Frank Whittle, G B Bozzoni and H Harvard testing an engine, c 1946.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Building the myth. After the war, a scene showing Whittle and colleagues testing the first engine was recreated for the official film 'Jet Propulsion' made by the Crown Film Unit using the old testbed. Whittle is seen in the centre. Sir Frank Whittle (1907-1996) joined the Royal Air Force as an apprentice, qualified as a pilot, and was able to study at Cambridge whilst still in the RAF. In 1936 he set up Power Jets Ltd to develop what was to become the first British jet engine - the WI engine.