On the night of 16-17 May 1943, Wing Commander Guy Gibson led Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron on Operation CHASTISE. This audacious bombing raid was to destroy three dams in the Ruhr valley, the industrial heartland of Germany, with their secret weapon: Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bomb. No. 617 Squadron became forever known as “The Dambusters”.
This year marks 75 years since Operation CHASTISE, and to commemorate and remember the occasion the RAF Museums are hosting a series of events and activities that look at the Legend and Legacy of “The Dambusters”.
The Dams Raid was the greatest feat of arms performed by the Royal Air Force and one of the key stories of the Second World War. Its success captured the public imagination at the time and over the next 70 years inspired a multitude of books, films and documentaries.
Dambusters: Immersive Histories at the RAF Museum, London is the newest part of the Dambusters commemoration that includes a replica of the ‘bouncing bomb’, Barnes Wallis’ office and the original moulds of the first test bombs.
For the first time ever, a Virtual Reality Experience (VRE) will let visitors to the museum experience a moment in history, stepping inside the story of the iconic operation through an authentic, interactive recreation of the Dambusters’ first mission: the attack on the Möhne Dam.
Participants will put on a haptic feedback vest and step inside an accurate physical set of a Lancaster bomber. The experience will be completely immersive and participants will be able to reach out and touch the window, fuselage and deck of the aircraft and feel the ‘roar’ of the Lancaster’s Merlin engines, through the haptic vests. 360° first person views and spatialised audio will reinforce the experience of being aboard a No. 617 Squadron Lancaster bomber during Operation CHASTISE. All Seeing Eye has created the Dambusters Immersive Experience, with input from No. 617 Squadron official historian, Robert Owen.
Barry Smith Director of Visitor and Commercial Development ‘At the RAF Museum we are very interested in new ways of interpreting and sharing the stories of the Royal Air Force. The opportunity to actually invite our visitors to be part of the Dambusters story is one that we are very excited about. I can honestly say that our visitors are in for a treat!’
Olie Kay Associate Creative Director, All Seeing Eye Ltd. ‘This experience isn’t about explaining all the facts of the mission. It’s about exploring the human story of the real people who were on the aircraft and communicating an authentic sense of place of what it may have been like to be there.’
Tickets for Dambusters: Immersive Histories at the RAF Museum, London are available now and cost £10. For tickets and more information please visit: www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london/things-to-see-and-do/immersive-histories-dambusters.aspx