was more interesting. He tried his hand at electrical draughtsmanship at The Electrical Control and Engineering Company, but this was terminated by a strike and which resulted in a ‘lock out’. He then joined Brady Franks Limited, until that Company went into voluntary liquidation, following the deaths of the Principals.

T.E.C. not only manufactured precision tools such as taps, dies, drills, etc. for machine tools; they also manufactured many replacement components for all classes of motor vehicles. These included spiral crown gears and pinions; worms and worm wheels; gearbox gears and other gears of all forms; axles and propeller shafts; valves and camshafts and a variety of other engine and transmission components. The machinery producing these parts was the most modern at that time and it was of great interest to Dick, as a designer and as affecting the design details of his inventions, which he pursued as a spare time activity.

T.E.C. thought they needed a full time draftsman but Dick was able to meet all their drafting requirements in about 20% of his working hours, so he had plenty of time to study their machines and manufacturing methods. He was well liked by the skilled craftsmen they employed, who told him everything he wished to know. There were two working Directors; Cook, who took a fatherly interest in him and encouraged him to learn all he could about their machines and products; Corneilson, who objected strongly to his interfering with production, by talking to the men about their work. He realised that he was the cause of several heated arguments between the two Directors, so he regretfully resigned.

Brady Franks Ltd. were concerned mainly with the manufacture and fitting of steel and bronze equipment for new buildings, such as steel window frames; balustrading for stairways and landings; collapsible steel gates; bronze grilles, door, ornamental mouldings, foundation plates and the like. Initially Dick thought their work would not interest him for long, but the ornamental bronzework appealed to his artistic senses; some of the work presented challenges in draughtsmanship; from the start he was treated as a designer, rather than as a junior draftsman and the work took him to many new buildings under construction, to measure up openings and stairways and to instruct the fitters on the site.

During the time Dick was with Brady Franks, he was responsible for much of their work on buildings such as Grace House; Asbestos House, The Government Savings Bank of N.S.W. (which became the Taxation Office); the Commonwealth Bank; the Bank of N.S.W.; the Presbyterian Church Hall; the Melbourne and Sydney War Memorial buildings and many others.

Brady Franks produced their own bronze castings and Dick personally made some of the commemoration plate patterns; they did their own electroplating and developed their own fuse welding techniques. Dick took part in the design of some special purpose machines made to simplify production and learned many things of value for his later career.

Brady Franks Patented and employed the first of Dick’s inventions to be used commercially; this being a hinge of unique design, to solve a difficult problem encountered with the heavy bronze doors from the Melbourne War Memorial Building and later for other similar applications. By his 21st year, he was acknowledged as their Chief Designer.

On the liquidation of Brady Franks, the Chief Engineer and the General Manager (Mr. Holt), set up rival Companies and both asked Dick to join them. Instead, he had decided to set up his own small manufacturing business, beginning with the manufacture of his foot gear change device, for motorcycles. Holt had taken a fatherly interest in him and he asked him what his future plans were. Dick told him of his inventions and that he intended to seek sponsors for them in England. Holt warned him against his plans, saying that even the Chairman of B.H.P. had returned to Australia with a “broken heart”, after failing to interest motor manufactures in an excellent invention of his for the steering system of motor cars. Dick’s reply was: “The Chairman of B.H.P. was a wealthy man, who could afford to give up with a broken heart, I cannot”. He learned later, how difficult it was to gain sponsorship for new inventions, affecting the motor car industry.

Dick had always been interested in working machines, about which he seemed to possess an inherent knowledge, including an inherent ‘sympathy’ for the stresses and strains imposed on materials. This resulted in spare time involvement with motor cycles, after he left drawing school. Previously he had accompanied his father on frequent weekend bush walks, during which he learned to appreciate the beauty, perfection and simplicity of nature, causing him to realise that the perfect solution to even the most difficult problems is invariably a simple one. This object lesson was of value to him throughout his engineering career.

He never regarded his very limited formal education as being a handicap to his career. Through reading, he gradually improved his general knowledge and improved his written and verbal command of the English language. Through his experiences as a junior labourer in a variety of jobs, he learned to understand the thoughts and behaviour of the labouring classes and tradesmen with whom he associated and this supported his leadership talents later in his career. He had learned the conventions of draughtsmanship and his only limitation was in higher mathematics.

Dick always said that he could have gained knowledge of higher mathematics from book studies, but he experienced a discipline against doing so. He had a good understanding of trigonometry, algebra and logarithms and he developed his own methods for solving difficult mathematical problems, some of which defeated trained mathematicians, but this was a misnomer; his methods were relatively slow and laborious, but they gave him a unique approach to problems, compensating for the slowness of his calculations. For many years, his lack of formal education in mathematics was a handicap in his discussions with his critics, because they spoke different mathematical languages. After his inventive talents were recognised, it became obligatory for his critics to understand his mathematical language.

Dick always believed that, if he had been formally educated in engineering subjects, his inherent inventive talents would have become suppressed. He used to say that: “My most successful inventions were inspired by ‘a feeling in my bones’ about what is right and what is wrong, unsupported by learned information, or from experiences gained during my present lifetime”. “Several of my colleagues referred to this as an ‘Ifield instinct’, or ‘intuition’, which are really only other names for inherent knowledge”. “Some destructive critics plagued me throughout my career, but these are the ‘abominable no men’, who seem to be inherently destructive in their comments about anything new to them”.
“Certainly we learn far more from experiences in life, than we can ever learn in schools. This particularly applies to wisdom in understanding people and in my opinion, the training of schoolteachers should include at least ten years of experience outside the cloistered precincts of schools and universities”.



In 1932, Dick began producing his foot gear change device to orders, in a small garage machine shop which he rented. This was an attractively finished product, with chromium plated external components, supplied and fitted to customers motor cycles at £2-10-0 pound each, or sold through distributors at £2-0-0 pound each.

The business began in a promising way and he put all the income he could afford into ordering gross lots of increasing numbers of components, to increase his profit margins. Although he had no money, the future seemed promising enough for his marriage to his wife Hannah Muriel (nee Livesey) on the 1st July 1933, but this promise was never fulfilled.

Dick’s venture was a failure, because motor cyclists at the time had little money. Many wanted the gear change but could not afford it. Some ordered and promised to pay next week, but next week never came; others wanted time payment and few of these completed the payments. Later, when people said that they used his gear change, Dick wondered if they paid for them.

It was necessary to increase his income, so he and Muriel rented a ‘live in’ shop in Summer Hill, where he supplemented his income from the sale of his gear changes and by the sale of cycles and motor cycle spares. Dick also sold a few special RJI bicycles, his sole contribution to their manufacture, being the supply of the bronze RJI badges brazed to the steering heads, but he was always a ‘soft touch’ for the non paying fraternity and he found that he was working long hours for a very bare living. His responsibilities increased with the birth of their first son, Richard James, at Summer Hill.

Dick had gained an interview with S. F. Edge, of Napier fame, who was visiting Sydney and he had shown him his Provisionally Patented invention for an infinitely variable transmission for motor cars. He liked Dick’s ideas, but Dick did not like his. He offered to introduce Dick to important people in the British motor car industry, in return for a 50% share of all profit from the sale of his Patents. Dick decided to move to England and to seek sponsors for his inventions, without such costly help. He believed that he could establish a reputation as a successful inventor within five years and could then return to Australia, with an open market for his later inventions. Dick was always an optimist, “without which characteristic no inventor could ever begin along the road to success.”

Dick sold his business at the bare cost of the stock at that time, the price, he figured, was about 100 pounds and the purchaser agreed to pay this off at 10 pounds per month, by remittances to me in England. Dick then borrowed sufficient money from his wife’s relatives for their boat fares and a little more for their first few weeks in England.

The sea journey took eleven weeks, then they travelled directly to Coventry, where they found lodgings in the home of a crusty old woman, until he found a sponsor for his inventions.

He wrote several letters to the person who had contracted to pay for his stock in Australia and eventually he received a reply from the police, informing him that the addressee was in jail for fraud and there was no possibility of recovering any money owed to him. Because of this, the financial position soon became so desperate that Dick sold his gold watch chain and some items of his wife’s jewellery, in order to survive.

This struggle for survival continued until December of that year, after which Dick received a retaining fee from the Riley Car Company, who agreed to sponsor his inventions. The family was never without food, clothing and somewhere to sleep, but throughout that period Dick was continually worried about the tomorrow’s.

At the time of their arrival in England, the technical press were showing much interest in new transmission systems, so Dick decided to concentrate on seeking a sponsor for his variable speed transmission invention, which was based on a differential friction drive, where only part of the power was transmitted through the friction drive mechanism. Austin car company, had developed the Hayes transmission for fitting to their largest cars; this was an ingenious mechanical friction drive transmitting the whole power and Dick regarded his scheme as being superior.

Hobbs was another Australian inventor of an automatic transmission system of ingenious design. This had been developed by Maudsley and its performance was highly praised in the technical press. A. C. Wickman had developed a more complex version of the Hobbs transmission, under contract to its Swedish inventor and this also gave an excellent performance in road tests. On the other hand, there were many impractical proposals by would-be-inventors and it was difficult to arouse interest among motor car manufacturers for yet another automatic transmission scheme.

On arrival in Coventry, Dick wrote to all the motor car and motor cycle manufacturers enclosing a drawing and description of his transmission scheme. Most of the replies he received were refusals, either kindly or curtly worded, but he received some requests to visit company engineers for discussions.

A. C. Wickman were interested only in a development contract from Dick, so they were of no use as sponsors.

Velocette wanted only to offer Dick a position as a designer, but he did not expect them to be interested in his transmission, as designed for motor cars.

The Rover Company referred him to Scott Iverson and he learned later that this was like selling coals to Newcastle, because he was regarded as the most prolific inventor in Britain at that time. He spent several hours with Dick, offering kindly constructive criticism and although he rejected Dick’s proposals on behalf of Rover, his advice was of considerable value, because it caused Dick to think about alternatives, which later led to his hydrostatic transmission scheme, the pump of which formed the basis of his ultimate successes in his inventive career.


DICK’S PERSONAL STORY – The Influence of Motor Cycles On Dick’s Career

Although motor cycling was never more than an educational hobby for Dick, he said that, more people in Australia remembered him for his motor cycling achievements, than for the more important achievements of his life. Whereas, they remembered his brother John for his riding achievements, they remembered Dick, mainly for his achievements in improving the performances of standard motor cycles. These achievements were important to his subsequent career, because they increased his confidence in his engineering talents and they caused him to concentrate these talents on prime movers and transmission systems.

In his seventeenth year, his brother John and he shared in the purchase of a second hand 1923 model 350cc A.J.S. This partnership was a failure, because John wanted only to ride it and Dick wanted only to pull it apart and improve its performance. They sold that machine and thereafter owned separate machines.

Because it was the cheapest machine available, Dick purchased a second hand 1918 model twin cylinder Harley Davidson, which was a heavy clumsy thing to ride, but it offered plenty of scope for performance improvements. He won an invitation competition event and then joined the organising motor cycle club. This enabled him to test his future improvements, in competition with other riders and machines.

He replaced the Harley Davidson with a new 1928 model 350cc A.J.S., which he used mainly in reliability trials with moderate success, but with increasing riding skills.

Later, he replaced the A.J.S. with a new 1930 model 350cc Calthorpe, which he said, was a delight to ride and gave him plenty of scope for improving performances, because the Calthorpe Company had not developed their machines for competitive work. He modified the Calthorpe engine in many important ways and he replaced the gear change with a device of his own design and manufacture.Gear Change Device

This gave him advantages over other competitors, especially for small circuit road races and other events necessitating frequent gear changing.

Dick won several trophies on the Calthorpe; he established new hill climbing records and a new Australian Record for the two way quarter mile standing start. He received a letter from the Calthorpe Company, congratulating him and seeking information on his tuning techniques, because they wished to achieve similar performances. This gave a boost to his engineering ego and it was a factor influencing his later decision to take his ideas to England, because there were no motor car or motor cycle manufacturers in Australia.

In 1932, Dick replaced the Calthorpe with a 490cc International Norton and he soon regretted doings so, because he then had insufficient funds to make worthwhile improvements and he could only compete on even terms with more experienced riders on similar machines. This was his last motor cycle and he sold it when he married in the following year.

Long after he left Australia, his brother John continued to compete successfully in motor cycle events. In a discussion, after his return to Australia, they realised that if they had combined Dick’s tuning talents with John’s riding talents, they would have become a formidable partnership in motor cycle competition, but this would not have given Dick the satisfaction he gained from his chosen career.

Several motor cyclists asked him to make and fit his positive foot operated gear change device to their machines and this led to the beginning of an independent career, which will be discussed later.

Many one time motor cyclists believe that Dick’s gear change device was his invention in principle, but this is incorrect. The principle had been employed for the Isle of Man T.T. motor cycles in the previous year, however Dick’s design was more simple and more readily adaptable to machines of different makes; also for application to Harley Davidson and Indian machines, he included the clutch lifting and re-engaging function with the pedal movement, but he sold few of these, mainly because they were more expensive.

Dick’s work in tuning motor cycles, caused him to realise many of the shortcomings of internal combustion engines and step change transmissions so he began evolving new designs to avoid these shortcomings. During that time, he took out his first Provisional Patent on engine valves, to provide increasing breathing capacity and he evolved a scheme for an infinitely variable transmission. He discussed these ideas with the manager of P.& R. Williams, who could only recommend that he should submit his ideas to overseas manufactures.



Although Rileys were the first to sponsor Dick’s inventions, they drove him to desperation for several months, by requesting repeat interviews at about weekly intervals, seemingly without progress. Dick’s interviews were with Stanley Riley, who wasted most of the time in talking about gardens, racing cars and any topic other than a contract. Dick later learned that this was common practice in England; the purpose being to assess the qualities of the person being interviewed, before entering into any Agreement.

In desperation, Dick sought the advice of Monty Toombs, who was the Technical Editor of ‘The Autocar’. He asked if he though Rileys, was in fact interested, and he said “They probably are interested and you must learn to be patient with us slow thinking Englishmen”. He asked to see Dick’s drawings. He showed him the transmission drawing and also the scheme for his restricted ration differential which he had not shown to Rileys. Monty Toombs was most enthusiastic about Dick’s differential, saying that Rileys would be particularly interested, because this would give them an advantage in their efforts to gain War Office contracts for staff cars.

On Monty Toombs advice, Dick showed his restricted ratio differential to Stanley Riley, who called other engineers to look at it. Within a few days, the Chairman, Victor Riley, asked him to sign an Agreement to the following terms:
1. Dick was to provide all drawings for the manufacture of his inventions and Rileys were to pay him a retaining fee equivalent to a designer’s salary.
2. Rileys would make, develop and exploit Dick’s inventions to their mutual advantage.
3. Rileys would pay Dick 5% of all income from Royalties and Licence fees arising from his inventions and would pay similar Royalties on units they produced.

Dick learned later that this was a standard form of agreement between Companies and freelance inventors seeking sponsorship, apart from the fact that they should have paid him an option fee of 100 pound for each inventions included in the contract and this would have been particularly welcome at that time.

Rileys were a family Company, whose founder William Riley had retired and the Chief Executives were all Riley brothers as follows: Group Chairman – Victor Riley. Chief Engineer, Riley (Coventry) Limited – Stanley Riley. General Manager, Riley Engine Company – Percy Riley. General Manager, Riley Motor Body Company – Allen Riley. Sales Manager, Ted Riley. Competition Manager – Rupert Riley, a cousin of the brothers. He was given the responsibility for testing and demonstrating Dick’s differential.

In Dick’s work, he was concerned only with Victor, Stanley and Rupert, but he discussed design details with Rush (the Chief Designer) and he made lasting friendships with three designers, Ted Jones and the brothers Frank and Leslie Freeman.

