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General - - RAF Sleap - Turret Trainer Building | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

General - RAF Sleap - Turret Trainer Building


AndyB67

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Sleap airfield was in use by the RAF from 1943 until 1964 and is now the base of the Shropshire Aero Club - although helicopters from nearby RAF Shawbury still visit. During WW2 the base was used for training by bomber command, and later for training Horsa glider crews. The site is busy with private planes and visitors, and the old control tower is accessible to all, and home to a rather pleasant cafe.

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The surrounding countryside is littered with the buildings from the original airfield (this was a huge airfield in its prime) which can be seen as ruins or in use by the local farms. On a visit recently a trip through the rather marshy ground near old perimeter road reveals one of the last remaining Turret Trainer buildings.


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As far as I can determine (information on the internet is rather limited and the onsite museum etc makes no mention of this building) the building was used to train the turret gunners from the bomber crews. https://www.historyofsimulation.com/ proviides some details here together with an indication of how the original building would have looked (as borrowed with all credit from their website below):


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The large frame would have held a plaster screen, the remains of which can be seen on the floor (and apparently was intact until the 1990s) and targets images would have been projected onto this with the trainee gunners tracking and "firing" at them. The buildings are now ruined with no roof remaining, and the graffiti would suggest that some of the local kids have made a trip to this rater remote (and muddy) bit of the country.

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Bomb shelter flooded (and full of tree!)

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What's left of the projector screen!


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Felix Le Chat

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
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Good find. It's a huge pity that English Heritage took their time deciding that all the WW2 stuff was worthy of protection, preservation and restoration. This would have been a real visitor draw. The first Dome Trainer was installed at the Royal Naval Gunnery School, Whale Island, Portsmouth, and it became a huge success. Eventually, 43 similar domes were built across the UK including one at Langham which survives today. All the others I've seen illustrations of are hemispherical - this one is interesting because it is a complete sphere... The Langham Dome Trainer was listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument in 1986.
 
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Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Nice mooch there. Good research & snaps too. :thumb Could you just pop Sleap & mth & yr of visit in the title bar please.:thumb
 

Cablecutter

28DL Member
28DL Member
I know Sleap quite well as I spent a few years at the War Recovery Group there . I didnt know that there was a turret trainer on site , although I suppose it being a former Whitley base and sister to Raf Whitchucrh Heath (Tilstock aferwards ) its not that suprising ! Is it located on the left in the woods as you approach the Timber Yard ?
Some really great photos there and very well done Sir !!
 

AndyB67

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Nice mooch there. Good research & snaps too. :thumb Could you just pop Sleap & mth & yr of visit in the title bar please.:thumb
Thanks - I can't work how to edit the post at the moment but will update the title bar once I work it out!
 

AndyB67

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I know Sleap quite well as I spent a few years at the War Recovery Group there . I didnt know that there was a turret trainer on site , although I suppose it being a former Whitley base and sister to Raf Whitchucrh Heath (Tilstock aferwards ) its not that suprising ! Is it located on the left in the woods as you approach the Timber Yard ?
Some really great photos there and very well done Sir !!
Thanks - its in the woodland on your right as you turn left to the airfield and timber yard - in time honoured fashion X marks the spot.



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Cablecutter

28DL Member
28DL Member
Thanks - its in the woodland on your right as you turn left to the airfield and timber yard - in time honoured fashion X marks the spot.



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Ahh , thanks ! That wasnt the place I had in mind ,but I know where you mean I used to do a fair bit of work for the farmer who owns the fields just south of the chicken sheds on your map there . I must get and take a look next time I am about -thanks again
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Thanks - I can't work how to edit the post at the moment but will update the title bar once I work it out!
Dont worry now, we can only edit up to 24 hrs after a post. To edit its the little triangle at the end of title bar, click that and you can edit a post. For future reference really. :thumb
 

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