Waller Flexible Gunnery Trainer
I am conducting research into the Waller Flexible Gunnery Trainer – a WW2 anti-aircraft gunnery trainer that comprised an enormous, curved cinema screen and dummy guns (and which later became the widescreen process Cinerama). I am writing here in the hope of hearing first-hand stories of what it was like to actually train on these machines. So far, I have been consulting patents and articles by the inventor and it would be great to couple this with information about actual experiences.
I'd be especially grateful to hear of first impressions of the trainer (how different was it to other trainers? how effective was it in creating its illusion? did you communicate with an instructor during training sessions?) and also about what the films were like (what did they look like? were they in color? were the images and sounds realistic?).
I'd also be very keen to hear whether or not it was the only 'cinema' on base, and if not, what other kinds of cinema were present for either training or entertainment purposes? And does anyone know what happened to the Waller trainers after the war? It seems they were replaced, but why and how?
Thanks very much in advance for any forthcoming responses
Giles (a PhD student at the University of St Andrews in Scotland)