Dick’s work with Rileys began in December 1935 and the family then moved into a furnished house for several months, before furnishing a rented house, where their second and third sons Kenneth John and Francis Edward were born.

The differential prototypes, made to Dick’s drawings, were completeled successfully, without any development being necessary and a Riley car so fitted gave an outstanding demonstration in competition with army staff cars at Farnborough. The War Office officials were very impressed and they placed an order for the conversion of some of their existing staff cars for further testing, with the expectation that this would lead to the standardisation of Dick’s differential on all their wheeled vehicles. Dick was jubilant, but this was of no help to the Rileys in selling their cars. Dick designed the differential as ordered, but it was never made.

On Riley’s liquidation, they were taken over by the Nuffield Group, but Victor Riley said that Dick’s Agreement was with him and he asked Dick to continue his design work at Beans Industries, of which he was the major shareholder. He assured Dick that Beans would take action to fulfil the War Office order and would pursue the development and exploitation of this and Dick’s other inventions.

During the slow train journeys between Coventry and Tipton, where Beans Industries were located, Dick evolved improvements to his peculiar brand of mathematics, based on ‘Ifield Magic Numbers’ and on an ‘octal’ system of numbers, as now employed for modern computers. Dick once said that “I am afraid I caused some waste of time among the Beans Industries technical staff, who became very interested in my system of mathematics, including Cecil Bianchi, the General Manager, until eventually he said “Ifield you are like a breath of fresh air from outer space, but we have work to do, so please stop showing us these things”.”

Captain George Eyston’s 3000 horsepower record breaking car ‘Thunderbolt’ was built by Beans Industries while Dick was there and he contributed by showing how the excessively heavy clutch pedal loadings could be greatly reduced.

Although he enjoyed talking to Dick about his ideas and was very friendly towards Dick, Cecil Bianchi refused to spend Company money for the development of his inventions, from which his Company would gain no benefit, so no action was taken by that Company. It was obvious that Victor Riley was using Beans Industries to hold Dick ‘on ice’, until he was ready to personally profit from his inventions. Dick therefore reviewed his position.

While working at Beans Industries, Dick had prepared coloured drawings of several useful inventions and he had begun to develop a design for a hydrostatic transmission which appeared to be very attractive for motor cars. He had learned that his name was known to the Chief Engineers of several vehicle manufacturers, as the result of the successful demonstration of his differential, so he was far better prepared for seeking a new sponsor, than was the case when he first arrived in England.

Dick believed that Rileys had invalidated their Agreement and he confirmed this with a Solicitor, who obtained Victor Riley’s reluctant consent to release him from this Agreement.

Cecil Bianchi introduced Dick to Stephen Guy, of Guy Motors, who produced two wheel drive ‘Guy Ant’ vehicles and four wheel drive ‘Guy Quad Ant’ vehicles for the army. Stephen Guy was aware of the successful tests on Dick’s differential and was anxious to employ his differentials for their vehicles, but he said that the differentials should be produced by a Company not concerned with vehicle manufacture. He said that Bendix Brakes Limited (a subsidiary of Joseph Lucas Limited) were looking for such a new product and their General Manager, Captain Irving, was a very good friend of his. He telephoned Irving and made an appointment for Dick the same day.

Oliver Lucas engaged Irving as General Manager and Chief Engineer of Bendix, to restore the profitability of that Company. Bendix brakes were in decreasing demand and most cars were being equipped with the superior Girling brakes, so Irving was looking for a product to replace the failing brake business. In fact Lucas later took over Girling Limited and the name Bendix Brakes Limited was abandoned.



Dick enjoyed the usual preliminary social chat with Captain Irving and they experienced a mutual admiration, a close friendship which continued until Captain Irving’s death in 1950. (they had common ground in their dislike of L. C. Ord and Irving was interested in Dick’s comments on the ‘Thunderbolt’ record breaking car.) He admired Dick’s inventive capacity, the quality of his drawings and the determination he had shown to achieve acceptance of his ideas. Dick admired him as a wise and kindly man, of proven engineering qualities.

Bendix entered into an Agreement with Dick without delay. This was in April 1938; three years to the month after his arrival in England. This Agreement was similar to the one he had with Rileys, with the exception that it included provision for the payment of a 100 pounds option fee to Dick, for each invention taken up by the Company, beginning with his differential. In fact they later paid two other similar option fees, one for a pump design, the other for his hydrostatic transmission design.

The option fee allowed Dick to move his family to a larger and nicer rented house in Solihull, where their fourth son William Robert, was born. Previously, on the rare occasion he had needed a motor car, the Freeman brothers had kindly lent him theirs. Now at a cost of 18 pounds, he bought a second hand Rover, which served him well for about twelve months, after which he sold it for 13 pounds, because he then had full use of a Company owned Riley Kestrel fitted with his differential.

Bendix seemed to be a collection centre for displaced leading engineers. In addition to Irving, displaced from Sunbeam as a result of a take-over; their design staff included the previous Chief Engineers of A.J.S. and Calthorpe, both also displaced as a result of a take-over. Trevor Lawrence, previously Chief Designer at Calthorpe, became a close friend and he was later concerned with Dick’s work on jet engines, as the Resident Technical Officer for the RAF.

Bendix obtained the two prototype differentials from Rileys, one of these was fitted to a 1936 Riley Kestrel car for demonstration purposes; the other was prepared as an exhibit at the 1939 Earls Court Motor Show, where it aroused the interest of engineers from various vehicle manufacturing Companies. Dick’s family still has the exhibition unit, but the other differential was lost, when Girling moved into the Bendix building.

There were frequent changes in the army technical staff at Farnborough and it was found that no one there had any knowledge of the previous demonstrations, or of the orders which had been placed. It was necessary to repeat the Farnborough demonstrations, using the Riley Kestrel for that purpose. These demonstrations were as successful as were the previous ones and an order was placed for one of Dick’s differentials to be made and fitted to a Guy ‘Ant’ vehicle for full approval testing.

Dick quickly completed the design and details and the unit was quickly made by David Brown Limited; it was fitted to the vehicle and rushed to Farnborough, but their efforts were in vain. The gears had been made of KE 805 steel, as Dick had specified, but instead of his specified oil hardening and tempering, David Brown had water quenched them after passing them through a case hardening furnace, so they were as brittle as glass. As a result, all the gears broke up into small pieces on test at Farnborough.

David Brown replaced the broken parts at their cost, but it was too late. A new obstacle arrived at Farnborough, an ‘abominable no man’ named Sheryer, whose approval was required for all new equipment ordered for the army. After a series of tests, Sheryer agreed that Dick’s differential may avoid the loss of some vehicles and their crews, but he claimed that its introduction would interfere with production and that this was of first importance. He therefore refused to give approval for production.

Farnborough continued to use the vehicle for special braking tests, because Dick’s differential prevented independent locking of the wheels; this was one of its features, but Dick saw no value in testing brakes in this way.

Irving sought to gain the support of the vehicle manufactures supplying the army, because there was no other outlet for Dick’s differential at that time. He arranged visits by Dick to Guy, Crossley, Daimler and Ford, who produced a variety of two wheel and four wheel drive vehicles for the army. All were convinced of the value of the differential and all claimed that its introduction would have no effect on vehicle production rates. In all cases, Dick was asked to prepare designs for their particular vehicles and they stated that they would fit them, with or without Sheryer’s approval.

About that time, the newspapers showed photographs of army vehicles and ambulances bogged down, with the wheels on one side in muddy verges, resulting from attempts to pass one another on narrow French roads. It was claimed that many hundreds of vehicles were lost in this way and many of their crews were killed or captured. Dick and his colleges believed that this evidence of the need, plus the support of the vehicle manufactures, would prevail against Sheryer’s objections. Dick completed the designs, but to no avail because in all cases, manufacture was prevented on Sheryer’s orders. Finally, Bendix reluctantly gave up their option of Dick’s differential.

Bendix were seeking to enter the market for hydraulic powered aircraft brakes. They had developed a system for approval testing, but they were dissatisfied with the performance and life of existing hydraulic pumps. Dick showed Irving his design for an internal helical gear pump and Irving, immediately took an option on it. Dick designed and detailed a small unit to meet their requirements and this little pump gave a performance far superior to competitive pumps. Bendix were delighted with the pump, but the hydraulic powered braking contract had already been granted to Lockheed and there was no way for Bendix to enter the market.

Bendix and Dick reluctantly cancelled their agreement in July 1940 and Dick was again without a sponsor or an income, but richer by the 100 pounds received as an option fee for his helical gear pump and he was armed with well presented drawings of a wide variety of useful inventions, which he had showed to Irving.

Irving said that he thought that Alvis would be particularly interested in Dick’s invention for a harmonic crankshaft and he arranged an appointment for Dick to discuss this with the Alvis Chief Engineer, Captain Black, who was very interested. He asked Dick to prepare a design for an eight cylinder two litre engine, but said that they would not be allowed to develop such a new engine until after the war, so Dick did not follow this up.

Irving said that he thought Rolls Royce may be interested in Dick’s ideas for a variable pitch airscrew and that his ideas for a double differential hydrostatic transmission would be particularly suitable as a variable speed drive for aero engine superchargers. He arranged an appointment for Dick to discuss his ideas with leading Rolls Royce engineers. At Rolls Royce, Dick met several leading engineers, with whom he was later associated in the development of jet engines. These included Dr. Stanley Hooker; Cyril Lovesey and Arthur Rubbra.

Unknown to the outside world, Rolls Royce and DeHavilland had co-operated in developing a greatly improved variable pitch airscrew, so they were not interested in Dick’s proposal, but they were very interested in his variable speed drive for aero engine superchargers. Hooker produced theoretical evidence that this would considerably improve engine performance, fuel economy and engine life. Dick was asked to prepare a design scheme suitable for the Merlin engine, but soon afterwards they all became involved with jet engines and the proposal was forgotten. It should have been passed to other engineers to design and develop, because the Merlin engine remained the backbone of the F.A.F. throughout the war years.

The Advance Design Division of the Mechanised Army had learned of Dick’s invention for the steering of track laying vehicles, through a hydrostatically controlled differential and they requested a meeting in London. Dick informed the meeting that he did not wish to become involved with the Mechanised Army, because of the stupidity of their rejection of his differential. They said that they were aware of the presence of destructive critics in ‘the establishment’ and that their Department had been formed especially to encourage the development of anything which would improve the performance and safety of military vehicles.

Dick disclosed his other ideas for a hydro-mechanical variable speed transmission system and he was asked to prepare a design for the transmission and steering for their A13 Mk 3 army tank. He completed this design, only to be informed that a larger and more powerful engine was to be employed and he was asked for a design of a transmission suitable for the greater power, but to fit in the same space. Dick completed this design and left it with them for their consideration.

About two months later, Dick received a series of telegrams requesting his presence at a meeting, to discuss his proposals and to determine the type of transmission and steering system to be adopted for future army tanks. By that time he was completely pre-occupied with the problems of jet engines. He explained this to Oliver Lucas, who was the Chairman of the Directorate of Tank Design and Production; Oliver Lucas said that the jet engine had the greatest priority and he informed the Mechanised Army that Dick could not be spared. Some years later, Dick learned from Dr. Merritt that the Merritt-Brown tank transmission and steering system had been adopted after considerable discussion about his proposal, which he said would most likely have been adopted if Dick had been present at the meeting and had been available to take charge of the design and development. Dick also learned later that he should have obtained a design contract for his work, but he knew nothing of such matters, so he was never paid for his work and he did not even recover the expenses he incurred on that project.

Early in September, Irving phoned Dick to say that Lucas were looking for an improved pump for some secret project and he had recommended Dick’s helical gear pump for their consideration. He had arranged a meeting with Dr. E. A. Watson (Lucas Group Chief Engineer) at Bendix and he asked Dick to be present. Watson was impressed with the performance of Dick’s helical gear pump, but said that it would not meet their requirements, which he was unwilling to state. A few weeks later, Irving again phoned Dick, saying he had learned something of the Lucas pumping requirements and had recommended the design of pump Dick had invented for his Hydrostatic transmission scheme. He asked Dick to bring his drawings, for another meeting with Watson at Bendix.

Watson was very impressed with the design of Dick’s pump and immediately gave him the first of several Lucas design contracts. This was for the urgent design and detailing of a variable displacement pump, to operate on kerosene, delivering 250 gallons per hour at 3000 RPM and to stall off stroke (reduce displacement) at 400 PSI (pounds per square inch, pressure), but with the potential for development to operating at pressures up to 1000 PSI, or even 2000 PSI.

Dick engaged Frank Freeman to work with him on the design and details, in a room of his family home. On the completion of this contract, Watson asked if Dick could invent a new form of speed governor combined with the pump, to throttle the delivery at a predetermined maximum RPM; he gave Dick a second design contract for this. On the completion of the details, Watson gave him a third design contract, for a hand operated hoist, for raising the under-belly gun turrets of Boulton & Paul bomber aircraft. This was never made; Dick suspected that this was a means to further test his ingenuity and design skill, but also to keep his team profitably occupied until the pumps had been tested.

These designs and prototype manufacture were examples of what can be done in short time. The first design and detailing contract was completed early in October; it was made in Dr. Watson’s tool room without a single question being necessary; it was on test in December and it was fully proved to meet the specified requirements by the 21 December, with no modifications found to be necessary. The detailing of the second pump, including an entirely new concept in speed governing was completed, manufactured with no need for any questions and it was proved on test, in mid January.

Lucas were delighted with the performance of these pumps. They had tested all existing makes and types; none had given such high volumetric efficiencies and all had failed quickly when operated under load on kerosene.

About mid January, Irving telephoned to inform Dick that Oliver Lucas desired a meeting with him at his office. He asked Dick to take all his coloured drawings of his inventions and to visit him on his way, for a preliminary chat. Irving informed Dick that Lucas wanted to purchase his Patent relating to his pump and that they wished to employ Dick, to take charge of the development of his pump and of other special equipment for a new secret project. He recommended that Dick should ask a moderate 1000 pounds for his pump Patent; this would ensure acceptance and Dick could anticipate greater rewards later, for his other inventions. He also recommended that Dick should ask for a salary of 1000 pounds per year for his services.

As affecting Dick’s career, this was the last meeting he had with Irving, although he met him socially again in 1947 and in the year before his death in 1950. Dick said that he will always remember him with the deepest gratitude for his interest in his career and welfare, far exceeding his interest as the General Manager of Bendix. Without his efforts on Dick’s behalf, he may never have achieved his ambitions. Dick said that he has sometimes wondered what would have happened if he had not endured the previous five years of disappointments.

If Rileys had supplied the ordered differentials to the army and if they had fitted them to all military vehicles, it is probable that they would have been fitted to most off the road vehicles, such as Land Rovers. Would Dick have been so concerned about protecting his royalty income, that he would have devoted all of his efforts to improvements, to keep his Patents alive? This also applies to his Bendix Agreement, if Sheryer had not prevented the production of his differentials.

If Dick had attended the War Office meeting and if his tank transmission and steering system had been adopted, he would have become an employee of the War Office in taking charge of the design and development of all tank transmission schemes. He would have received Royalties and perhaps after the war, the system may have been adopted for many industrial track laying machines. Would he have become a specialist on transmission and steering systems for track laying vehicles?

If a new engine had been developed around Dick’s harmonic crankshaft invention, its advantage in size and efficiency may have resulted in its use for all internal combustion engines. If any one of several of his early inventions had been produced on a Royalty basis, Dick may have become a millionaire, but although he has never received one cent in Royalties, he believed that the path he was forced to follow in his career gave him the greatest scope for his inventive talents and for the achievement of his youthful ambitions.


Dr Watson was present for Dick’s meeting with Olive Lucas, who began by congratulating him on the performance of his pump; also on the quality of the design and detail work. He then asked to see the coloured drawings of his other inventions that Irving and Watson had so admired. As Dick unrolled and displayed the drawings, they explained themselves and he was a super-salesman because he could sell entirely new ideas without any sales talk.

old pump dring the lucas employment years

Oliver Lucas said, “We want your pump, but more importantly we want you. We want your inventive talents; we want your qualities as a designer and we want you to take charge of the design and development of your pump and of other special equipment, for a new secret project”. He said that Lucas would consider Dick’s other inventions after the war and he asked him to set a price for his pump Patents rights; also to state what salary he required.

Dick followed Irving’s advice and these sums were agreed, on condition that his salary would be in line with the salaries paid to others of their staff having similar responsibilities, that was 600 pounds per year, but supplemented by a guaranteed annual bonus of 400 pounds per year. Dick agreed to this and in fact his first bonus was 600 pounds.

Previously, from a retaining fee of only 230 pounds per year, Disk and his wife had fully furnished the nice rented house in which they lived and they were living in moderate comfort. So a cash payment of 1000 pounds, plus a salary of 1000 pounds per year seemed real wealth to him. He was then able to repay, with accumulated interest, the money, which had been lent to them by his wife’s relatives, and he purchased the Riley Kestrel car from Bendix at a marked down price of only 85 pounds. That car served him well over his following seven years in England and for three years after he returned to Australia. He then passed it down to one of his sons, who still has it; he said that he hoped that some day he will restore it as a veteran quality car.

From the time Dick joined Lucas, to the time of his resignation from the Company, they increased his salary and bonuses at a satisfactory rate and they lacked nothing they wanted, so there will be no further references to his finances, apart from the following comments:
1. He never at any time questioned his financial rewards, or asked for increases. On the other hand, he believed that he always gave very good value for the rewards he received, so he felt no obligation to offer his thanks for salary and bonus increases.
2. Lucas sold manufacturing licence to Companies in other countries, for his pump and for other equipment he invented while in their employ. Their receipts from this amounted to several million pounds, but this was within the terms of their Agreement and they owed Dick nothing from this revenue.
3. Several people had told Dick that if he had managed his affairs better, he would have become a multi-millionaire from his inventions, but he had no regrets about this. He never sought great wealth. He achieved his youthful ambition to gain recognition as a successful engineering inventor and he did so without creating any enemies; on the contrary, His career enabled him to form many close friendships among the nicest people he had met, great and small in social status.
4. Until he joined Lucas, his life had been a continual struggle for recognition. If he had not met Oliver Lucas and Dr Watson, through the kindly efforts of Captain Irving. He may never have achieved his goals, so he felt that Lucas owe him nothing. On the other hand, the Lucas Aerospace Company has become a major division of the giant Lucas Organisation and it originated with the purchase of his pump Patent for 1000 pounds, so he certainly owed Lucas nothing and his association with Lucas has been to their mutual benefit.

Frank Freeman accompanied Dick, as his designer when Dick joined Lucas and they were allocated a private office adjacent to Dr Watson’s office, so that Dick could study the jet engine requirements, evolve the special equipment necessary for the pumping and power control system. But, when development units became available, he spent most of his time in the special development laboratory set up for that purpose.


Dick’s reputation as a prolific inventor was established mainly from his contributions to the development of aero gas turbine engines, particularly during the period when the Whittle jet engine was being developed for flight test and production.

Dr Griffiths first expounded the practicability of employing gas turbine engines as the power plants for aeroplanes in 1926 and several British Companies became involved in design studies of such engines, during the 1930-1940 decade. This also applied to Italy and Germany, where different versions of jet engines were flight-tested about two years before the first jet engine flight test in Britain. However, the most important developments were those which began with the formation of Power Jets Limited, to develop the simple jet engine invented by Frank Whittle (later Sir Frank Whittle).

The history of the development work by Power Jets has been published. This resume will begin with events following successful bench tests of the Whittle W2 engine. The Air Ministry then gave the Rover Company a contract to develop the Whittle engine for flight tests and production. Lucas were asked to develop and produce the whole of the high pressure fuel system; the engine starting system; the whole of the combustion system and associated equipment, all in co-operation with the Rover Company.

Both Rovers and Lucas took over disused mills in the north of England; Rovers at Clitheroe, for the development of the engine; Lucas at Burnley for the production of the combustion system and associated sheet metal work, initially to Whittle designs. Dick joined Lucas at that stage, when there were many unsolved problems affecting the starting reliability, the performance and the service life of the engines. All these problems were associated with the combustion system and the high-pressure fuel system. These problems will be discussed later.

The first engines produced by Rovers were substantially to the Whittle W2B design, but they included some improvements and were referred to as B23 engines. These were typical Whittle engines, with double sided single stage centrifugal compressors, driven by single stage turbines and employing ten tubular reverse flow combustion chambers, resulting in two complete reversals in the direction of the flow of the gases.

The permissible turbine blade temperatures are well below the combustion temperature, so combustion must be completed in only part of the limited length of the flame tubes and the hot gases must be cooled by the addition of dilutant air, to reduce the temperatures in the turbine nozzles. Furthermore, the gases must be well mixed to provide uniform temperatures in the nozzles, because the limitation is to the highest temperature, whereas the engine efficiency is dependent on the mean jet pipe temperature. In spite of high-pressure drop losses to promote turbulence, the turbine nozzle temperature traverse was far from uniform, this resulted in reduced engine efficiency for a satisfactory turbine blade life.

Two ignition plugs were fitted, to diametrically opposite combustion chambers and interconnecting tubes were provided, so that ignition in one chamber propagated combustion in all other chambers. The fuel atomisers were all connected to a common fuel manifold and a dump valve was provided, to exhaust the fuel in the manifold to waste when the engine was shut down, by closing the high-pressure cock. In this way no unburned fuel was present in the chambers at the beginning of the following starting cycle.

At the time the W2B engine design was passed over to the Rover Company, the engine was not considered to be sufficiently reliable for flight-testing. Ignition was uncertain and often so delayed that the excess fuel in the chambers produced very hot starts, with the danger of overheating and damaging the turbine blades and other components. The temperature traverse at the turbine nozzles was far from uniform and the fuel distribution to the combustion chambers was inconsistent. This reduced the engine efficiency, because it reduced the permissible mean temperatures at the nozzles and components sometimes failed because of overheating and burning.

At that time, the highest pressure fuel pump available was a gear pump limited to a maximum pressure of 400 psi. Even for the moderate maximum altitudes considered at that time, if simple fixed orifice atomisers had been used, the maximum fuel requirements at sea level would have to correspond to a pump delivery pressure of at least 1000 psi. Because of this, Power Jets had been forced to employ variable orifice atomisers, especially developed for them by the Asiatic Petroleum Company. These atomisers included an obturator rod to vary the inlet orifice to the atomiser swirl chamber, the rod being moved axially by the supply pressure against a spring loading. It was necessary to carefully produce these atomisers in matched sets, to provide uniform flows at the ten combustion chambers for all flow rates.

Because the inlets to the atomiser swirl chambers were variable, the discharge spray cone angles varied from the wide angle necessary for lighting up, to a very narrow cone angle at maximum flows. Thus at high fuel flows, there was a very hot core to the gases in the combustion chamber and it was necessary to employ stub pipes supplying cold air to this hot core. With such wide variations in fuel spray cone angles, it was quite impossible to avoid a wide variation in gas temperatures across the areas of the turbine nozzles. Moreover, on acceleration from low engine speeds, there was insufficient air pressure for cooling the stub pipes, which sometimes burnt off under these conditions, with consequent damage to the turbine blades.

The spray nozzles were difficult to manufacture in matched sets within the permissible tolerances; any solid particles in the fuel cause them to stick and they were liable to jam due to mechanical or thermal deformations of the housing, so that the fuel distribution was far from uniform in service. Watson quickly realised that the major faults of the engine were due to the use of these variable atomisers and the first requirements was for a fuel pump capable of operating to a maximum pressure of 1000 psi, with a development potential to 2000 psi, so that simple reliable fixed orifice atomisers could be employed, to deliver the fuel at a constant spray angle.

Lucas had tested all available pumps, few would operate on kerosene without seizure and none were capable of operating at pressures above those provided by the Plessey pump employed by Power Jets, so they were delighted when the requirements were met by the first pump produced to Dick’s design.

The maximum engine speed was limited to 16,800 RPM, by considerations of turbine blade stresses at the operating temperatures. The engine efficiency increases rapidly with engine speed and at the maximum speed a 1% change in speed produced about 15% change in engine thrust. A maximum speed governor is employed, but the greatest thrust is required for take off at sea level, whereas the rate of the governor allows the engine speed to increase with increasing altitude. The best governor Power Jets could find was a mechanical governor having a rate of about 2%, to the moderate highest altitude considered at that time. This was employed to throttle the fuel flow from the pump, resulting in hysteresis and a further variation in the governed speed. Before Dick joined Lucas, Watson had asked him to design a maximum speed governor combined with his pump, to throttle the fuel flow, but when he was informed of the requirements, he designed the governor to operate through the pump displacement control servo system. Watson asked for a governor rate not exceeding 1% from no load to maximum load, this corresponded to only about ½% over the required altitude range; he warned Dick that such a low rate had never before been achieved and he offered to lend him technical papers on speed governors. Dick rejected this offer and decided to base his design on his own ideas of the requirements.

Dick concluded that the stability of a speed governor depends to a considerable extent on the inertia of its moving parts, relative to the forces. He learned that the specific gravity of the kerosene fuel was controlled within a limit of about .1%, so he provided radial drillings through the pump cylinder rotor, to produce a centrifugal pressure, rising with the square of the speed. He applied this centrifugal pressure rise at a large flexible and lightweight diaphragm, to control the opening of a very small face-type-servo pilot valve. This gave a theoretical rate of 1% from no load to full load, due to the changing pressure at the servo control valve, but in fact this rate was almost exactly cancelled when climbing at maximum power, because the falling fuel temperature resulted in a corresponding reduction in engine speed. This was a fortuitous advantage provided by Dick’s governor.

Dick’s maximum speed governor was delightfully simple and it was the most accurate speed governor known at that time. Several technical papers full of complicated mathematics, attempted to explain why his governor was stable. Most concluded that the stability depended on the rate of the diaphragm spring and the area of the servo pilot valve. He could not argue with their mathematics, so they concluded that his success was just “sheer luck”. In fact Dick proved their mathematics to be incorrect, by testing the governor with a much lower rate spring and with a much smaller pilot valve with equal success.

The first flight test was with a Rover B23 engine, fitted with Dick’s combined fuel pump and maximum speed governor, in a special single engine aeroplane designated E28 and built by the Glouster Aeroplane Company. The combustion system and the remainder of the fuel system were as developed by Power Jets, but with very great care taken in matching the variable orifice burners. Following this successful flight test, the Air Ministry placed the highest priority on the development of the engine to a suitable state for production.

Rovers designed a new engine known as the B26, of improved aerodynamic form, having straight through chambers, to avoid the two air flow reversals and the consequent pressure losses. Lucas engaged Dr Clarke to develop an improved combustion system, based on the use of fixed orifice atomisers, operating to a maximum pressure drop of 1000 psi. Ralph Barrington was appointed to develop an improved electrical starting system; to provide whatever help Dick needed beyond that given by his own staff and to accompany Dick for all engine tests on his equipment, as Dick’s recorder and confidant. Frank Freeman was able to deal with his design requirements; his designs were produced in Dr Watson’s experimental machine shop. Dick shared a development laboratory at Shaftmoor Lane with Dr Clarke where he had a staff of four development engineers, two of whom (Leslie Freeman and Tom Harris) were among his most valued assistants until his return to Australia.

Dr. Clarke was able to eliminate the troublesome stub pipes from the combustion chambers by employing simple fixed orifice atomisers. These delivered at a constant spray cone angle, and with a reduced combustion pressure drop, the temperatures in the turbine nozzles were much more uniform, thereby permitting an increase in the mean temperature, with a resulting increase in the engine efficiency.

There were other faults in the Whittle fuel control system. A relief valve specially developed by Ricardo and known as a ‘Barostat’ regulated the pump delivery pressure; its function was to regulate the pressure as the desired function of the engine intake pressure. The pilot controlled the engine below the governed maximum speed, through a throttle valve operated through a flexible cable. The pilots complained of excessively large forces required, to operate the throttle valve. The barostat was complicated, difficult to make and to calibrate and it was liable to stick in operation, upsetting the engine performance.

Dick replaced the Whittle throttle valve with a hydrostatically balance throttle valve requiring negligible control forces and he replaced the barostat with his simple B.P.C. system, which regulated the pump displacement through the pump servo system, to provide a delivery pressure proportional to the engine intake.

It was referred to as a square law cheater, because it corrected the pressure from the pump to the square law requirements at the atomisers.

B26 engine pump

Barrington discovered that the ignition of fuel droplets is from the hot plug electrodes, not from the actual sparks. He developed an improved ignition system and he introduced an automatic starting cycle, which ensured that the plug points were at a sufficiently high temperature at the lighting up speed. During the first test on the B26 engine, with this new equipment, lighting up was uncertain. This was found to be due to the airflow blowing the ‘soft’ fuel spray away from the sparking plugs.

Dick hurriedly evolved an accumulator system, which stored the pump delivery at low cranking speed, then discharged a pulse of high pressure fuel when the engine reached lighting up speed during the cranking cycle. This provided reliable instantaneous light up, free of visible flame; far superior to the light up he had witnessed on modern American engines.


Rolls Royce set up a new division at Barnoldswick, north of Clitheroe, for the design, development and production of gas turbine engines, under the guidance of Dr. Hooker as Chief Engineer. Rovers moved out of Clitheroe and their engine test facilities there were taken over by Lucas, for the proof testing of new equipment. The combustion system development work under Dr. Clarke as Chief Engineer, was moved to Burnley, where excellent development facilities were provided, including a high altitude test chamber, for testing engines under simulated high altitude conditions. C.A.V. had produced the barostats, atomisers and other fuel equipment for the earlier Whittle B23 engines and it was considered that they were best equipped to produce Dick’s pump, so his design and development staff accompanied him on a move to C.A.V. in London.

Other than Lucas people concerned and the Rover staff at Clitheroe, Dick had no contact with others relating to his work, during this phase of high-pressure design and development. The Rover people with whom he was most concerned are as follows:

Maurice Wilkes – General Manager of the Rover Company, in occasional attendance.

Robert Boyle – Chief Engineer of the Gas Turbine Engine developments.

Cyril Lombard – Chief Designer at Clitheroe. He transferred to Rolls Royce.

Jack Swain – Chief Inspector and in charge of all engine testing.

Although the production orders were given to Rolls Royce, other aero engine makers had no intention of being left behind technically. The Air Ministry limited their activities and Lucas were instructed that they could supply already developed equipment to others, but all new design and development efforts were to be confined to Rolls Royce requirements.

Because of this instruction, Dick rarely met the engineers of other Companies, other than those at Rolls Royce. Also because of this instruction, Claudel Hobson were encouraged to develop a competitive engine control system and Dowty was encouraged to develop a competitive pump. Dowty copied Dick’s maximum speed governor to such an extent that Lucas components were used for the diaphragm and its housing, but Dick knew of no successful engine that did not employ his pump and control system, at least until his departure for Australia and, this includes the engines produced in North America.

The Rolls Royce people with whom Dick was associated were:

Lord Hives – The very pro-Ifield Chairman.

Dr. Stanley Hooker – The very pro-Ifield Chief Engineer on Gas Turbine Engines.

Cyril Lombard – Transferred from Rovers as Chief Designer of Gas Turbine Engines.

David Ballantyne – Appointed by Rolls as liaison Officer with Lucas.

