Funeral to be held for Bradford war heroine

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Codebreaker Phyllis Iliffe Codebreaker Phyllis Iliffe

A wartime codebreaker who went on to escape a mortar bomb attack in the Congo has died aged 104 after a lifetime of adventure.

Friends and family of Phyllis Iliffe will say their final farewells at Nab Wood Crematorium, Shipley, on Friday.

Miss Iliffe, who was honoured by the Queen for her work with the intelligence services during the Second World War and the Cold War, started out as a teacher after studying Italian at university but decided it was not for her.

Instead she chose to work for the Government, undergoing a colourful stint with the Foreign Office, travelling the world and being part of history in the making.

During the Second World War, she worked in the Italian section of the intelligence gathering centre at Bletchley Park where top-secret codes were broken, providing the Allies with vital information towards their war effort.

After the war, she witnessed some of its effects during her two-year period in Lille, France, with the consular service from 1956.

In the early 1960s, Miss Iliffe was promoted to Vice-Consul in the Congo, which was marred by civil unrest at the time.

She was involved in some narrow escapes during her time there, including sleeping in a house that was mortar-bombed. One of the other Europeans taking refuge there was killed in the raid.

In 2004 when she was 100, Miss Iliffe gave an interview about her adventures to the Telegraph & Argus and said: “I don’t know how I’ve got to this great age.

“There’s quite a story about my life. I’ve been through interesting times.”

Miss Iliffe lived at the Well Springs Nursing Home in Heaton, Bradford, and was awarded an MBE for her work.

She leaves a sister and a nephew.

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