Tag Archives: Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath

13 September 1931

Supermarine S.6B S.1595 at the London Science Museum. (sciencemuseum.org.uk)

13 September 1931: Having won the previous two Coupe d’Aviation Maritime Jacques Schneider international seaplane races, the United Kingdom was in the position of permanently winning the famous Schneider Trophy if it were to win a third consecutive race.

The 1931 race was the twelfth in a series of annual or semiannual races which were first held in 1913, specifically for seaplanes. Teams from several nations, France, Great Britain, Italy and the United States, competed with float-equipped airplanes built specifically for the races. The national team which won three consecutive races would win the series and take home the Trophy. Italy had won three times (1920, 1921, and 1926); the United States, twice (1923, 1925); and France, one time (1913). The United Kingdom had previously won in 1922, 1927 and 1929.

Royal Air Force High-Speed Flight, 1931. (Unattributed)

Having won the race in 1929, Great Britain was the host nation for 1931. Like the 1929 race, the 1931 race was held over The Solent, a body of water between the harbor city of Portsmouth, England, and the Isle of Wight. Instead of the four-sided polygon used previously, the 1931 race course was a triangle of 50 kilometers (31.07 statute miles). Competitors would make seven circuits of the course, with all left-hand turns, for a total distance of 350 kilometers (217.48 statute miles).

Competitors would fly seven counter-clockwise laps of the 50-kilometer triangular race course (FLIGHT)

Italy had been developing the Macchi-Castoldi M.C. 72 with its 3,100-horsepower, 24-cylinder Fiat AS.6 engine, but the airplane was not ready by the required date. The United States was unwilling to invest the required money and had not entered since the 1927 race. France also was not prepared to compete. Both France and Italy formally announced their intention not to compete on 4 September 1931.

This meant that only a single British airplane was required to complete the race course to win the race and permanent possession of the trophy. Three airplanes were ready, one Supermarine S.6 and two new S.6Bs.

Three racing aircraft of the Royal Air Force High-Speed Flight at RAF Calshot for the 1931 Schneider Trophy Race. Left to right, #7, Supermarine S.6B S.1596; , Supermarine S.6 N.248; and , Supermarine S.6B S.1595. (FLIGHT)

Postponed because of rain and fog on the previous day, the 1931 race started at 1:02:10 p.m., Sunday, 13 September, with the firing of the starting gun from HMS Medea. Flight-Lieutenant John Nelson Boothman, Royal Air Force, in a blue and silver Supermarine S.6B, number S.1565, taxied across the start line at 1:10:19 p.m.

Race rules required that competitors take off, circle and land on the water. They were then required to taxi on the water for two minutes, before taking off a second time to begin the officially timed race laps. Observers reported that Flight-Lieutenant Boothman’s performance of the preliminary test was flawless. He taxied into position for his second takeoff and was airborne with a 40 second run.

Flight-Lieutenant John N. Boothman (FLIGHT)

Boothman’s lap times were:

Lap 1: 552.15 kilometers per hour (343.1 miles per hour)

Lap 2: 551.5 kilometers per hour (342.7 miles per hour)

Lap 3: 547.1 kilometers per hour (340.0 miles per hour)

Lap 4: 544.5 kilometers per hour (338.3 miles per hour)

Lap 5: 546.5 kilometers per hour (339.6 miles per hour)

Lap 6: 546.1 kilometers per hour (339.4 miles per hour)

Lap 7: 543.5 kilometers per hour (337.7 miles per hour)

Overall average speed: 547.3 kilometers per hour (340.08 miles per hour)

Air Ministry,

9th October, 1931.


     The KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Air Force Cross to the undermentioned officers of the Royal Air Force:—

Flight Lieutenant John Nelson Boothman.

In recognition of his achievement in winning the Schneider Trophy Contest, 1931.

Supermarine S.6B, S.1596. (BAE Systems)

S.1595 was Vickers-Supermarine S.6B Monoplane, designed by Reginald Joseph Mitchell, who would later design the legendary Supermarine Spitfire fighter of World War II. The racer was developed from Mitchell’s earlier S.4, S.5 and S.6 Schneider Cup racers, and was built at the Supermarine Aviation Works (Vickers), Ltd., Southampton, on the south coast of England. There were two S.6Bs, with the second identified as S.1596.