The Rolls Royce engines based on the Rover B26 design, began with the ‘Derwent’, this was followed by the larger ‘Nene’ engine and the smaller ‘Dart’ turbo-prop engine. Rolls Royce then became converted to axial compressor engines, beginning with the ‘Tay’, followed by the ‘Avon’, the ‘Conway’ and the ‘Spey’, but the earliest of these was only in the development stage at the time of Dick’s departure.

Metropolitan Vickers (Turbine Division)

Dick visited that Company only once with Dr. Watson. He remembered that their Chief Engineer was an Australian and that he was highly regarded for his knowledge of turbine engines, but Dick could not remember his name. That company had accepted Dr. Griffith’s recommendation in developing their axial compressor ‘Beryl’ engine; they demonstrated this engine fitted to a small seaplane and also as the power plant of a motor torpedo boat. Dick knew of no worthwhile orders for their engines but they paved the way for the modern axial compression engines.

Armstrong Siddley

This Company began with their ‘Python’ engine, which was designed for them by Metropolitan Vickers as the first large axial compressor engine. Dick visited them only once in an advisory capacity. This was followed by their large ‘Sapphire’ engine and by their more successful turbo-prop ‘Mamba’ and Viper’ engines.


This company began with their ‘Goblin’ and ‘Ghost’ engines, which were based on the Rover B26 design, with the exception that they employed a single sided compressor. They later developed their large ‘Gyron’ engine. On several occasions, Dick met their Chief Engineer, Dr. Eric Moult, in connection with their successful attempt on the altitude record.


The centrifugal compressor engines are practically free from stalling problems, but the more efficient axial compressor engines are very prone to stalling. Bristol began with their ‘Proteus’ and ‘Theseus’ engines, employing axial and centrifugal compressors in series, on concentric shafts, driven by separate turbine in series. Later Dr. Hooker left Rolls Royce and joined that Company as their Chief Engineer, under his leadership they developed their very successful ‘Olympus’ engine, used in the Concorde aeroplanes. The engine division of Bristols was inter combined with Rolls Royce and Dr. Hooker became overall Chief Engineer. Dick visited that Company only once and did not become acquainted with their engineers at that time.


Napier developed their axial compressor ‘Naiad’ engine, but Dick knew of no markets developed for their engines. He did not visit that Company.

A. V. Roe (Canada)

After Dick’s departure, this Company developed their ‘Chinook’ and ‘Orenda’ engines, leading to a demand by the Royal Canadian Air Force that Lucas should set up a factory in Canada to meet their requirements. Lucas did so and it was a very costly exercise, because the market was limited to the small quantities required by the Air Force. Lucas closed that factory down after about ten years of losses.

Pratt & Whitney (U.S.A)

Rolls Royce sold the manufacturing rights for America to this Company, for their Nene engine, but as expected, the Americans then developed engines of their own designs and American aeroplanes usually employ American produced engines. Lucas sold the manufacturing rights to Dick’s pump and control system for the USA to the Bendix Aviation Corporation, who produced this equipment for the first few years until they were able to developed an alternative system.

Other Countries

Rolls Royce sold manufacturing rights for the Nene engine to Russia, Argentine and Australia. The pumps and control system were supplied from England to Argentine and to Australia, but Russia produced direct copies of the fuel system for their requirements, without paying for manufacturing rights. To the best of Dick’s knowledge almost all aero gas turbine engines, other than those developed in the U.S.A and the U.S.S.R, currently employ Ifield fuel pumps and control systems based on his inventions.

Dick was so engrossed with his work that he was unwilling to visit other Companies, so that many people knew only of him by name, as the mysterious inventor kept in hiding by Lucas. This mystery surrounding him was encouraged by Lucas and it may have enhanced his reputation to an extent greater than would have been the case if he had visited the engineers concerned with engine development, more frequently.

Lucas People with whom Dick Was Concerned Until His Return To Australia.

At Great King Street in Birmingham

Oliver Lucas – Chairman of Joseph Lucas Industries Limited

Dr E.A. Watson – Group Chief Engineer.

Fred Garner – Managing Director

Bertram Waring – Chief Accountant and Deputy Chairman

Ralph Barrington – A senior Lucas engineer ‘without portfolio’

Fred Marlowe – Chief of Dr. Watson’s experimental machine shop

C.A.V. at Acton in London

Craig (General Manager); McKillop (Secretary); Nordiman (Personal Manager) all hostile to the gas turbine fuel system project.

C.A Parsons – Chief Engineer in name, but no turbine engineering talents whatever.

Ken Brook – Chief Engineer in fact and Dick’s only friend at C.A.V. at that time.

Rotax at Willesden in London

Eric Earnshaw – General Manager and a member of the main Lucas board.

Ray Woodall – Chief Engineer.

Lucas Gas Turbine Equipment (Combustion System Section at Burnley)

John Morley – General Manager.

Dr Stanley Clarke – Chief Engineer

Ian Jack – Technical Sales Manager
Wilf Search – Technical Sales
Dave Harris – Technical Sales
(These were under John Morley’s management but they were technical sales representatives for the fuel system and under Dick’s disciplinary control at Acton and Birmingham.)

Charles Bottoms – in charge of the high altitude test chamber.

Lucas Gas Turbine Equipment (Pump and Control System)

The following were members of Dick’s staff. Those marked (A) were original members, who accompanied Dick to Acton, then back to Shaftmoor Lane. Those marked (B) were recruited at Acton and accompanied Dick to Shaftmoor Lane. Those marked ( C) were recruited at Shaftmoor Lane. Only the senior staff people are named.

R J Ifield (A) – Chief Engineer and unwilling General Manager

Tom Harris (A) – Chief Development Engineer.

Frank Freeman (A) – Chief Designer (resigned in 1946 following an illness)

Leslie Freeman – Development Engineer (A), Designer (B), Chief Experimental, Development Engineer ( C)

Harry Bottoms (B) – Designer, became Chief Designer following F.G.F’s resignation.

Bill Fleming – Designer (B), Laboratory Assistant ( C).

Sid Postle – Draftsman (B), Chief Draftsman ( C).

Ted Jones ( C) – Office Manager

Joe Righton ( C) – Assistant Chief Development Engineer.

Owen Lawrence ( C) – Chief Performance Engineer, previously at Burnley.

Eugene Warne ( C) – Assistant Performance Engineer, previously at Burley.

W. S. Davidson ( C) – Works Manager.

Commander ( C) – Chief Inspector.

Wally Ashmore ( C) – Chief of the experimental machine shop.

Several others of Dick’s staff at that time later gained senior positions in the Company, or in other Companies. These included Mowbray, Izons, Huyton, Price, Czarnecki and Goddard.


At the time Dick and his family moved to C.A.V at Acton in London, the main bombing raids on London had ceased and it was thought that London was no less safe than Birmingham, until the V1 flying bombs and the V2 rockets began to fall on London. They moved to a modern rented house on Hanger Hill, overlooking Park Royal and their fifth son Geoffrey Colin was born there.

It had been thought that C.A.V. were best suited to produce the pumps and control systems, because of their experience in producing diesel engine fuel pumps and injectors. But in fact, all the engineering and production knowledge had been retained by Bosch engineers, who returned to Germany just prior to the declaration of war. Bosch had virtually dictated the appointment of executives, as managers and Chief Engineers and these knew nothing about design, development or production. With very few exceptions, the senior staff at C.A.V. were hostile to the fuel system project and to Dick’s staff.

Dick took over the Board room as a design office for himself and four designers, but the detail drawings were prepared in the C.A.V. drawing office outside his control. A remote small area was allocated to development under Tom Harris with only three assistants. The C.A.V. management avoided attacking Dick directly, but they made conditions very unpleasant for Tom Harris, probably because they had no experience of the need for development engineers. They complained incessantly about the ‘impossibility’ of making the pump and control system and; they barely met the initial production needs of Rolls Royce.

Dick did not complain because this was unnecessary. As Rolls Royce liaison officer, Ballantyne informed Dr. Hooker of the position and Watson experienced the difficulties during his visits. Because of this and the dangers from the V1-V2 attacks, Lucas set up excellent production facilities at Shaftmoor Lane, together with large well-equipped areas for all Dick’s needs and under his direct control. This included four private offices, a design and drawing office, a production and an experimental development laboratory and an experimental machine shop.

During this time, Dick purchased the first house they had ever owned; a very nice home in a nice area in Moseley, Birmingham, only about two miles from Shaftmoor Lane and they moved there in the winter of 1944-45. Their sixth son David Leonard, was born there.

Later a more pretentious building was constructed at Shaftmoor Lane, as an office block housing the design and development section. About the same time Lucas transferred Ken Brook, Their only friend at C.A.V., to Shaftmoor Lane and then shed those who had been most uncooperative at C.A.V, mainly by pensioning them off and replacing them with loyal Lucas executives. Ken Brook then returned to C.A.V, but resigned to take up a consultants position with a large petroleum company soon afterwards. C.A.V. flourished and expanded under the new management and their present design and development building and facilities outshine those of the gas turbine Company, such is the change in attitude to the need for design and development.

During the whole of the period Dick was with Lucas in England, he was never given an official position and this applied to many of the most important members of his design and development staff. Sid Postle was officially appointed Chief Draftsman at Shaftmoor Land and later Ted Jones was officially appointed Office Manager, to relieve Dick of many onerous duties. Although they were regarded as such, they were never appointed as General Manager and Chief Engineer; Tom Harris was never appointed as Chief Development Engineer; Frank Freeman was never appointed Chief Designer and Leslie Freeman was never appointed Chief Experimental development Engineer. Many people would regard this as very haphazard way of running a Company, yet even though Dick’s staff was recruited from those least wanted by other Companies, they achieved more in a shorter time than any other small group of designers and development engineers known within the Lucas organisation and Dr. Hooker informed him that Roll Royce envied his design and development team.

Since Dick originated new ideas for design and development, he was obviously the Chief Engineer and leader of the team. Oliver Lucas was opposed to placing him under a manager, rightly believing that he needed complete freedom, so most people regarded him as General Manager, but he shirked many management duties and left these to Tom Harris, as his loyal senior assistant. During the whole of that period, responsibilities were assumed by those most able and willing to undertake them.

The winter of 1946-47 was the coldest Dick had ever experienced and it was accompanied by a long strike by the coal miners. It was illegal to use electricity for heating and their home heating was limited to the burning of such pieces of dead wood they could find in the garden. The factories began shutting down as their stocks of solid fuels became exhausted.

On arrival at Shaftmoor Lane one freezing morning, Dick was informed that the premises were shut down and the offices were freezing cold. His draftsmen and clerks could not work in the heavy gloves and greatcoats, so he sent them home. They had plenty of kerosene in sealed tanks, so he brought his tyre pump into the laboratory and suggested that the laboratory should learn something about combustion, by making a large vaporising combustion chamber, which would keep them warm and usefully employed. This was greeted with enthusiasm; they made a large and very noisy blow lamp which heated the laboratory so effectively, that they were able to continue some unfinished development work not requiring power.

At Dick’s request, the laboratory made a small vaporiser tube to fit the fireplace in his largest room at home. He managed to scrape up a small quantity of coke from the boiler room floor. He then called for technical and marketing meetings in his home, including senior designers, the performance engineers and the technical sales staff. He informed John Morley and Dr. Watson, who willingly joined the meetings, which were very useful and productive, in spite of the very noisy heating unit.

Afterwards Dick learned that this episode was quoted throughout the Lucas Group as an example of good leadership. When Oliver Lucas praised him for this, Dick said that he was a good leader only while he had loyal and enthusiastic followers. He was never any good at driving the unwilling; He said he gives full credit to Ken Brook for that talent, during the time they were at C.A.V.; without his driving force, Dick doubted if anything would have been made at C.A.V.

Once production began in earnest, new system designs were very unwelcome to the production people, but it was necessary to develop new systems to keep pace with the changing requirements of new engines under design and development.

When a new engine scheme was being designed, Dr. Hooker called a combined Rolls Royce/Lucas technical meeting where the new requirements were stated and a blackboard was provided for Dick’s use. Such was his confidence in Dick’s inventive talents, that after stating the requirements, Hooker waved Dick to the blackboard, where he sketched the most suitable device to meet the requirements. These were known as Ifield’s blackboard inventions.

With the increasing importance of the jet engine to Rolls Royce, many of their engineers sought to wrest design control of the Lucas equipment from Dick. But, Lord Hives and Dr. Hooker remained very pro-Ifield, ruling that design control must be in the hands of the inventor and no one at Rolls Royce could compete with Dick in invention, or with his staff in design and development. Lucas lost design control only when Dick departed for Australia, even though the latest control systems are based on his later developments in Australia.

When Lucas sold the manufacturing rights for the U.S.A, the Americans insisted that the system must operate satisfactorily on wide cut fuels having a wide range of densities, including petrol. Dick’s speed governor depended on the use of fuels of controlled densities, so it was necessary to develop a mechanical speed governor. Furthermore Dick had employed a large ball bearing for the rotating thrust plate and this was unsuitable for operation in petrol. The ball bearing was eliminated by the development of hydrostatically balanced slippers fitted to the pistons and sliding on a stationary Thrust plate. After some development work, this arrangement proved to be entirely satisfactory, with a service life greater than that of the previous ball bearing operating in kerosene. Dick gave full credit to Tom Harris for this development, which has been adopted by practically all manufacturers of ‘in line’ pumps and motors.

Dick had employed carbon journals for his pump and these gave excellent service, both in kerosene and in petrol. In modern versions of his pump, the use of carbon has been extended as surface treatments for almost all bearing surfaces. They were able to apply their speed governor ‘know how’, in the development of a mechanical speed governor, but this is combined with the power control system, in modern systems based on Dick’s developments in Australia.

The new developments at Shaftmoor Lane included a simple flow control, replacing the B.P.C. system for some applications and a ‘Full Range Flow Control’ for aircraft engines designed for operation at very high altitudes.

Watson and Barrington worked together to determine the optimum design parameters for swirl type atomisers. They then developed the ‘Duplex’ atomiser, followed by the superior ‘Duple’ atomiser, these had all the advantages of variable orifice atomisers, with none of the disadvantages, in that there were no moving parts to stick in operation and they provided a constant cone angle for all flow rates. This development was necessary, because the pumps were then operating at a maximum pressure of 2000 psi and Dr. Clarke was demanding an impractical maximum pressure of 10,000 psi for fixed orifice burners, to meet the needs of new engines designed for operation at very high altitudes.

Dick’s fuel pump has been made in A, B, C and D sizes, commencing with the B size. Only A, B and C sizes were made prior to his departure. The D size was made for the larger engines produced after his departure and an E size pump was under consideration at the time of his resignation from Lucas.

The A size pump was employed for the ‘Mamba’, ‘Viper’, ‘Naiad’ and ‘Chinook’ engines. The B size pump was employed for the ‘B23’, ‘B26’, ‘Dart’, ‘Avon’, ‘Proteus’ and ‘Thesius’ engines. The C size pump was employed for the ‘Derwent’, ‘Nene’, ‘Goblin’, ‘Ghost’, ‘Python’, ‘Sapphire’ and ‘Orenda’ engines. The D size pump was employed for the ‘Conway’, ‘Spey’, ‘Olympus’ and ‘Gyron’ engines. Dick was not up-to-date on the application of these pumps since 1947.

The simple B.P.C. control system was employed for the ‘B26’, ‘Derwent’, Nene’, ‘Goblin’, ‘Ghost’, ‘Proteus’ and ‘Thesius’ engines. The simple flow control system S.F.C., was employed for the ‘Dart’, ‘Mamba’, ‘Viper’, ‘Chinook’ and ‘Naiad’ engines. The full range flow control system F.R.F.C. was employed for the ‘Avon’, ‘Sapphire’ and ‘Orenda’ engines. The range temperature control R.T.C. or the Combined Steady Running and Acceleration Control C.A.S.C. systems, developed in Australia, are fitted to all modern British gas turbine engines.

