The British Army in Hong Kong still uses 36 mules -- and they are so efficient they have survived several attempts to demobilise them.
The British Army in Hong Kong still uses 36 mules -- and they are so efficient they have survived several attempts to demobilise them. The mules are based at Lo Wu Camp in the northernmost part of the New Territories of Hong Kong.
They are kept in service because they can go where jeeps and trucks have to give up, they can operate when helicopters are grounded by low cloud, and each needs only one "operator" while a helicopter needs the support of a team of thirteen technicians. And environmentalists will be pleased to note that the mules are quiet and don't pollute the atmosphere!
The mules have carried barbed wire to seal the border, cement to build helicopter landing pads and, after a typhoon, carried all materials for rebuilding an observation post -- including, literally, the kitchen sink.
SYNOPSIS: In Hong Kong two British soldiers look after some important items of military equipment, which can operate when helicopters are grounded, and jeeps are bogged down.
The equipment -- mules. Thirty-six mules are still maintained at the British camp at Lo Wu, in the northern-most part of the Northern Territories of Hong Kong.
At one time, it looked as though the mules would be phased out with the coming of helicopters. But helicopters are often grounded by cloud in mountainous areas, where the sure-footed mules come into their own. And the mules were called into service to transport the concrete..... from which the helicopters' landing pads were built.
Sometimes the mules get a lift to the place where their services are needed next.
Their duties have ranged form rushing barbed wire to a delicate border area, to carrying all the materials for rebuilding an observation post destroyed in a typhoon. On that occasion, one mauls littoral carried the kitchen sink.
The four-hundred and fourteenth Pack Transport Troops are proud to be the last mule unite in the British Army -- if not the world.