Cutaway illustration of the Supermarine S.6B. (George Horace Davis)

The Supermarine S.6B was a single-place, single-engine, low-wing monoplane with two fixed pontoons as an undercarriage. It was of all-metal construction and used a high percentage of duralumin, a very hard alloy of aluminum and copper, as well as other elements. The float plane was 28 feet, 10 inches (8.788 meters) long, with a wingspan of 30 feet, 0 inches (9.144 meters) and height of 12 feet, 3 inches (3.734 meters). The wing area was 145 square feet (13,5 square meters). The S.6B had an empty weight of 4,560 pounds (2,068 kilograms) and gross weight of 5,995 pounds (2,719 kilograms).

Supermarine S.6B S.1596 (BAE Systems)

In an effort to achieve the maximum possible speed, aerodynamic drag was eliminated wherever possible. There were no radiator or oil cooler intakes. The wing surfaces were constructed of two thin layers of duralumin with a very small space between them. The engine coolant, a mixture of water and ethylene glycol, was circulated between these layers, which are known as surface radiators. The engine had a high oil consumption rate and the vertical fin was the oil supply tank. The skin panels also served as surface radiators. The fuselage panels were corrugated for strength, and several small parallel passages transferred lubricating oil from the fin tank to the engine, and further cooled the oil.

Supermarine S.6B S.1596 (BAE Systems)

S.1595 was powered by a liquid-cooled, supercharged, 2,239.327-cubic-inch-displacement (36.696 liter) Rolls-Royce Type R single-overhead-camshaft (SOHC) 60° V-12 engine, number R29. The Type R was a racing engine with 4 valves per cylinder and a compression ration of 6:1. In the 1931 configuration, it produced 2,350 horsepower at 3,200 r.p.m. It used a 0.605:1 reduction gear and turned a Fairey Aviation fixed-pitch airscrew with a diameter of 8 feet, 6 inches (2.591 meters). A special fuel, a mixture of benzol, methanol and acetone with TCP anti-detonation additive, was used.

Lucy, Lady Houston, with the Royal Air Force High-Speed Flight, 1931. R.J. Mitchell, designer of the S-series racers, is standing at right. (Royal Air Force Museum)

There would have been no 1931 British Schneider Trophy Race team without the generous contribution of Lucy, Lady Houston, D.B.E., who donated £100,000 to Supermarine to finance the new aircraft. Lady Houston would later sponsor the 1933 Houston Mount Everest Flying Expedition.

The winning aircraft, S.1595, is in the collection of the Science Museum, London.

Supermarine S.6B S.1596 (BAE Systems)

John Nelson Boothman was born at Harrow, northwest London, England, 19 February 1901. He was the son of Thomas John Boothman, a railway clerk, and Mary Burgess Boothman. He  became interested in aviation while very young, and took his first flight at the age of 10, as a passenger of Samuel Franklin Cody, the first pilot to fly a powered airplane in England.

Boothman was educated at Harrow High School. In 1918, when he was 16 years old, Boothman volunteered as a driver with the Croix-Rouge française (French Red Cross), serving in the Balkans until World War I came to an end. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre.

On his return to England, he took flying lessons and joined the Royal Air Force. He received a short-service commission as a Pilot Officer (probationary), 29 March 1921. He trained at No. 1 Flight Training School. He then joined No. 4 Squadron at Constantinople. On 22 March 1922, Boothman was confirmed in the rank of Pilot Officer. He was promoted to Flying Officer 29 September 1922.

Also in 1922, Pilot Officer Boothman married Miss Gertrude Andrews. They would have one son.

Flying Officer Boothman returned to England in 1924 and was assigned as a flight instructor at the Central Flying School. He was also a member of an aerial demonstration team.

After five years of service, on 1 January 1926 Boothman’s commission as a Flying Officer, Royal Air Force, was made permanent. He returned to the Middle East, joining No. 55 Squadron in Iraq, 21 September 1926. This was a bombing squadron, equipped with the de havilland DH-9A. Boothman was promoted to Flight-Lieutenant 1 July 1927. He served with the Air Staff before going on to No. 30 Squadron, which also flew DH-9As, as a flight commander, 24 February 1928.