Simple fixed orifice atomisers were employed for the ‘B26’, ‘Derwent’, ‘Dart’, ‘Goblin’, ‘Ghost’, ‘Mamba’, ‘Viper’, ‘Thesius’, ‘Proteus’, ‘Naiad’ and ‘Chinook’ engines. Duplex or Duple atomisers were employed for the ‘Nene’, ‘Avon’, ‘Gyron’ and ‘Orenda’ engines and for practically all British engines since Dick’s departure for Australia.

Dick’s accumulator starting system was employed for the early engines, the ‘B26’, ‘Derwent’, ‘Goblin’, ‘Proteus’ and ‘Thesius’, but the sparking plugs were then replaced by Torch Igniters developed by Barrington and the accumulator starting device was no longer needed.

To the Lucas Directors, Dick was responsible for the success of the pump and fuel system generally and Dr. Clarke was responsible for the success of the Lucas combustion system and they showed too little appreciation of the efforts of Watson and Barrington. Barrington was directly responsible for the electrical starting system, including the development of the torch Igniters; he contributed to the development of the duplex and duple burners and he was a great help to Dick as his companion, scribe and confidant during the early engine tests. Watson was mainly responsible for the development of improved atomisers; much of Clark’s success can be attributed to his direct guidance; he gave Dick needed support at C.A.V. and on several occasions, he worked overnight on his primitive machines in his home, to produce experimental units for proving the principles of some of Dick’s new ideas.

Following the end of the war in Europe, it was thought that there would be a serious reduction in the demand for gas turbine engines and efforts were made to seek other markets for Dick’s pump. In fact the demand for gas turbine engines increased, with an increasing demand for improved fuel systems to meet the requirements of the new breed of more efficient axial engines. The technical sales staff found many possible outlets for the pump, but Dick was able to give these only scant attention and the Company lost interest in these projects, which were allowed to die.

At that time, Dick’s pump was far superior to any other for hydrostatic power transmission applications and interest was aroused among several potential users, providing that the units could be quietened. This would have been possible with a little development and the use of cast iron housings, but no such effort was made at that time. Lucas later established an Industrial Equipment Company to deal with such applications, but by that time other manufacturers had developed competitive designs which they produced more efficiently. The Industrial Equipment Company may have become successful, if they had had autonomy, but they were under the control of the Gas Turbine Company, who knew nothing about the needs of industry, so this was a costly failure.

Some development effort was given to Dick’s ‘Bootstrap’ scheme for a hydraulic power system for moulding machines, with promising results, but this was abandoned when Dick departed for Australia.

They gained a development contract, to design and develop a hydrostatic constant speed drive for aircraft alternators, specifically for the Bristol ‘Brabazon’ aircraft then being built. Under Leslie Freeman’s control, this was developed to meet the requirements, but the Brabazon aircraft was abandoned soon after Dick’s departure and Lucas abandoned the constant speed drive project. This was very unwise; Sundstrand later developed a similar drive using their pumps and motors and they gained a large market, which could have been available to Lucas as being first in that field, where price was not a major consideration.

Barrington was given the project to develop a motor car fuel injection system, based on Dick’s invention for a metering distributor pump. This development was successful and the system was employed for many racing cars; however it was considered to be too costly for application to standard passenger cars.

Oliver Lucas remembered Dick’s hydrostatic transmission proposals and he asked him to prepare a report on the design requirements of such a transmission. He wished to seek the opinion of Ewen McEwen, who was a consultant to David Browns on vehicle transmissions and was a lecturer a Manchester University on that subject. He later became the Lucas Group Chief Engineer. McEwen was very impressed with Dick’s report. He expressed considerable enthusiasm over his ideas and he recommended immediate design and development action. He was also impressed by Dick’s novel presentation, with its simplified representation of epicyclic gearing and of hydraulic pumps and motors; he said that he would adopt Dick’s teachings for his future lectures and he later informed Dick that his teachings on these matters have become standardised in universities.

After resigning from his staff, Frank Freeman joined Girlings, only to learn that he was still employed as a designer on Dick’s projects, because he was given the project of designing a transmission based on Dick’s proposals. Like many such projects, this was abandoned after Dick’s departure, probably because Oliver Lucas died soon afterwards, and Dick was not available to support the project.

Perhaps this was fortuitous, because Dick was able to devote most of his efforts to the development of hydrostatic transmissions, after his return to Australia.

Thus the half-hearted efforts of the Gas Turbine Company, to diversify in its products had failed. The success of the fuel system developments was the result of a whole-hearted effort by a team of enthusiasts, under the guidance of Dick as the inventor. No new enterprise can succeed without the presence of its advocate and the enthusiasm of all concerned.

Captain Irving told Charlie Marcus (The President of the Bendix Aviation Corporation) about Dick’s restricted ratio differential. Marcus approached Dick with the view to taking a Licence for manufacturing it in America, but he lost interest when Dick informed him that the Patents would be valid for only two years, because it would have taken that long to tool up for production. Irving was still keen for someone to take up Dick’s differential for manufacture, to prove the correctness of his judgement. Dick later told him that he was not interested in pursuing the project, which would involve him in a lot of work, without returns from his Patents. He then asked Dick to present a technical paper on his differential to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers; He did so in the year of his Irving’s death; Dick said; “I do hope that he knows this”.

Dick knew that Dr. Watson was preparing for retirement and that he had been chosen to take his place as Group Chief Engineer. At his request, Dick accompanied him on many of his visits for technical discussions with the engineers of various Companies within the Lucas Group. In preparation for this future, he asked Dick to apply for Membership of the Royal Aeronautical Society and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Dick said that he was not academically qualified, but Dr. Watson said that he was fully qualified by his achievements. In order to ensure acceptance, he asked Dr. Hooker and Dr. Moult to propose and second Dick’s nomination to the R. Ae. S. and he asked A. A. Rubbra to propose Dick for the I. Mech. E.; he seconded the nomination. Both nominations were accepted.

Towards the end of 1946, the Directors gave a dinner party to which all the senior executives of the Companies in the Lucas Group were invited. Dick was placed at the small top table reserved for the Executive Directors. He never though anything of this until after the party, when various people from the other tables congratulated him. Some said ‘did you see the expression on X’s face, he was green with envy, you know what this means don’t you’?. Dick did not know what it meant, but years later he learned that it meant that he was to be groomed to become the Company Chairman. Dick wondered why so many people became so obliging after that incident.

When the Bendix Aviation Corporation took a licence to manufacture Dick’s pump and control system, their President Charlie Marcus brought a team of specialist engineers to learn about the system. After they had studied the designs and visited the laboratory, Marcus brought them into Dick’s office for a question and answer session. Each were specialists in different matters and after Dick had responded to all their questions, Marcus remained for a private talk to him. He said that the American training system produced many such specialists, but their greatest need was for a Chief Engineer, such as Dick, himself, who knew more than all their experts about all aspects of the fuel system, and other engineering matters. He asked Dick to join their Company and, to name his own salary and conditions. Dick rejected his offer, because he was not attracted to living in America, or to working in America, or to working in America in a capacity similar to that he held at Lucas.

These and other events caused him to realise that he had achieved his youthful ambitions, to gain international recognition of his inventive talents. He had climbed his mountain and had arrived at the top, but he realised that the greatest pleasure was in the climbing, with or without the frustration’s. Certainly there were other hills that could be climbed, but none that allowed him to exercise his special talents.

If he remained as Chief Engineer of the Gas Turbine Company, he would become frustrated because the Company could not continue to use his capacity for inventions. If he became Group Chief Engineer, he would learn of many other problems and would advise on design and development, but he needed to become personally involved. He had no desire to become involved with commercial matters as a Director.

Early in 1947, he began seriously considering returning with his family to Australia, and his notes give the following reasons:

1 The first was a private problem, which “I erroneously believed would be remedied by returning to Australia”.

2 The second was also a family consideration. “I had achieved my ambitions, why should I subject my family to the rigours of another winter such as the previous one? There was a great deal of industrial unrest and we could be left to endure another cold winder without heating”.

3 “I wanted our sons to experience the freedoms I had enjoyed in my childhood; to walk and play in the natural Australian bushland and to swim in natural streams. I wanted them to see and appreciate the beauty and perfection of creatures and vegetation in their natural state. Our eldest son was then 13 years old, if I waited much longer it would be too late for some”.

4 “I was very proud of our children and I wanted my parents to meet them. I had not seen my parents for 12 years and unless we went soon it would be too late. In fact both my parents died during the decade following our return”.

5 “My most exciting days of new engineering discoveries and inventions were fast declining and I was becoming increasingly involved in management problems and in commercialism. I found this boring and ‘not my scene’. I did not seek great wealth or positions of high status and I shied at the thought that I may become a ‘public figure'”.

6 “I wanted a new mountain to climb, but it must be an engineering mountain. I developed a new ambition, to create an enterprise in Australia equivalent to that of H. R. Ricardo’s Company in England, as a technical and consulting service to Australian industry, supported by practical design and development service. I was only 38 years old, with plenty of time to establish such an enterprise and perhaps one or more of my sons would have sufficient engineering talents to continue the enterprise after my retirement”.

His notes continue:
“There was consternation when I informed Watson of my decision to return to Australia at the end of that year (1947). He did not ask my reasons, but I reported my decision to a special meeting of the Executive Directors. This resulted in Fred Garner, Eric Earnshaw and Bertram Waring taking turns to ‘talk me out of my decision'”.

“Garner had previously been a director of Rolls Royce. He said, ‘I know you creative blokes dislike the hurly-burly of production and commercialism. We had the same thing with Henry Royce; we set him up with complete design and development facilities in the south of England. We will do the same thing with you; I am sure that will please you as it please him’. I told him that this was only part of my reason for wishing to return to Australia. He understood my desire to see my parents again, but he could not understand my other needs.”

“Eric Earnshaw visited me a few days later saying “I know that you want to see your folks in Australia, that you dislike becoming involved in commercialism and that you want your family to enjoy a warmer winter climate. At our cost we will sent you and your family on an extended holiday in Australia, before beginning a new year with the Company. We have purchased an area of land at Ifield in Sussex, which has a mild climate and we will build your ideal Laboratory there, for the design and development of your ideas under your complete control. I am sure that you will enjoy continuing your career at the home town of your ancestors”. He was unable to understand my other reasons for wishing to continue my career in Australia.”

“Being an accountant, Bertram Waring was convinced that money talks. He said “You have never expressed dissatisfaction with your salary; I bet that Charlie Marcus has made you dissatisfied; we have big plans for your future, but we will meet your money needs now, if you tell us what you want”. I told him that it was not a question of money and he could not understand my reasons for wanting to return to Australia.”

“Oliver Lucas then asked me to visit him. He said that he had been delighted with my achievements, not only as an inventor, but as a leader of men. He said he knew I could not be persuaded to remain in England and asked what I intended to do in Australia. I told him of my ideas on setting up the equivalent of H. R. Ricardo & Co. in Australia, as a practical consulting and advisory service to Australian industry and to design and develop my ideas to meet different needs. He said, “That seems an excellent idea, but you will need a lot of financial support, which we will provide. When you return to Australia, make a point of meeting leading Professional Engineers, talk with them about your proposal, then weigh up the potentials of such a service and let me know your needs. In the meantime we will continue to pay your salary and we would welcome reports from you, giving your ideas on anything of value to the Company”.”

“I was delight with this offer, which would allow me to pursue my new goals with no financial worries. Unfortunately, Oliver Lucas died a few months after my departure, when I lost a friend and my most powerful advocate, as affecting my ambitions.”

“My staff gave me a great send off party, which was attended by several Company Directors and others associated with my work, including some from Burnley.


I was delighted that someone had thought to invite Captain Irving; I had not seen him for several years; I met him again on a visit to England in 1949 and he died in the following year. On behalf of my staff, Watson presented me with a silver cigarette case. He said that several people from other Companies in the Group and from Rolls Royce had wanted to be present, but it had been necessary to limit the numbers. Later Waring also presented me with a silver cigarette case on behalf of the Directors. He apologised for having chosen a similar parting gift, but there was insufficient time to change it before my departure.”

“I sold our Moseley home and practically all the contents by auction. Tom Harris lived in ‘digs’ with a nice couple, Ken and Eve Graham and they kindly provided accommodation for us, for the few days before our departure. They were suddenly invaded by my wife, my mother-in-law, myself and our six children. We were able to show our gratitude to Eve, several years later, when she visited Australia after the death of her husband.”

“So many people wished to see us off, that I hired a bus and driver to take us with our luggage to the ship. We left very early on a winter’s morning late in December, during a snowfall. When we reached Coventry, we were waved down by a torch in the dark by Dr. and Mrs. Watson, bless them, who distributed fruit and sweets among the children.”

[For an interesting read … Gordon Bunce has written a second book about Lucas, entitled: LUCAS – Birmingham & Beyond.]

For more information contact Dick’s son Colin through: SWC – Enquiry & Message Form

Gordon Bunce Book

“Just prior to my departure, John Morley was officially appointed General Manager of Lucas Gas Turbine Equipment Limited, covering both Shaftmoor Land and Burnley and on my recommendation, Tom Harris was appointed Chief Engineer at Shaftmoor Lane. When Tom married in 1953, he insisted on being married in the little Ifield church in Kent out of respect to me. I never thought about such matters at the time, but some years later I wondered how Eric Earnshaw and Tom Harris knew that my ancestors came from the villages of Ifield in England. At that time, I did not know of this myself; I can only believe that someone at Lucas must have made enquires and learned that my grandfather was born at Ifield.”



Dick’s Notes Continue:
“The sea journey to Sydney took about seven weeks and we arrived in February 1948. We stayed with my parents at their home in Exeter for a few weeks, where they lived with my sister Vera and her husband and child. We then purchased the Dural property, which became the centre of my work for Lucas over the following fifteen years and then became the working premises of our family owned Company R.J. Ifield & Sons. Pty. Ltd.”

“Our seventh son Philip Alan was born shortly after we moved into the cottage at Dural. The property included 89 acres of mainly virgin bushland, with streams and natural swimming pools, with precipitous hills and great variety of native flowers and shrubs, ideal for our children to roam freely, as I had done in my childhood. It included a small factory building, suitable for my needs as a drawing office, machine shop and development laboratory, with ample scope for extensions, but for the first eighteen months, I needed only a typist to type my correspondence and reports.”

“The dwelling was far too small, but I planned to build a large family residence on the property and to use the cottage for housing a care taking couple. I had some temporary alternations made, to provide accommodation for our children and for a married couple, I engaged as domestic help and as future caretakers. Lucas registered the name ‘Lucas Laboratories’, for my work at Dural and Lucas paid all expenses relating to my work. I will discuss my work at Dural later.

His notes were as follows:

We depend to a great extent on the contributions of others, for success in any field of human endeavour, probably none more so than in the field of engineering invention, where success depends on the support of sponsors; on the enthusiasm and loyalty of all concerned with the projects, including manufacturing and sales; also on the goodwill of customers for the products. At the time of my departure from England, I had achieved my youthful ambitions, so before discussing my continued career in Australia, I will devote this chapter to acknowledging my debt to others, who contributed most to my success.

Although I had been inspired with ambitions relating to my inventive talents, from my early childhood, in pursuing my career, my first consideration was always for the welfare and happiness of my wife and children. I doubt if I would have pursued my ambitious dreams with such stubborn determination, if I had remained a bachelor; without the quiet confidence and encouragement of my wife, over our leanest years, from the day of our marriage in July 1933 to the signing of my Agreement with Rileys in December 1935. Without the spur of increasing family responsibilities, I may have been defeated by the frustration’s that plagued me, until I joined the Lucas Organisation. Without the loan of money from my wife’s relatives for our passage to England, I may never have made the journey which led to the achievement of my ambitions, but the individual acknowledgements in this chapter are of the more direct contributions of my engineering career.

