Explore a destroyer in virtual reality
World of Warships and Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust has released Virtually Inside HMS Cavalier, a multimedia VR exploration of the last of the British Royal Navy C-class WWII destroyers, on the Google Arts & Culture platform.
Visitors can join historian and TV presenter Dan Snow, Chatham Dockyard’s Richard Holdsworth, as well as Richard Cutland from World of Warships in a mixed reality exploration of HMS Cavalier. The tour includes areas closed to the public, such as the engine room, an aerial fly over of the ship with VR drone, and a lesson in how to load the deck guns with HMS Cavalier veteran and author Barry Knell.
The project was unveiled at Google’s spectacular new building at King’s Cross to a host of attending media, and was streamed live on the first day of London Tech week. The VR experience is available on Google Arts & Culture web portal and mobile app. It is fully compatible with Google Cardboard VR headsets.
“This is a natural next step in our long series of projects designed to bring history alive for global audiences with new media and mixed reality,” explained Tracy Spaight, Director of Special Projects at Wargaming. “Our mission with World of Warships is not only to entertain, but also to educate and commemorate – bringing naval history into focus. Through the use of VR on Google Arts & Culture platform, in concert with Chatham Dockyard Trust, we can take our global audience places that not even on-site visitors can go, which engenders a deeper appreciation for the speed and power of these vessels – and the courage of those who served on them.”
Paul Barnard, Development and Communications Manager at Chatham Dockyard Museum, said, “Increasingly, museums are looking at how they can extend their reach to audiences across the world, particularly those that are physically unable to visit. This exciting new project will bring the stories of life onboard HMS Cavalier to a new audience and will hopefully encourage future visits to see this important part of British naval heritage. We are extremely grateful to Wargaming for their support on this project and we look forward to sharing the story of HMS Cavalier to audiences across the world.”
The Historic Dockyard Chatham is the only place in the world that lets you explore a complete dockyard from the age of sail and beyond. It’s a unique destination that celebrates Great Britain’s magnificent maritime past and unmatched contribution to the Royal Navy’s shipbuilding excellence that led to worldwide command of the oceans.
Chatham offers unrivalled access to the ships that shaped the world, from a Victorian anti-slavery sailing ship, to a World War II destroyer or a Cold War submarine and the stories of the people who made them. From Chatham’s historic buildings, from the Commissioner’s House and officers’ quarters to the remarkable Victorian ropery, where the rigging for HMS Victory was made, to its collection of maritime archaeology, the Dockyard forms an indispensable part of Britain’s naval history and its national heritage.
As a fully accredited museum, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust collects, preserves, researches and exhibits objects and materials connected with the history of the dockyard and its people. It studies the development of Royal Navy warship design, construction and the use of the River Medway by the Royal Navy.
Built in 1944, HMS Cavalier fought in the Battle of the North Atlantic in World War II. She is one of the few surviving destroyers to see action in the Arctic campaign, escorting cargo ships bringing Lend-Lease supplies to Russia. Today she is preserved as the National Destroyer Memorial commemorating the 11,000 lives and 142 Royal Navy destroyers lost during the war.