Flight-Lieutenant John Nelson Boothman, Royal Air Force.

Flight-Lieutenant Boothman was assigned as a test pilot at the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment, Felixstowe, Suffolk, 10 February 1930. On 11 May 1931, he became a member of the High-Speed Flight at RAF Calshot.

After winning the Schneider Trophy Race, on 3 October 1931, Flight-Lieutenant Boothman was assigned as a flight commander with No. 22 Squadron, a test squadron supporting the Aeroplane Experimental Establishment at RAF Martlesham Heath. During 1932, he became seriously ill and was removed from duty for several months. He returned to duty 13 August 1932 as a test pilot in the Experimental Section at RAE Farnborough. He then served as Chief Flying Instructor, Central Flying School.

Flight-Lieutenant Boothman attended the Royal Air Force Staff College in 1935. He was promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader, 1 December 1935. From 4 January 1936, he was assigned to Air Staff, Headquarters, Coastal Command. On 26 March 1937, Squadron Leader Boothman was assigned to Air Staff, Headquarters, Royal Air Force, Far East.

Boothman was promoted to Wing Commander, 1 January 1939. In September he was placed in command of No. 44 Squadron at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. This was a light bomber squadron which flew Bristol Blenheims and Handley Page Hampdens.

During the early stages of World War II, Wing Commander Boothman was assigned to Air Staff—Directorate of Operations (Home), and Air Staff, Headquarters, Bomber Command. He returned to RAF Waddington in March 1940 as the station’s commanding officer. He was promoted to Group Captain (temporary), 1 March 1941, then sent to the United States as an adviser to the U.S. Army Air Forces. Boothman returned to England as commanding officer of RAF Finningley, South Yorkshire.

On 6 June 1943, Group Captain Boothman was promoted to the rank of Acting Air Commodore, and assigned as Air Officer Commanding, No. 106 Wing. The wing controlled all photographic reconnaissance units in the United Kingdom. In 1 December 1943, Air Commodore Boothman’s rank was changed from Acting to Temporary.

In July 1944 Air Commodore Boothman was assigned as Commandant, Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A. & A.E.E.) at RAF Boscombe Down, Wiltshire. In the King’s Birthday Honours, 1944, Air Commodore Boothman was invested Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Military Division (C.B.).

On 2 July 1945, was promoted to Acting Air Vice Marshal and appointed Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Technical Requirements). On 9 October 1945, The U.S. Army Air Forces awarded him the the medal of Commander, Legion of Merit.

Air Vice Marshal John Nelson Boothman D.F.C., A.F.C., Royal Air Force, is presented the Legion of Merit by General Carl A. Spaatz, United States Army Air Forces. (Smithsonian Institution)

Air Vice Marshal Boothman once again returned to Iraq in 1948 as Air Officer Commanding, Air Headquarters, Iraq.

On 4 September 1950, he was promoted to Acting Air Marshal, and Controller of Supply (Air), Ministry of Supply. On 15 November 1953, Air Marshal Boothman became Commander in Chief, Coastal Command and Commander in Chief (Air) Eastern Atlantic Area.

In the King’s Birthday Honours list, 7 June 1951, Air Marshal Boothman, C.B., D.F.C., A.F.C., was promoted to Knight Commander of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (K.B.E.).

In the Queen’s Birthday Honours, June 1954, Air Marshal Sir John Boothman, K.B.E., D.F.C., A.F.C., was invested Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (K.C.B.).

On 1 October 1954, Sir John was promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal. He retired from the Royal Air Force in 1956.

Air Chief Marshal Sir John Nelson Boothman, K.C.B., K.B.E., D.F.C., A.F.C., Royal Air Force, died 29 December 1957 at the age of 57 years.

Air Vice Marshal Sir John Nelson Boothman, 1946. (Photographed by Walter Stoneman)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

12 April 1937

“Whittle’s first experimental jet engine (W.U.) in his Power Jets workshop at Lutterworth.” Painting by Roderick John Lovesey (1944–2002).

12 April 1937: At his laboratory at the British Thompson-Houston Works in Rugby, Warwickshire, England, Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant Frank Whittle prepares the first test of his prototype aircraft engine, the Power Jet W.U. (“Whittle Unit”), which he calls a “supercharger.”