I acknowledge that the kindly constructive criticisms of Scott Iverson were beneficial, in that these caused me to think of other means for providing a variable speed transmission, leading to my design of a hydro-static system, the pump of which began my successful career with Lucas.

Although the kindly efforts of Monty Toombs were unproductive directly, it was he who recommended that I should show my restricted ratio differential to Rileys, leading to the gaining of a retaining fee at the time of greatest financial desperation and leading to recognition of my inventive talents, without which I may never have met Irving, who introduced me to Lucas.

I owe a debt of gratitude to the brothers Frank and Leslie Freeman, for lending their car to me when I needed it; for their friendship and for their unfailing sense of humour, which kept my spirits up through many frustrating years. I acknowledge the valuable contribution of Frank, in the excellence of his draughtsmanship leading up to the sale of my pump Patents to Lucas and I acknowledge the valuable contributions made by the brothers, as my valued design and development assistants at Lucas.

As affecting my rise to success in my career, I owe most to Captain Irving, whose kindly interest in me and in my inventions , went far beyond his interest as General Manager of Bendix. If he had not been so persistent in his efforts to interest Lucas in my ideas, I may never have achieved my ambitions. I was glad for his sake that I was able to justify his confidence in me.

I owe a great deal to Oliver Lucas. In spite of the great pressures on his time, as Chairman of Lucas and of the Army Tank Development and Production Board, he always found time to take a close personal interest in my work and in my personal welfare, until his death in 1948.

I owe a great deal to Dr. Watson, who took a close personal interest in my work and in my welfare, co-operating with me in every way for the development of my ideas. This in spite of the great pressures on his time and the Company Group Chief Engineer.

I owe much to Ralph Barrington, who was always ready to help wherever help was needed and who was my close companion and confidant for all engine tests of my inventions, during the critical days of the development of the jet engines.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Tom Harris, for his unfailing loyalty, for his valuable development contributions and for taking most of the management loading from my shoulders. Whenever possible from him to do so, he protected me from all boring and unpleasant situations.

I owe a lot to Ken Brook, for his help and encouragement during the difficult period at C.A.V, where he protected my staff against a hostile management and where, unlike myself, he was able to drive the unwilling people responsible for production.

I owe a lot to Lord Hives and to Dr. Hooker of Rolls Royce, who were very pro-Ifield and who supported me against their own senior staff, when these sought to wrest design control from me. I particularly enjoyed Hive’s impish sense of humour in the way he squashed opposition to me and I enjoyed Hooker’s confidence, that I could instantly invent new devices on the blackboard, for whatever new problems arising.

Of others of my staff I particularly recall the support of Stan Davidson; Ted Jones; Harry Bottoms; Eugene Warne; Wally Ashmore; but where can I stop? Even the most junior members of my staff were loyal and enthusiastic assistants and I remember most of them with fondness and gratitude. An important contribution of many was their sense of humour, which helped to carry us through the difficult war years. Unfortunately they seemed to lose their sense of humour after my departure and I saw no smiling faces on my subsequent visits. Perhaps a sense of humour trickles down from the top, so that it began to expire with the death of Oliver Lucas and with my departure, followed soon afterwards with the departure of Leslie Freeman, the death of Tom Harris and Watson’s retirement.

Many of my staff gained important positions, within or outside the Lucas organisation.

Tom Harris succeeded me as Chief Engineer, until his death in 1953.

Joe Righton succeeded Tom Harris as Chief Development Engineer
He then succeeded Tom Harris as Chief Engineer.
He then succeeded John Morley as General Manager.
He is now the Group Technical Director.

Leslie Freeman joined me in Australia as my Chief Designer of Lucas Laboratories.
He then became Chief Engineer and a Director of the Australian Lucas Industrial Equipment Company.
He is now a senior member of the staff of Ifield Engineering Pty Ltd

Frank Freeman rejoined the Gas Turbine Company, to take charge of a new products division of the Company, until his retirement.

Ted Jones became Chief Engineer of Lucas Rotax (Canada) until he resigned.
He then formed a successful engineering Company of his own.

Harry Bottoms became the Chief Designer of Lucas Aerospace Ltd.

Charles Bottoms succeeded Ted Jones as Chief Engineer of Lucas Rotax (Canada) until that company closed down.
He then became General Manager of one of the major factories of Girling Ltd.

Eugene Warne succeeded Owen Lawrence as Chief Performance Engineer.

Bill Huyton, Previously an excellent development engineer, is now the Technical Director of Dowty Ltd.

Dough Izons, previously and assistant designer, succeeded Joe Righton as Chief Engineer.

George Czarnecki, previously an assistant performance engineer, became Chief Performance Engineer at Lucas Rotax (Canada) until the company closed down.
He is now the Chief Engineer of DeLaval in the USA

Les Goddard, previously a laboratory assistant, became Chief Engineering Sales Representative for the Lucas Industrial Equipment Company, until his retirement from the Company.
He is now an independent Manufacturer’s Representative and Ifield Engineering Pty Ltd. Is among his clients.

Mowbray, previously a draftsman is now Chief Designer at C.A.V.

John Price, previously a laboratory assistant was promoted beyond his capabilities as Chief Engineer of the Lucas Industrial Equipment Company, he was then moved sideways to an important position not demanding such engineering talents.

I was informed that others of my erstwhile staff now hold important positions in other companies and I was half jokingly accused of having trained engineers for the benefit of Lucas competitors. This is an admission that my successors did not recognise the talents of these people.

When I returned to Australia, I was asked to serve as a consultant to all the Companies in the Lucas Group. I was appointed a special duties Director of the Gas Turbine Company, which I will now refer to by its present name, Lucas Aerospace Limited. This appointment gave me authority during my visits to the Australian and Canadian Lucas Companies, but I attended Board Meetings only during my overseas visits. In order to increase my authority in Australia, I was appointed as a Director of Joseph Lucas (Australia) Limited and of Lucas Rotax (Australia) Limited. It was then necessary for me to meet and correspond with the senior executives of many Companies in the Lucas Group.

There were many changes among the Lucas senior executives, mainly resulting from deaths and retirements and there were major changes at C.A.V., to replace those whose loyalty was to their old masters, the German Bosch Company. These changes continued and towards the end of my service with Lucas, I was dealing with people previously unknown to me. Those with whom I was mainly concerned were as follows:

Joseph Lucas Industries Limited (The Holding Company)

Chairman- Oliver Lucas died in harness in 1948 and was replaced by –
Sir Bertram Waring who retired in 1969 and was replaced by –
Sir Kenneth Corley, who has since been replaced by Sir Bernard Scott.

Managing Director – Fred Garner who retired in 1969 and has not been replaced.

Group Chief Engineer – Dr Watson who retired in 1958 and was replaced by Dr Clarke who died about 1967 and was replaced by Ewen McEwen.

Girling Limited

General Manager – Michael Kendal

Chief Engineer – Dr Wilson

C.A.V. Limited

General Manager – Bernard Scott

Chief Engineer – Dr Alan Austin

Chief Designer – Mowbray

All other companies, with whom I was concerned as a consultant, became subsidiaries of Lucas Aerospace Limited. I will name the senior officers with whom I was concerned, but as these retired they were not replaced, executive duties were taken over by those at the headquarters of Lucas Aerospace. When Lucas Aerospace took over other Companies, their general managers were either dismissed, or kept on as advisers only; this applied to Keelavite and to several other such Companies I visited, such as Claudel Hobson, Integral Gear Pumps and English Electric.

Lucas Aerospace Limited Headquarters at Shaftmoor Lane

General Manager – John Morley, retired about 1968 and replaced by

Joe Righton whose replacement is unknown to me.

Chief Engineer – Tom Harris died in harness in 1963 and replaced by Joe Righton who on promotion was replaced by Doug Izons.

Chief Designer -Harry Bottoms

Chief of Special Products Division – Frank Freeman, retired and not replaced.

Chief Performance Engineer – Owen Lawrence, replaced on resignation by Eugene Warne.


General Manager – Eric Earnshaw, died about 1976 and not replaced.

Chief Engineer – Ray Woodall, retired about 1958 and replaced by Jack Rea.

Lucas Rotax (Canada)

General Manager – A forgotten American who was replaced by Ron Paget until the factory closed down

Chief Engineer – Ted Jones, who resigned and was replaced by Charles Bottoms until the factory closed down.

Chief Performance Engineer – George Czarnecki until the factory closed down.

Lucas Industrial Equipment Limited

General Manager – Skinner at Marsden Green, replaced for Liverpool by Ron Paget after closure of the Toronto factory.

Chief Engineer – John Price until promoted sideways and replaced by Dr. Bert Clarke.

Lucas Rotax (Australia)

General Manager – A Harrison, until company moved to Sydney, replaced by Bob Bailey.

Chief Engineer – Joe Webb, remained in Melbourne and was not replaced.

Lucas Industrial Equipment (Australia)

General Manager – Bob Bailey.

Chief Engineer – Leslie Freeman.

When Lucas Rotax moved from Melbourne to Sydney, it was absurd for me to attend meetings in Melbourne, so I then resigned from the Board of Joseph Lucas (Australia) Limited, but I met John Kirkhope (the Australian Chairman) and Eric Potter (the Australian Chief Executive) at Lucas Rotax Board Meetings.

When our family owned Company, R.J. Ifield & Sons Pty Ltd. Was formed, I exercised prudence in resigning from the Board of Lucas Rotax (Australia), but I remained as a Director of Lucas Aerospace until my resignation from the Company. I was of little value to the company as a Director, but I was informed that Rolls Royce sough frequent assurance that I was a director of the Company. This became less important after the death of Lord Hives and when Dr. Hooker left Rolls Royce to join the Bristol Aeroplane Company.

As recommended by Oliver Lucas, I gave a series of Lectures soon after my return to Sydney, beginning with an unwritten lecture to the Melbourne Branch of the Institution of Automotive and Aeronautical Engineers (I.A.A.E.) at the request of Joe Webb. I followed this up by a prepared lecture in three parts, delivered at consecutive meetings of the Sydney Branches of the I.A.A.E., the Royal Aeronautical Society (R. Ae. S.) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (I. Mech. E). Of these institutions, only the I.A.A.E. publish important papers in a Journal, as they did for my lectures. The other two Institutions have only a small Australian Membership and they publish only bulletins giving notice of activities to their members. My three written papers were:
A – Aero Gas Turbine Engines.
B – Combustion Systems and Burners for Aero Gas Turbine Engines.
C – Fuel and Control Systems for Aero Gas Turbine Engines.

There were record attendances at all of this series of lectures, which all three Institutes voted to be the most important and best presented lectures for many years. Following the death of Oliver Lucas, my plans for creating a design and development service for Australian industry had to be abandoned and I lost interest in giving lectures; however I honoured my promise to give a paper on my differential and I responded to a request from Dr Watson to give a paper on the development of my fuel pump. During the 1960 to 70 decade, I gave three lectures on the development of hydro-static transmissions, in the hope that this would arouse such interest that the project would be supported. These other papers given were as follows, some were joint meetings of the I. Mech. E. and the Institution of Engineers, Australia (I. E. Aust.).

I. Mech. E……………..28/06/50……………..Differential Transmissions for Road Vehicles
I. Mech. E/R. Ae. S…..24/10/51……………..Development of the Lucas High Pressure Pump.
I. Mech. E/I. E. Aust…20/07/62……………..Hydro-Static Power Transmission
I. Mech. E/I. E. Aust…21/06/67……………..Hydro-Static Variable Speed Transmission.
I. E. Aust………………1969-Jubilee Conf…..The case for Vehicle Four Wheel Drive Hydro-Static
All these lectures were well attended and well received. The transmission lectures aroused a great deal of interest, but this did not result in contracts.

I was honoured by the R. Ae. S. by being appointed the Australian President for a term and following my 1967 lecture to the I. E. Aust., I was invited to become a Fellow of the Institute, after which I was a Fellow of the two most respected engineering Institutions in Britain and the most respected engineering Institution in Australia. I am registered as a Chartered Engineer and am entitled to the following letters after my name:

C. Eng.; F. R. Ae. S; F. I. Mech. E.; F. I. E. Aust.

Even at Exeter I began writing reports about ideas I had evolved during the sea voyage. Apart from giving lectures and weighing up the potentialities of my proposal for my activities in Australia, for the first eighteen months I devoted my time to reviewing the requirements for the new breed of axial compressor engines and to other projects of interest to the Lucas Group. I will later discuss the major projects with which I was concerned over the following years. In this chapter, I will discuss the factors affecting my career in Australia.

During my first year in Australia, Oliver Lucas died and was replaced as Chairman by Bertram Waring (later Sir Bertram). He visited Dural at the end of that year and said that the Company was uninterested in my proposal for operation in Australia and that the Lucas Group would make use of all my inventions. He said that I could build up whatever staff and development facilities I needed, operating under the name ‘Lucas Laboratories’, which would be registered. He said that I must give first priority to the development of improved fuel systems for gas turbine engines; second priority to the development of my hydro-static transmission proposals and third priority to the development of improved equipment for other Companies in the Lucas Group.

He said I must visit the Gas Turbine Equipment Company in England, at least at two yearly intervals, beginning in the following year (1949) I could be accompanied by my wife at Company expenses for each second visit. This arrangement suited me, particularly since I wanted the opportunity to develop the hydro-static transmission system under my direct control, also it gave me the freedom to develop other inventions, free of problems associated with productions and commercialism. After I had completed the transmission developments, I believed that I would so saturate the Lucas Companies with new ideas, that they would allow me to expand my activities to the problems of industry general.

At that time I had a girl to type my letters, reports and lectures and at my own expense I had employed a married couple as domestic helps and for odd jobs on the premises. They were satisfactory in their work, although like most men of that class, the man was drunk after his days off and his wife and child left him. I learned later that he gave her nothing from the money I paid him, to support her or his child. I then began to realise a serious shortcoming of living there. We were far from our friends and relatives and at some distance from neighbours, so that for my first overseas journey, I would have to leave my wife and children in the doubtful care of the odd job man. This was a source of justified worry to me during my absence and I determined to make other arrangements in future.

During my 1949 overseas visit, it was agreed that my trusted friend Leslie Freeman would join me as my first assistant. It was necessary for us to provide additional accommodation for Leslie, when he arrived towards the end of 1949, but his presence eliminated my concern about being absent from home. The odd job man left shortly afterwards and I found that it was not necessary to replace him.

Another problem then emerged. Some of our sons had advanced to high schools and this presented a problem in transportation. Because of this and other circumstances, I abandoned my ideas on building our future home on the property and I decided to sell the property to Lucas and to buy another house in a more suitable area. Lucas agreed to my selling terms during my 1951 overseas visit and I bough our present home in Beecroft; we moved there in September of that same year.

I had paid 4,500 pounds for the building and improvements on the crown land at Dural and I converted this to freehold at a cost of only 150 pounds. I sold the property at cost, including the cost of improvements I had made, on condition that Lucas would sell it back to me at the same price, plus the cost of any improvements they made, if they decided to close the laboratory, or to change its location.

I paid 8,750 pounds for the Beecroft property. During the following years, we spent a great deal of time and money in improving the property to suit our needs and its present market value is about $175,000.

When we moved from Dural, the cottage was rented at a low price to a young couple, on condition that they provided food and accommodation to Leslie Freeman at a reasonable charge to him. Later, Leslie married and rented the cottage as his home, until Lucas closed the laboratory, It then served as a temporary home for my sons as they married. It is now used as a caretaker’s cottage.

