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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1385157

Hob Uid: 1385157
Location :
Oxfordshire
Cherwell
Launton
Grid Ref : SP5928124465
Summary : A military training facility known as a "Spotlight Turret Trainer", situated at RAF Bicester technical site. It was built as a temporary building during World War Two for air gunnery simulation. Originally it housed a mock up of a gun turret with a screen onto which images of enemy aircraft could be projected. In 2003 the facility itself survived only as a steel frame clad in asbestos. This is a rare survival of such a feature, and an English Heritage report produced in May 2003 suggested that it could be included in a potential conservation area at RAF Bicester.
More information : An English Heritage report produced in May 2003 described the "Spotlight Turret Trainer" as accomodating "a target trainer with dummy guns and screen onto which an image of enemy aircraft wa projected. Although only a simple steel frame clad in corrugated asbestos, this survives as the clearest surviving evidence of Bicester's wartime use as an Operational Training Unit- of which gunnery training was a key element. It only merits statutory protection within the context of a key site such as Bicester, and no other examples of WWII temporary fabric of (this) nature have been identified elsewhere." See source 2 below for a caveat to this statement. (1)

Paul Francis has noted that Bicester had a turret trainer (possibly of 1940 design). The source published in 1996 provides a summary of the purpose of turret trainers and their different designs. Francis work also records that at the time of publishing there was actually another part survival of turret trainer equipment, from a slightly different design: a projection screen at Sleap, Shropshire. (2)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : English Heritage field survey reports
Source details : English Heritage Thematic Listing Programme, May 2003: "Survey of Military Aviation Sites and Structures, Summary Report", unpaged.
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Source Number : 2
Source : British military airfield architecture : from airships to the jet age
Source details :
Page(s) : 150-154
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : World War II
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Military Building, Military Training Site
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 52 SE 116
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :