What Happened to Harold Whittles?

September 10, 2023

Harold Whittles was born in 1914. He married Betty Jane Whittles. They had 1 child. Harold Whittles died in 1976.

The photo by Jack Bradley, first published in the February 1974 edition of Reader’s Digest under the title “Unforgettable Moments Caught on Film,” captures the exact moment a five year old boy who was born deaf hears sound for the first time. The expression on the boy’s face is both shocking and awe inspiring, and the image has become one of the most popular photos in the world.

After the war Whittle went back to Shell where he continued his work on gas turbine engines for aircraft,[1] modifying an existing petrol engine to produce a continuous flow of combustion that could be used for powering an airplane propeller. He also developed a new type of self-powered drill[2] which was driven by a small turbine powered by the lubricating mud that is pumped into a borehole during drilling. This reduced the amount of heavy equipment needed for the job and allowed a much thinner piping to be used, saving weight and money.

In 1947 Whittle and his wife Hazel were made members of the Order of the British Empire for their services to the nation,[1] and in 1991 they were awarded the Charles Stark Draper Prize jointly with Hans von Ohain for their work on jet engines. A plaque in Coventry commemorates their life and the main office complex at the Rolls-Royce Bristol site is named Whittle House. A bust of Whittle is erected at the roundabout outside Lutterworth where much of his work was done and a road in the town has been named Whittle Road.


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