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Edward Lister Ifould (1909–1981)

by Dennis Newton

This article was published:

Edward Lister Ifould (1909-1981), air force officer, industrial chemist and company director, was born on 6 April 1909 at St Peters, Adelaide, eldest of three sons of South Australian-born parents William Herbert Ifould, librarian, and his wife Carrie Eugenie, née Foale. After the family moved to Sydney, Lister was educated at Turramurra College and North Sydney Boys’ High School. In 1926 he joined the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd; he worked as a production chemist in the company’s factories in North Queensland and New South Wales. A keen sportsman, he joined Palm Beach Surf Life-Saving Club and Northern Districts Hockey Club, Sydney, and in 1931 was a member of the New South Wales Andrews Pennant hockey team. He played Rugby League football at Innisfail, Queensland, and belonged to Tweed Heads Golf Club, New South Wales.

Five ft 8 ins (173 cm) tall, with brown eyes and hair, strong features, and a dark complexion, Ifould enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force on 22 July 1940 under the Empire Air Training Scheme. Commissioned on 14 March 1941 as an air observer, he arrived in England in July and undertook operational training before being posted in December to No.97 Squadron of the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command. The squadron was equipped with Manchesters, but in January 1942 new four-engined Lancasters began to arrive. Ifould quickly gained a reputation as a skilled navigator and bomb-aimer.

On 17 April 1942 he participated in a highly dangerous daylight, low-level attack by twelve Lancasters on the diesel-engine factory at Augsburg in southern Germany. Due to enemy flak and fighters, just eight Lancasters succeeded in bombing the target and only five returned to England. Ifould was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was afterwards appointed squadron navigation officer and in July promoted to acting flight lieutenant. In all, he completed one mission in a Manchester and seventeen in Lancasters before being posted to No.109 Squadron in October.

Flying Mosquito light bombers, No.109 Squadron was one of the first squadrons in Pathfinder Force (No.8 Group). Ifould was again appointed squadron navigation officer. His first sortie was a special mission on the night of 20 December 1942. Leading six Mosquitoes to bomb a power station at Lutterade, the Netherlands, he and his pilot, Squadron Leader H. E. Bufton, were the first to use a blind-bombing technique known as Oboe. On 31 December at Düsseldorf, Germany, they employed Oboe for the first time to mark targets, dropping flares to guide in the main bomber force of Lancasters. Target-marking trials using Oboe continued into the new year and on 4-13 January 1943 Ifould and Bufton guided bombers over the Ruhr. Having been mentioned in despatches, Ifould was awarded a Bar to his DFC.

Made acting squadron leader in March 1943 (temporary July 1944), Ifould served with No.109 Squadron until September, logging up forty-five missions in Mosquitoes. For his skill and outstanding devotion to duty in flying a large number of sorties to targets in the Ruhr and Rhineland, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. The citation referred to him as `a navigator of high merit’ whose energy in training others had produced good results. In September-November he was a member of an RAF delegation visiting Washington, and its representative during United States Army trials of special radar equipment.

Back in Britain, Ifould was posted to headquarters, Pathfinder Force, then in January 1944 to headquarters, No.100 (Special Duties) Group, where he became group navigation officer. The most decorated navigator in the RAAF, he returned to Sydney in June and was transferred to the RAAF Reserve on 25 November. That year both his brothers were killed, Elton Murray while serving with the RAAF and Frank Henry while serving with the Royal Australian Navy. On 3 February 1945 at St James’s Church of England, King Street, Sydney, Ifould married Mary Frankcomb, née Blackwood, a pilot’s widow with a young daughter.

Ifould returned to CSR and rose to managing director of CSR Chemicals Pty Ltd before his retirement in 1971. He was later a director of Marbon Chemical (Australia) Pty Ltd, William Adams & Co. Ltd, QUF Industries Ltd and New Guinea Goldfields Ltd. Two of his passions were surfing and golf. He was president (1972-79) of the Elanora Country Club and a member of the board of the Australia Club. Sailing was another love; he had been a crew member aboard the sloop Struen Marien it won the Sydney to Hobart race in 1951. Survived by his wife and their two daughters and son, and by his stepdaughter, he died on 29 January 1981 at Wahroonga, Sydney, and was cremated. His portrait (1946) by Harold Freedman is held by the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Select Bibliography

  • J. Herington, Air War Against Germany & Italy 1939-1943 (1954)
  • M. Middlebrook and C. Everitt, The Bomber Command War Diaries (1985)
  • K. Delve and P. Jacobs, The Six-Year Offensive (1992)
  • series A9300, item Ifould E L (National Archives of Australia)
  • AWM65, item 2788 (Australian War Memorial)
  • private information.

Citation details

Dennis Newton, 'Ifould, Edward Lister (1909–1981)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2007, accessed online 13 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17, (Melbourne University Press), 2007

View the front pages for Volume 17

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