During the three years 1950 to 1952, I engaged Edna Allshorn as the Company Secretary, Max Joscelyne as my machine shop craftsman, also my son John and John Betts as junior laboratory assistants. We installed some simple machine tools and test equipment, to meet our needs at that time. We also employed a labourer mainly as a cleaner. Over the following years, we equipped the machine ship with modern tool room lathes, milling machines and a grinding machine; we made up comprehensive testing equipment and provided drawing office equipment for increased staff.

Leslie Freeman became my chief designer, with about four drawing office assistants. Max Joscelyne became chief of the machine shop with about four assistants and my son John became Chief Development Engineer, with about five assistants. By 1960, the total staff at Lucas Laboratories was about 25 people; by that time our major project was the development of the hydro-static transmission, including the manufacture of three transmissions for road tests and demonstrations. I will discuss these developments and others in later chapters.

As I had expected, Lucas were unable to absorb my outflow of new inventions and I realised that the future of Lucas Laboratories depended on the success of our transmission developments. If this was successful, the laboratory would be required for a few more years. To complete the development for production, otherwise the laboratory would be closed down. I hoped to interest Lucas in a joint venture, where I would pay half of the capital cost at Dural and would operate under the name R.J. Ifield & Co. Pty Ltd., not only for the direct benefit of Lucas, but as a practical consulting and development service in industry generally, in accordance with my original ideas.

In preparation for this, I began training two more of my sons, Bob & Colin, as development engineers. I was aware of the strict company ruling, that close relatives must not be employed in this way, but it was essential for my plans. Lucas made no objections about this to me, but when they rejected my partnership proposal, this may have affected their decision to close the laboratory down, when the transmission developments were rejected, instead of allowing it to continue with a reduced staff. I have no regrets about this.

The decade following our return to Australia was one during which I mourned the deaths of many of my dearest friends, beginning with the deaths of Oliver Lucas in 1948 and culminating with the death of our youngest son Philip, in a car accident, which resulted in serious injuries to my wife and to myself. About six months previously my son John had been seriously injured in a car accident, which had cost the life of our universally loved draughtslady, who had been my personal assistant in the preparation of my drawings. These disturbing events upset me emotionally and diminished my powers for intelligent though from mid 1957 to about the end of 1958.

I put forward my proposal to operate the laboratory as a Lucas/Ifield partnership, in 1961. This was rejected and I was asked to close the laboratory down at the end of 1962. I was offered a position as Technical Director of the Lucas Group, if I returned to England and I gave this serious consideration because, with my family responsibilities, I would not have been able to purchase the property and plant at Dural and to await the development of a demand for its services, without the income I received from Lucas.

At that time, one of my sons (Frank) was pursuing his ambitions in England, but several of my other sons stated that if we moved to England, they would remain in Australia. It seemed to me that if we stayed in Australia, Frank would visit us occasionally but if we moved to England we may never see our other sons again until my retirement. I decided to remain in Australia, even if this meant finding employment with another Company, but Lucas then asked me to serve as a consultant to the Lucas Group, with no change in my salary, but making annual overseas visits. I agreed to this.

Those of my sons who were employed at Lucas Laboratories said they wished to continue working in that type of employment. I therefore offered to purchase land and buildings at the price I had sold them to Lucas, plus and agreed sum for improvements made by Lucas, and to purchase the Lucas Laboratories plant and equipment at valuation. In fact, Lucas accepted the marked down book values. We registered the Company as R.J. Ifield & Sons Pty. Ltd., which took over the previous assets of Lucas Laboratories and began operation in February 1963.

I continued to operate from my office at Dural for several years. Lucas paid a rental fee for my office, plus a charge for secretarial and other services. The name Lucas Laboratories was kept alive for my trading use, until my resignation from Lucas in 1970. During the early years of its operation R.J. Ifield. & Sons benefited from several design and development contracts for Lucas and from the manufacture of pumps and motors, on Lucas orders from England and from their Industrial Equipment Company in Sydney.

In 1970, I resign from Lucas to take an executive position as Director of Engineering of R.J. IFIELD & Sons, but our Company was too small to deal with the developing and marketing of new inventions and in attempting to do so, the Company suffered financial losses. I therefore retired from active service in my career on a full time basis, in 1974. Apart from that four year period of service with the Company, I have served only as the non-executive Chairman since its foundation and the history of the growth of the Company should be recorded by my sons.

During my final years of service with Lucas, I employed a secretary, a designer and a lady tracer at office premises I provided at Beecroft, which I operated as Lucas Laboratories. Later I operated from these offices on behalf of R.J. IFIELD & Sons. I continue to use my private office for my present needs. The large office is used for Company Board Meetings and other meetings; also as a sports room and occasional party dining room.

Under separate headings, I will discuss the most important contributions of our laboratory to the control systems for jet engines and also our experiences in the development of hydro-static transmissions from road vehicles, but I have made many other inventive contributions to the Lucas Group of Companies. In many cases it was not necessary to prove the ideas in Australia and these ideas were included in new designs by the Companies concerned.

In the other invention category, the work that most pleased me was carried out against an order from Girling, to establish the relationship between the sideways and tangential friction coefficients at a partly skidding tyre. This was determined at low cost by the use of a simple specially made test device and from the tests, I established a previously unknown law of rolling and sliding friction. I stated this law as follows: –

‘Where sliding takes place in two directions simultaneously, the frictional resistance to sliding in any one direction is in the same proportion to the total friction resistance as is the sliding velocity in that direction to the total sliding velocity’.

With Girling permission, I disclosed this law at the 1969 Jubilee Conference of the Institution of Engineers, Australia.

Just prior to leaving England, Rolls Royce had asked me to give consideration to a new form of control system for the new breed of axial compressor engines; to provide the maximum rate of acceleration without any danger of stalling. They claimed that what was needed was a jet pipe temperature limitation varying as a function of engine RPM.

During my first year at Dural, I was able to devote much of my thoughts to reviewing the control system requirements and I proposed two alternative systems. I referred to one of these as a Proportional Flow Control (P.F.C.) and I referred to the other as a Combined Acceleration and Steady Running Control (C.A.S.C.).

The P.F.C. system provided a by-pass flow directly proportional to the main flow, which could therefore be controlled or limited, by controlling or limiting the by-pass flow to the desired function of the compressor intake pressure P1 for steady running control, or by a jet pipe temperature responsive device for acceleration control.

There is a response delay in any temperature responsive device and this must be allowed for in any acceleration control depending on a temperature responsive signal, so I recommended my alternative C.A.S.C. system, which limited the jet pipe temperature T4 accurately and with instantaneous response, by employing the engine intake and delivery pressures PI and P2 and a signal of engine speed N.

Another problem was that a sudden closing of the pilot’s control sometimes resulted in ‘flame out’, particularly from maximum power at high altitudes and my C.A.S.C. system was adaptable to provide the maximum deceleration free from flame out, the maximum acceleration free from stall and the desired steady running control in response to the setting of the pilot’s control lever.

For gas turbine engines, all gas pressure ratios, gas temperature ratios, air mass flows, thrusts and fuel flow (F) requirements are unique functions of N/ÖT1. The engine makers provided curves of P2/P1, T4/T1 and F/P1ÖT1 all against N/ÖT1, for steady speeds; for maximum stall free acceleration and for deceleration with no danger of flame out. The performance engineers regarded these unique functions as a bible, not to be interpreted in any other way, but I was not limited by mathematical teachings.

Since all the curves were a function of N/ÖT1, they were functions of one another. I played tunes on the curves, multiplying, dividing, squaring, adding one to the other, or whatever was necessary to eliminate the temperature terms, until I had unique curves of F proportional to N(P2 + AP1) for both maximum acceleration and deceleration and F proportional to j (P2 + A P1) for steady requirements, where j is the pilot’s control setting and A is a constant for any given engine.

This led to arguments with Lawrence extending over the following seven years, involving much correspondence and many reports in support of my proposals.

Lucas demanded an immediate visit by me, to advise them on how to remedy the P.F.C. instability. I explained the cause and remedy in letters, but this was not accepted. Within one hour of my arrival at Shaftmoor Lane, I demonstrated the effectiveness of the remedy I had recommended. John Morley then called Tom Harris and Joe Righton into his office and told them that I had made them look ‘bloody fools’. It was Joe Righton who had argued against my recommendation; Tom had been unwise in depending on what Joe had said, but I was sorry that he was embarrassed in that way; particularly so when he died later in that year.

In production, the P.F.C was adapted for trimming to the desired function of

T4 as an acceleration control and it was renamed a Range Temperature Control (R.T.C.). It became the standard control system for several production engines.

In 1954, serious acceleration stalling problems were being experienced on three new engines, the Armstrong Siddeley ‘Sapphire’, the Rolls Royce ‘Avon’ RA7 and the Metropolitan Vickers F2/4. I showed curves of the C.A.S.C control system for all these engines and Lawrence agreed that if the system would meet the requirements of any of these engines, it would probably meet the requirements of all. We had made up and proved a unit on rig tests and I was asked to calibrate it for the Sapphire engine then on test, for demonstration tests during my visit in August/September of that year. About a week before my departure I was asked to change the calibration to suit the more difficult RA7 engine. This change was made.

On engine test, the C.A.S.C. gave the most rapid stall free acceleration that had ever been achieved from that engine and the unit was left in England for continued testing. It was reported that whereas the system had been stable with the face type servo valve I had employed, it was unstable when converted to kinetic servo valves. It seemed that the development engineers had not learned from my teachings relating to the R.T.C. A new C.A.S.C. unit was made and developed at Dural, using the kinetic servo system and the double D size pumps employed for the latest engines. The stability problems were remedied and Leslie Freeman took it for engine tests, during his overseas visit in 1955.

The 1955 demonstrations of the C.A.S.C. eliminated all arguments. As usual, Righton and Lawrence claimed that I had been ‘very lucky’ and Lawrence issued a lengthy report, explaining in complicated mathematics why the system worked so well. I noticed without comment, that in later years, Lawrence adopted my methods for determining the calibration requirements for the C.A.S.C. when it was produced for later engines. In its latest form, as applied to the most modern engines, it is combined with the mechanical speed governor and it has been re-named ‘Mech. C.A.S.C.’.

Lucas and all others concerned were quite satisfied with my pump, with the R.T.C. control system for some engines and with the C.A.S.C. system for all modern large engines, so from 1955 onwards, the Gas Turbine Equipment Company wanted no new developments from me. During my visits, I was asked for ideas on various matters, sometimes requiring studies with full reports describing my proposals, but not requiring development work at Dural.

After the laboratory closed down, I designed a small high efficiency pump for the TSR2 fighter aeroplane and a prototype was made by R.J. Ifield & Sons for Lucas Aerospace.

In 1967, I produced two simple and elegant answers to two Lucas Aerospace problems. One was a means for determining absolute pressures from pressure differences, without requiring evacuated capsules. The other was a means for obtaining rapid response gas temperature signals. These were received with technical interest, but I resigned from the Company, before learning whether or not these ideas were developed and employed for their purpose.

Our work on hydrostatic transmissions began with the design and manufacture of a small transmission unit employing C size fuel pumps as the variable displacement pump and motor. We soon found these were far too noisy in operation for use as vehicle transmissions; the motor static torque efficiency was far too poor; the compressibility losses were unacceptably great at high pressures and small pump displacements; the leakage losses at high pressures were too great and if highly viscous oil was employed to reduce these losses, the mechanical efficiency losses became excessive at high speeds.

Although these units were quite unacceptable for my purpose, they were useful in that exhaustive tests on them determined the design requirements for quiet high efficiency operation. As a result of these tests, I concluded that, pumps of that configuration could be designed for quiet high efficiency operation, but the poor static torque conversion efficiencies as motors was inherent to the design.

I believed that the most attractive scheme was to employ a separate motor for each driven road wheel, piped to an engine driven variable displacement pump and employing a flow divider to prevent excessive wheel spin on badly surfaced tracks. This would eliminate the differential gearing, the crown wheel and pinion and the propeller shaft, thereby permitting a lower flat floor for the rear seat passengers.

I designed a high pressure fixed displacement vane motor, for quiet high efficiency operation and this was made for development. The tests confirmed my claims for quiet high efficiency operation; in fact the static torque conversion efficiency was so great that it was necessary to observe great care in the reading of very accurate instruments, to detect any mechanical efficiency losses. A unit sent to Shaftmoor Lane for evaluation was recorded as having a static and low speed conversion efficiency of 99% plus or minus 1%, because in fact their tests indicated an efficiency slightly in excess of 100%.

Lucas rejected the separate motor scheme, claiming that only a complete gear box replacement scheme would be acceptable for production. In any case, I preferred to employ variable displacement motors as a means for reducing the pump displacement requirements and to maintain moderately high pressures, under the overdrive conditions, whether or not separate motors to each driven road wheel were ultimately used. Armed with all the information obtained from tests, in 1955, I designed the forerunner of the present Ifield high efficiency pump and motor designs.

I was asked to base our developments on the requirements of a Rover 90 motor car, one of which was purchased for road tests and development of transmissions.

The Rover Company provided a road resistance curve and curves of engine torque for various increments of throttle openings, against engine RPM and they specified what they considered to be the optimum control line of engine torque against engine RPM.

The first experimental transmission based on the new pump and motor design gave a promising performance at steady speeds, but there were several problems associated with high frictional resistance to the movements of the port blocks for displacement control. This was overcome by a re-design, employing hydrostatic balance techniques at the port block transfer ports. Several variable displacement pumps of this design were made for development as separate units and some were sent to Shaftmoor Lane for their evaluation of our progress. These units were highly satisfactory.

In 1959, I was asked to curtail the development and to prepare three transmissions, one as a spare; one for road test and development in Australia; the other for demonstrations and evaluation by the M.I.R.A. in England, all by mid 1961. Waring said that the development must be quickly finalised, because the Company had spent well over £I,000,000 to that time, with little promise of success. In fact about 75% of the money spent had been on a competitive system developed in England against my advice and this had proved to be a complete failure.

The transmission was designed and the three units were made as quickly as possible, but there was little time for development in road tests and the unit dispatched to England had been bench tested only. At that stage of development, there were several faults with the transmission:-

1 – It was found that the unit sent to England had porous castings, resulting in leakage of oil from the casings. The need for frequent topping up the oil level was one of the main objections raised.

2 – The control system did not provide tractive effort control at low vehicle speeds; this was a later development. Because of this, it was difficult to avoid what were referred to as ‘kangaroo starts’, from rest.

3 – The system included a full flow reversing valve between the pump and motor and the pressure drops through this valve were excessive at high flow rates. This resulted in a serious loss of efficiency at high road speeds and the test drivers complained of a loss of power together with increased fuel consumption under those conditions.

4 – From test experience at Dural, we were aware that the transfer port seals had a short life, but I thought that they would survive long enough for the road tests, until I learned that these included 20,000 miles of driving under a variety of different conditions. The drivers reported. a marked reduction in performance and fuel economy with increasing driving distance and this was almost certainly due to increasing leakages at the transfer port seals.

As first tested, in comparison with a standard Rover 90 car, the system showed considerable fuel economies at steady speeds below about 70 mph, with a 40% gain in mpg at about 40 mph. Because of the losses through the reversing valve, the standard car was more economical on fuel at speeds above about 75 mph. When driving on roads, the system showed an improvement of 5% in mpg on hilly roads requiring maximum motor displacement, with high flow rates, accompanied by high pressure drop losses through the reversing valves, to 12% on open roads, where greater use would have been made of the high overdrive speed ratios. The average improvement in mpg under various road conditions was 10%.

In spite of the shortcomings at that time, the M.I.R.A. test drivers were favourably impressed with the transmission at that stage of its development. Lucas agreed that the shortcomings could easily be remedied and they accepted my estimate that the average improvement in fuel economy could be increased to about 15%, by replacing the reversing valves with a simple reversing gear box; by employing a lower viscosity fluid such as diesel fuel and by controlling the engine for lowest specific consumption at the various power demands, instead of on the torque curve which had been recommended.

