Innovation

Virtual Reality: Visualising The Daring Dambusters Raid

Have you ever wondered how it felt to be part of the iconic Dambusters squadron?

New technology is allowing visitors of the RAF Museum in London to visualise what happened during the dramatic Dambusters Raid.

Members of the public, historians and relatives of those who had taken part in the raid have been given the opportunity to transport to the skies above the Mohne Dam in 1943 aboard the Lancaster bomber thanks to virtual reality (VR).

Avro Lancasters were used by 617 Squadron to carry out the raid.

Olie Kay, Associate Creative Director of All Seeing Eye Ltd, described the experience: "[Guy] Gibson has realised that his attack on the dam has not been successful and he is calling in the next to attack.

"If I stand up from this position, I can look through the astrodome above the wireless operator area and I can see them making their attack now, but they have been hit by flak fire and are trailing fire out the left side of their wing.

 

"They have dropped their bomb but it has bounced directly over the dam and they have not hit it.

"When people come out of the experience, we do not think they are going to have more knowledge about the dates and the figures and the names of the people who are on the plane, but it is more about what they would have felt.

"We are trying to get to the human story of the people who were on the aircraft and remember them as people, rather than numbers or surnames in a block book somewhere."

The great great niece of Arthur Buck, Rear Gunner 617 Squadron, Katie Briggs said: "My great great uncle was a rear gunner in the Dambusters Raid.

"He was involved in the third wave and his target was the Sorpe dam.

"They were actually the last crew to leave RAF Scampton because they let the more inexperienced crew members go off last, and let the more experienced ones go first.

The cockpit of the Lancaster bomber.

"By the time they got to the dam, the mist was very high so they were not able to see their target effectively which meant that after three hours of flight, they turned around and went home.

"Once they got back, they faced quite a lot of criticism from Guy Gibson and the senior officers in the crew for not dropping their bomb.

"I think it must have been terrifying. They were all so young, and for them to go out as quite a small team in a very imposing aircraft...

"I think it must have been very scary and I have huge admiration for everyone who was involved on that night."

RAF Museum reenactors Andrew Muggleton and Max Birkett said they were surprised at the level of detail in the experience.

Andrew Muggleton and Max Birkett are re-enactors at the RAF Museum London, and said it is about as close an experience to the real thing as you can get.

They noted how lifelike it was, more detailed than they expected it to be.

The story of the Dambusters was selected for this prototype, but the scope of the project is not limited to this setting.

It is the first chapter of a series of immersive experiences that could be released in the near future.