Using an electric motor, Whittle spins the engine up to 1,000 r.p.m. He switches on the pilot jet, which sprays atomized diesel fuel into the engine’s combustion chamber. A hand-cranked magneto supplies electricity to fire a spark plug to ignite the fuel. Whittle continues to spin the engine to 3,000 r.p.m., at which speed the combustion cycle is self-sustaining. The Whittle Unit continues to accelerate uncontrolled to about 8,500 r.p.m.

This was the very first successful test of a turbojet engine.¹

Whittle’s first patent for a turbojet engine, filed 16 January 1930. (frankwhittle.co.uk)

With the exception of the uncontrolled acceleration, the test was successful. It would later be found that the acceleration was caused by liquid fuel pooling in the combustion chamber. The Whittle Unit was based on Whittle’s own patent, No. 347,206, which was filed 16 January 1930. The patent was published in 1931. (Following World War II, copies of these patent documents were found at several laboratories in Germany.) In 1935, Whittle was unable to afford the £5 required to renew his patent, and it entered the public domain.

The Power Jet W.U. was a single-shaft turbojet engine with a single-stage, centrifugal-flow compressor, a single combustion chamber, and a single-stage, axial-flow turbine. The engine had two air intakes, one for each side of the compressor impeller. The impeller was double-sided with a diameter of 19 inches (48.26 centimeters). It had 30 blades and was constructed of Hiduminium R.R. 56, a high strength, high-temperature, aluminum alloy produced by High Duty Alloys, Ltd., at Slough, Berkshire, England. The compressor blade tips had a width of 2 inches (5.08 centimeters). The inner diameter of the compressor scroll was 31 inches (78.74 centimeters). The turbine was 14 inches (35.56 centimeters) in diameter with 66 individual blades. Each blade was 2.4 inches (6.096 centimeters) long, with a chord of 0.8 inches (2.032 centimeters). The turbine was constructed of Firth-Vickers Stayblade, a chrome-nickel stainless steel alloy produced by Firth Brown Steels of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. The turbine bearing housing was water-cooled.²

Frank Whittle’s first experimental turbojet engine.

Air entered the compressor where it was heated and pressurized by the spinning impeller to about 4 times normal atmospheric pressure. This caused the air temperature to increase substantially. The pressurized air was passed on to the combustion chamber where the fuel spray was ignited by the spark plug. Burning gas passed through the turbine blades, causing them to spin at very high speeds. The turbine turned a shaft which lead forward to turn the compressor impeller. Exhaust expelled through the tailpipe provides thrust.

Rotor assembly of the first experimental engine. The turbine is at left, and the compressor impeller is at center. (University of Cambridge)

Testing of the Whittle Unit continued until 23 August 1937. For reasons of safety, British Thompson-Houston would not allow Whittle to test the engine above 12,000 r.p.m., and recommended that he move his laboratory to a BTH-owned foundry at the Ladywood Works, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, England.

After analyzing test data, Whittle concluded that the Power Jet W.U. had poor compressor efficiency; that there was excessive preheating of air entering the rear intake because of combustion chamber heat; the combustion of the air/fuel mixture was unsatisfactory; and there was excessive frictional loss in the turbine.

The W.U. eventually reached 17,750 r.p.m and produced approximately 1,390 pounds of thrust (6.18 kilonewtons). Whittle continued testing a series of improved W.U. turbojets until 1941, when he built the Whittle W.1X engine.

Whittle W.1

On 15 May 1941, a Whittle W.1 powered the Gloster E.28/39 prototype jet fighter on its first flight. (In October 1941, General Henry Harley (“Hap”) Arnold, U.S. Army Air Forces, arranged to have the W.1X flown to the United States so that the U.S. could develop its own jet engine, the General Electric Type I.)

The Gloster-Whittle E.28/39 in its original configuration. The horizontal paint stripe was used as an indication of heating by the turbojet engine. (BAE Systems)

* * * * * * *

Air Commodore Frank Whittle, RAF, in his office at Lutterworth, Leicestershire, England, circa 1945, with scale models of the Gloster-Whittle E.28/39, and Whittle Supercharger Type W.1 engine. (Imperial War Museum, TR 3737)
Frank Whittle, age 4.

Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, O.M., K.B.E., C.B., F.R.S., F.R.Ae.S., Royal Air Force, was born 1 June 1907 at 72 Newcombe Road, Earlsdon, Coventry, England. He was the older of two sons of Moses Whittle, a foreman in a machine tool factory, and Sara Alice Garlick Whittle. He attended Earlsdon Council School, just around the corner from his home. In 1916, the Whittle family moved to 9 Victoria Street, Royal Leamington Spa, in Warwickshire, where he was educated at the Milverton Primary School. After about two years, he earned a scholarship to what would later be called the Leamington College for Boys.

In 1923, Frank Whittle left school to join the Royal Air Force. He was initially turned down because he was just 5 feet tall (1.52 meters) and very underweight. Six months later, he had grown another 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) and increased his weight and strength. Whittle was accepted under an assumed first name (he soon reverted to his real name) to a three-year course as an aircraft mechanic. A superior officer recommended him for officer and pilot pilot training at the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, in Lincolnshire.

Prize winners, RAF Cadet College, Cranwell, July 1928. Frank Whittle is standing at the center of the image. (Gale & Polden Ltd., Aldershot via RAF College Cranwell)
Pilot Officer Frank Whittle, RAF.

Frank Whittle graduated from RAF Cranwell and on 21 August 1928 was granted a permanent commission as a Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force, with seniority from 28 July. He was considered to be an exceptional pilot, and had scored second in his class in academics. At his graduation ceremony, Whittle, flying an Armstrong Whitworth Siskin at 1,500 feet (457 meters), performed an aerobatic maneuver called an “English bunt,” the first RAF officer to do so.³

Pilot Officer Whittle served as a pilot and flight instructor, and was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer, 28 January 1930.

Flying Officer Whittle married Miss Dorothy Mary Lee at Coventry, 24 May 1930. Mrs. Whittle was three years his senior. They would have two sons, David and Ian.

David Whittle, Dorothy Mary Lee Whittle, Group Commander Frank Whittle, and Ian Whittle.

In 1931, Whittle was assigned as a test pilot at the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment, Felixstowe, Suffolk. He flew more than 20 aircraft types.

Flying Officer Frank Whittle in a life raft, circa 1932. A Royal Navy Fairey Seal, S1325, is sinking in the background. (frankwhittle.co.uk)

In 1932, he attended the Officers School of Engineering at RAF Henlow, in Bedfordshire. Flying Officer Whittle was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant, 1 February 1934. Whittle had scored so high in his studies at Henlow that the RAF sent him to the RAF E Course at the Peterhouse College of the University of Cambridge. He graduated in 1936 with Bachelor of Arts degree and a First in Mechanical Sciences Tripos.

Photograph of Whittle’s student record card, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge.
Dorothy and Frank Whittle outside the Senate House after the degree ceremony. (University of Cambridge)

While at Cambridge, Flight Lieutenant Whittle entered into a partnership to form Power Jets Ltd., and began work on his design for the Power Jets W.U. The engine would be built by the British Thompson-Houston Works.

On 1 December 1937, Flight Lieutenant Whittle was promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader. The RAF assigned him to the Special Duty List, allowing him to continue post-graduate work at Cambridge and to work on the turbojet engine.

Squadron Leader Whittle was promoted to Wing Commander (temporary), 1 June 1940.

Wing Commander Whittle developed the Whittle W.2, which powered the Gloster Meteor on its first flight, 5 March 1943. He was promoted to Group Captain (temporary), 1 July 1943.

Fifth of eight F9/40 prototypes, Gloster Meteor DD206/G was the first to fly, 5 March 1943.

Group Captain Whittle was appointed Commander of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE), 1 January 1944. He was promoted to Acting Air Commodore.

King George V, on 5 November 1946, granted unrestricted permission to Air Commodore Whittle, CBE, to wear the Legion of Merit in the degree of Officer, a military decoration conferred by the President of the United States for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.

Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, CB, photographed 1 July 1947, by Walter Stoneman. (National Portrait Gallery NPG x188861)

In the King’s New Year’s Honours List, 1 January 1947, Air Commodore Whittle, CBE, was appointed a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB). In May 1948, for his work on jet engines, Whittle was awarded £100,000 ⁴ by Royal Commission on Awards. King Edward VIII appointed Air Commodore Whittle an Ordinary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE), 10 June 1948.