Lucas claimed that the major factors affecting possible sales, were the user advantages against production costs and that improved fuel economy was relatively unimportant. They exampled the hydro-kinetic automatic transmissions, which were popular because they simplified driving at little extra cost, even though this was accompanied by a fuel consumption penalty. They carried out a production cost exercise, in comparison with the standard synchro-mesh transmission, based on a production rate of 50,000 transmissions per year. They claimed that the production cost of £124 per transmission was about three times that for the synchro-mesh transmission and that this was unacceptably high.

Rover and Jaguar agreed to such a cost penalty for such a transmission, but the cost for the reduced production rate increased beyond that they were willing to pay. Rolls Royce said they would pay much more for such a transmission, but not the large increase for their small production requirements. We had a similar reaction in Australia. We demonstrated the transmission to Chamberlain Industries, fitted to one of their tractors; they were delighted with the performance, but a cost estimate based on their production quantities was beyond the price they could pay.

Following this, I was asked to wind the project down and to close the laboratory by the end of 1962. During the winding down period, we developed a tractive effort control linked to the accelerator pedal, giving progressive control when starting and accelerating from rest. On the test rig, we determined the pressure drop losses through the reversing valves and this confirmed that the loss in power and fuel economy at high speeds were due to these losses. We also proved that higher efficiencies were obtainable by the use of diesel fuel instead of oil, as the transmission medium.

R. J. Ifield & Sons continued to produce the high efficiency motors, but only in small numbers to meet special needs demanding efficiencies beyond the capacity of commercially available motors. This applied to some pit trucks which were driven by hydraulic motors at the wheels; these would not climb the specified 1 : 4 gradient until they were fitted with our motors. It applied to the I.K.A.R.A. missile loaders, where only our motors would provide the specified minimum torque conversion efficiency of 95%. It also applied to some automatic miners, which failed to keep the miners against the coal face, when the seam turned uphill, until they were fitted with our motors.

In recent years, our Company has greatly reduced the production costs of the high efficiency pumps, motors and the automatic control system necessary for road vehicle transmissions. There is now much greater interest in conserving liquid fuels and the high price of liquid fuels has caused people to be more interested in fuel economies, such that they are prepared to pay extra first costs for savings in fuel costs. This is evident from the increasing conversions at high costs from liquid fuels to natural gas.

All but two Lucas owned Patents relating to the Ifield pumps and motors are time expired. These two are dated August 1967 and they are not infringed by the modern Ifield designs. The Patented features of the new Ifield high efficiency designs include a specially developed journal slipper; a simplified means for transferring the fluid to and from the moveable port block and the housing; a greatly simplified control system base on the fact that the hydrostatic pressure at the journal slipper is proportional to the driving torque and an improved port face design for extended life.

Some of these new features have permitted the units to be operated at maximum duties on 5/95 water based fluids. The journal slipper has resulted in a reduction in the outside diameter of the units and reduced the mechanical efficiency losses at high speeds, compared with the earlier roller bearing. The simplified flow transfer scheme has greatly reduced production costs, has eliminated the troublesome transfer port seals and has resulted in noise reduction. The improved port face design has provided increased service life.

I am hopeful that the Company can find a sponsor, to cover the cost of a new transmission unit for application to road vehicles and that the transmission will be adopted in production for this purpose in my lifetime.

I estimate that about 250 Provisional Patents have been taken out on my ideas and 112 of these have been accepted as world wide Patented Inventions. Many of these inventions have been produced, others were Patented as protection against competition. The total cost of maintaining these Patents would be the equivalent to nearly $I,000,000 at present day costs, but they have been very profitable to Lucas, not only in protecting them against competition, but their costs have been recovered many times over from Licence Fees and Royalties. I hope that our Company will achieve a similar degree of success from their Patents.

All but 31 complete Patents taken out on my inventions are now time expired and several of my early inventions are now in common usage. Several of my early inventions, which were not disclosed, could still be of value; these include my harmonic crankshaft; my ball bearing transmission; my improved ideas for the steering of track laying vehicles; my high efficiency engine proposals and my ejector system for fixed displacement pumps, simulating variable displacement performances. There were also many valuable ideas Patented by Lucas, but not actually produced.

By the time I left England, I had climbed the first mountain of my ambitions.

I did not succeed in climbing the second mountain of my ambitions in Australia, in creating a practical advisory and development service for Australian industry, but I have contributed to the creation and growth of our family owned Company, which is developing into such an organisation. Now that my sons have earned an excellent reputation as advisers and development engineers, I am advocating the sale of that division of the Company dealing with overhaul. services, so that they will have the time and financial backing necessary to concentrate their efforts on the more rewarding consulting aspects of their work. I may yet see the fruition of my ambitions, through the efforts of my sons.

We did not succeed in developing a hydrostatic transmission acceptable for production, but we may yet succeed in doing so, with the aid of financial sponsorship. It was one of my ambitions when I first went to England, to develop an automatic variable speed transmission for motor cars; it is still one of my ambitions 45 years later. Another of my ambitions at that time was to develop more highly efficient petrol engines, based on my ideas. I had no opportunity to do this, but in recent years I have presented my ideas in a technical paper, which has aroused some interest and perhaps this may be developed in my lifetime.

By far the greatest expenditure of Lucas Laboratories was on the development of the hydrostatic transmission, yet I was informed that the whole of my expenditure in Australia was justified by the success of my R.T.C. and C.A.S.C. control systems for jet engines and there have been other developments, designs and proposals I have made, which have benefited Lucas Group Companies.

As was the case in England, I gained the enthusiasm and loyal support of my assistants in Australia. I particularly acknowledge the efforts of those who were leaders in their sections.

Leslie Freeman – Who was a valued assistant throughout my work for Lucas in England and was my Chief Designer at Lucas Laboratories. His design contributions were invaluable to me.

Edna Allshorn – Who was my second assistant at Dural. As the Company Secretary, she efficiently bossed everyone, including myself. When the laboratory closed down, she served R. J. Ifield & Sons equally well until her retirement.

John Ifield – Who joined my staff in 1952 as a junior laboratory assistant and became my valued Chief Development Engineer. Apart from an absence of several months in 1957, he remained in that position until the closing of the Laboratory. He then played a major part, as an Executive Director, in establishing our family owned Company.

Max Joscelyne – Who joined my staff in 1952 and became Chief of the Experimental Machine shop. A true craftsman whose excellent work contributed greatly to whatever successes we achieved.

My sons Bob and Colin served only for a relatively short period at Lucas Laboratories, but together with my son David, they have contributed to a great extent to the growth of our family owned Company, of which they are Executive Directors.

Des Lamont was another who began at Lucas Laboratories as a junior Laboratory Assistant and who now holds an important position with Ifield Engineering Pty. Ltd. He learned a great deal through his work with me and added to his knowledge in important positions with other Companies later.

I have grateful memories of Janet and Margaret Cavanough. Margaret succeeded Janet as the drawing office lady tracer and as my personal draughtslady, in preparing drawings illustrating my new ideas, for my reports. Both were perfectionists in their work and both brightened the office with their smiles. Janet had the strange power of reading my thoughts, so that with little verbal guidance she was able to draw my ideas exactly as I would have done. Her death was a great shock to me and to all who knew her.

The grim reaper had been kind to me during the first 39 years of my life; he had claimed the lives of some barely remembered relatives and acquaintances, but in spite of the war and the bombing raids on England, I had mourned the death, in 1942, of my brother Milton alone; my family was intact and there had been no casualties among my professional friends and colleagues.

From 1948, the year of my arrival in Australia, there has been a high casualty rate among my closest blood relatives and among my professional colleagues, many of whom were among my dearest friends. A high casualty rate is expected among ageing people, but of the 22 people in this category, who have died since 1948, only three (my father, Dr. Ernest Watson and Sir Bertram Waring) were over 70 years old at the tine of their deaths.

1948 – 1955. The high casualty rate began with the death of my most powerful advocate, Oliver Lucas, in 1948. He was followed by Captain Jack Irving, to whom I owed most for my success in my career; then by Stan Davidson, my Production Manager at Shaftmoor Lane; by Tom Harris, my loyal dear friend who had taken many onerous duties from my shoulders.

1956 – 1960. This period began with the death of my father, followed by my mother in the following year. Janet Cavanough was killed in a car accident in 1957 my youngest son Philip was killed in a car accident at the end of that year. This very distressing period ended with the death of my brother Johnnie.

1961 – 1965. This period began with the death of Ken Brook, our dear friend at C.A.V. He was followed by Lord Hives, my powerful advocate at Rolls Royce and by Cyril Lombard, my co-operative colleague as Chief Designer of engines at Rovers and at Rolls Royce.

1966 – 1970. This period began with the deaths of Frazer Evans, Dennis Lee and Bill Swift all in the same year and the period ended with the death of Dr. Stanley Clarke, who had been responsible for the development of the gas turbine engine combustion system and with whom I had collaborated in my work.

1971 – l975. This period began with the death of John Morley, followed by the deaths of Dr. Watson and Sir Bertram Waring, all of whom had become dear friends. I owe a great deal to Dr. Watson for the success of my career in England and I owe a lot to Sir Bertram, for his support after my return to Australia.

1976 – 1980. This period began with the death of Eric Earnshaw, my most powerful advocate at Rotax, followed by the death of my brother Geoffrey and by the death of Dr. Alan Austin, with whom I co-operated at C.A.V., from about 1960 until my resignation from Lucas.

In addition to my fond memories of all these people, in matters affecting my professional career, I have reason to be particularly grateful to Oliver Lucas, Captain Irving, Tom Harris, Ken Brook, Lord Hives, Sir Bertram Waring and Dr. Watson. In fact of all the people with whom I was associated in my career, there are only three, living or dead, for whom I have no kind thoughts.


I consider that my first career ended when I departed from England. I regard my second career as having started with the formation of Lucas Laboratories and as having ended with my retirement from full time service in my profession. In 1963, I began a spare time study about matters quite unrelated to my profession and I now regard that as being in preparation for what I refer to as my third career.

I have always been aware that my inventive inspirations are from some source beyond my conscious brain. Those of my senior colleagues who were aware of my limited education, referred to my inventive inspirations as an engineering ‘instinct’, or ‘intuition’, which are only other names for ‘ESP’ or a responsiveness to intangible thoughts and recently I learned that the thoughts which inspired me were those of a knowledgeable free spirit, who I refer to as my spiritual tutor.

Although I am responsive to these thoughts, I am not a psychic person and I had always been sceptical of the reported psychic experiences of others, until I had personal experiences of psychic phenomena over a period of about eight years, beginning in 1949, shortly after the death of Oliver Lucas and ending abruptly with the death of our son Philip.

I had no further psychic experiences of that type, but a few years later, I began to respond to an inspiration to make an exhaustive study of human characteristics, based on human instincts for the survival of their species in primitive times and on the changes resulting from living within large settled communities. Because this was only a spare time study, it extended over about eleven years until my retirement from full time service in my profession.

I began these studies rather unwillingly, because they were unlikely to yield any financial rewards, but I became more interested with the accumulation of inspired information, through which I gained increased wisdom in my understanding of my fellow humans, of both sexes and from all walks of life.

Following my retirement from active engagement in my profession, I began to be inspired with information about spiritual matters and I have recorded this in book entitled ‘Intelligences and their humans’, which I intend to publish. If this book is reasonably well received, I intend to publish the results of my previous studies, revised where necessary to conform with the more recent teachings. It is unimportant to me whether or not this third career becomes a profitable one, I feel that I must respond to the guidance of my tutor in this matter, as I have done throughout my adult life in matters affecting my previous careers.

My previous profession has now become only a pleasurable spare time diversion from the work associated with my third career, but I continue to have new inventive ideas, although I doubt that any of these will be developed in my lifetime.

Although I arrived in Sydney on 4/2/1948, my first 18 months were concerned with technical reviews for which I required only a typist. The growth of the laboratory commenced when Leslie Freeman joined me an 18/11/49 as my design assistant. The following shows the laboratory staff engagements in the various sections, until the laboratory was closed on 14/12/1962.

L. B. Freeman 18/11/49 to 1/l/62 Chief designer, left to join Lucas Rotax

J. Betts 28/8/50 to 1/7/56 Laboratory assistant left of own accord 20/4/59 to closure. Rejoined as assistant to L. B. Freeman.

Joy Ayrton 9/9/51 to 13/3/53. Domestic caretaker until L. B. Freeman’s marriage.

E. Allshorn 20/8/51 to closure Company secretary.

K. J. Ifield 19/5/52 to closure Laboratory assistant. Left for a few month in 1956 and rejoined as chief laboratory assistant until closure.

M. Joscelyne 25/8/52 to 30/11/62 Machinist, became chief of machine shop.

R. Gow 2/10/53 to 2/3/56 Laboratory assistant

E. Freeman 3/11/53 to 16/11/56 Domestic caretaker replacing Joy Ayrton

E. Owen 7/4/54 to 31/7/55 Machinist

R. J. (Jim) Ifield 9/4/54 to 1/7/54 Labourer

J. Van Krieson 16/4/54 to 23/12/55 Apprentice machinist

R. Quodling 20/2/55 to 12/7/57 Laboratory assistant

A. Purvis 9/9/55 to 27/l/56 Domestic caretaker

F. Staples 13/l/56 to 20/l/56 Labourer

N. Summerfield 30/l/56 to 19/7/57 Labourer

M. Fritsch 27/2/56 to closure Machinist

D. Lamont 16/4/56 to 30/11/62 Laboratory assistant

W. Sindel 24/4/56 to 30/6/58 Laboratory assistant 17/11/58 to 10/3/62 Rejoined as fitter

W. Mullay 3/5/56 to 12/12/56 Labourer 5/7/57 to closure Rejoined as maintenance man.

J. Cavanaugh 9/9/56 to 4/7/57 Lady tracer, service terminated by death

C. Frost 21/11/56 to 21/3/58 Laboratory assistant

S. Pearce 28/l/57 to 17/0/62 Draftsman

J. Peberty 1/2/57 to closure Apprentice machinist

P. Bonnard 24/6/57 to 24/4/58 Temporary lady tracer.

M. Cavanaugh 5/5/58 to closure Lady tracer.

A. Revel 7/7/58 to 23/12/60 Laboratory assistant

G. Smith 25/7/58 to 31/10/58 Labourer.

F. Percy 18/8/58 to closure Laboratory assistant

G. Perry 18/8/58 to closure Laboratory assistant

D. Green 18/8/58 to 27/2/59 Laboratory assistant

K. Wilkins 13/10/58 to 15/i/60 Machinist

K. Kramer 30/10/58 to 13/5/60 Labourer

W. R. Ifield 17/11/58 to closure Drawing office and laboratory assistant

J. Nicol 6/2/59 to 2/12/60 Machinist

C. Jeffries 17/8/59 to 17/8/62 Fitter

A. Pride 15/5/59 to 21/7/61 Draftsman

A. McGregor 5/6/59 to 5/6/60 Laboratory assistant 5/6/60 to 30/3/62 Fitter

A. Lak 12/6/59 to 16/3/62 Laboratory assistant

B. Corner 25/l/60 to closure Draftsman

M. Mullay 12/2/60 to 7/12/62 Apprentice machine shop

V. Brown 14/3/60 to 17/8/62 Draftsman

A. Sonter 23/5/60 to 30/3/62 Labourer

G. C. Ifield 20/6/60 to 28/7/61 Laboratory

J. Marshall 20/2/61 to 17/8/62 Machinist

W. Mullay 13/12/61 to closure Apprentice machinist

J. Byrne 13/12/61 to closure Replaced M. Joscelyne chief of machine shop.