Group Captain Sir Frank Whittle, KBE, CB, was retired from the Royal Air Force, 26 August 1948, due to medical unfitness for Air Force service. He retained the rank of Air Commodore.

Sir Frank Whittle, circa 1951. (Baron/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Air Commodore Frank Whittle, RAF. (Edwin Irvine Halliday, 1960)

After retiring from the RAF, Whittle joined the British Overseas Airways Corporation as a technical adviser. He left BOAC in 1952. On 1 January 1953, Frederick Mueller Ltd. published his autobiography, Jet: The Story of a Pioneer. Later that year, he joined Shell, one of the world’s largest petroleum companies, as a Mechanical Engineering Specialist. He invented a turbine-powered oil well drill. In 1957, he went to work for Bristol Aero Engines.

In 1960, the Norwegian Institute of Technology, Trondheim, Norway, awarded Whittle an honorary degree, Doctor Technices honoris causa. In 1967, the University of Bath, in Somerset, England, awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.

From 1967 to 1976, Sir Frank and Lady Dorothy resided at Walland Hill, a 4,130 square foot (383.6 square meters) house on 5 acres, built in 1865, and overlooking the Teign Valley and Dartmoor. The house is situated about ¾-mile (1.2 kilometers) from Chagford, Devon.

Walland Hill, near Chagford, Devon, England.

Following his divorce from Dorothy, Lady Whittle, Sir Frank Whittle married the former Mrs. Virgil Lee Hall (née Hazel Ardyce Steenberg) on 5 November 1976, at Fort Leslie J. McNair, at a United States Army base located in Washington, D.C. He emigrated to the United States in 1977 and became a research professor at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

Whittle was the author of a textbook, Gas Turbine Aero-Thermodynamics With Special Reference to Aircraft Propulsion, published by Pergamon Press, Oxford, in 1981.

On 14 February 1986, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Whittle to the Order of Merit (OM), dated 11 February 1986.

Loughborough University, Leicestershire, awarded Whittle the honorary degree of Doctor of Technology in 1987.

In February 1996, Whittle was diagnosed with lung cancer. 24 days after the death of his first wife, Lady Dorothy, at 10:40 p.m., 8 August 1996,⁵ Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, O.M., K.B.E., C.B., F.R.S., F.R.Ae.S., Royal Air Force (Retired), died at his home at 10001 Windstream Drive, , Columbia, Maryland. He was 89 years old. His remains were cremated, then interred at St. Michael’s and All Angels’ Church, RAF Cranwell.

Sir Frank Whittle, photographed by Elliot & Fry, 30 November 1950. (National Portrait Gallery NPG x99798)

A memorial was held at Westminister Abbey, 15 November 1996. Air Chief Marshall Sir Michael James Graydon, GCB, CBE, FRAeS, said of him, “It is given to few people, and even fewer in their own lifetime, to open up new horizons for their fellow human beings. That is what Frank Whittle did by paving the way for popular air travel on a scale that few people thought possible at the time. This practical realization of a soaring vision is surely the very essence of genius.”

The Daily Telegraph called him “the greatest aero engineer of the century.” Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, “Sir Frank helped to change both the way we live and the world we live in.”

A very interesting documentary about Whittle, including interviews with the Air Commodore, can be seen on YouTube:

¹ Hans-Joachim Pabst von Ohain’s turbojet engine, the Heinkel HeS 1, burning gaseous hydrogen, was first run in September 1937, about six months after Whittle’s Power Jets W.U.

Schematic of von Ohain’s Heinkel HeS 1 turbojet engine.

² “The Whittle Jet Propulsion Gas Turbine,” by Air Commodore Frank Whittle, C.B.E., R.A.F., M.A., Hon. M.I. Mech.E., The Engineer, 12 October 1945, Pages 288–290.

³ The English bunt begins in straight and level flight. The pilot performs an outside half loop, ending in inverted level flight.

⁴ Equivalent to £4,651,934/$5,771,654 in 2023.

⁵ 02:40, 9 August, UTC.

© 2023, Bryan R. Swopes