Do the British Army still use Mules as transport ?

Percy_Pigeon

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#41
I believe they are in use in Afghan where certain units are operating it makes sense. However they may be Donkeys/Asses/Burros as stated here mules are not bred anymore.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#42
Doesn't surprise me.

1. Between the Wars in sunny climes our sailors wore a wide straw 'sennet' hat (known by Jack as a 'Donkey's breakfast'). In about 1960 a stock of these was discovered in a cave in Malta (at Corradino) that had been used for storage by the Navy.

2. When Portsmouth Airport was sold off for housing, the developer was suprised to find two completely forgotten retractable gun turrets on the site, long grassed over.

3. When the Royal Naval College at Greenwich was handed over to be part of the University of Greenwich, allegedly nobody mentioned that there was a nuclear reactor in one of the buildings, that had been securely concreted into place.

4. When HMS Bulwark paid off in Portsmouth in the 60s one compartment that nobody had had any use for was found to contain kitbags belonging to people who had left years previously.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#43
seaweed said:
Doesn't surprise me.
3. When the Royal Naval College at Greenwich was handed over to be part of the University of Greenwich, allegedly nobody mentioned that there was a nuclear reactor in one of the buildings, that had been securely concreted into place
Love these dits, but most of them are for the extremely credulous - keep swinging that lamp Seaweed, someone will stand you a wet eventually :-D
......unfortunately I know for a fact that the baby nuclear reactor at Greenwich College was very far from forgotten - 'cos at the time I was working in the estates world and I recall the amount of nause involved in getting it moved. Ministerial submissions left and right on it..... IIRC it went up to HMS Vulcan in the end.

Two more classic (true) dits I heard in the estates world
1) Azimghur Bks, which used to be an RAF station......PROM wanted to re- lay some underground piping - only to discover that at the end of WWII the RAF had buried several complete bombers on the site.....

2) when I was at Boscombe local paper reported that a farmer had discovered a stash of glass phials buried on his land, which neighboured Porton Down.....boffins hurriedly took charge of them......turned out they were full of mustard gas, good as new 80 years after WWI......

What the Forces got up to before Elfin Safety was put in charge and the end of Crown Immunity is nobody's business :)

Le Chevre
 
#44
I have belatedly come across this thread on Army mules. In 1977 "Blashers" planned to get round financial constraints on the training budget by organising a yomp from Mallaig to Kyle of Lochalsh for the Junior Leaders' Regiment Royal Engineers. We asked COD Donnington if they could supply pack saddles for mule or ponies which we planned to use for resupply. We were told that unfortunately they had only recently disposed of their stock. We ended up needing two troop trains, a transport squadron, a flight of helicopters and 18 assault craft to support this cost saving exercise.
 

greyfergie

MIA
Book Reviewer
#45
I have belatedly come across this thread on Army mules. In 1977 "Blashers" planned to get round financial constraints on the training budget by organising a yomp from Mallaig to Kyle of Lochalsh for the Junior Leaders' Regiment Royal Engineers. We asked COD Donnington if they could supply pack saddles for mule or ponies which we planned to use for resupply. We were told that unfortunately they had only recently disposed of their stock. We ended up needing two troop trains, a transport squadron, a flight of helicopters and 18 assault craft to support this cost saving exercise.
So it was you lot that spent all the cash then?
 
#47
IIRC the last RCT Sqn that utilized them was disbanded in Hong Kong in the late 1970’s (in that whole ‘Wide Horizon’ Bde to TF mess). I have a pic in one of my books, if I find it I will post it. I will also check if the HKMSC might have had one later on.
 
#48
IIRC the last RCT Sqn that utilized them was disbanded in Hong Kong in the late 1970’s (in that whole ‘Wide Horizon’ Bde to TF mess). I have a pic in one of my books, if I find it I will post it. I will also check if the HKMSC might have had one later on.
Earlier than that. It was about 69 or very early 70. RAF reckoned their choppers could replace the mules. The first time we wanted a radio relay station taken up a mountain thereafter, a cloud came over the sun and the RAF said they couldn't do it.
 
#51
Earlier than that. It was about 69 or very early 70. RAF reckoned their choppers could replace the mules. The first time we wanted a radio relay station taken up a mountain thereafter, a cloud came over the sun and the RAF said they couldn't do it.
Around 1976 actually IIRC.
 
#54
They all went down on the Atlantic Conveyor.
interesting - I have discussed the use, or not, of pack animals with a number of falklands vets, including key loggies involved in planning and execution of in-theatre distribution. It seems that mules simply weren't considered, although they may have been ideal for local real supply. Its acknowledged that deploying mules down south would have been a challenge, but not impossible.
 
#55
interesting - I have discussed the use, or not, of pack animals with a number of falklands vets, including key loggies involved in planning and execution of in-theatre distribution. It seems that mules simply weren't considered, although they may have been ideal for local real supply. Its acknowledged that deploying mules down south would have been a challenge, but not impossible.
We didn’t have time to consider their use for CORPORATE, but I understand they were considered post-war
 
#56
interesting - I have discussed the use, or not, of pack animals with a number of falklands vets, including key loggies involved in planning and execution of in-theatre distribution. It seems that mules simply weren't considered, although they may have been ideal for local real supply. Its acknowledged that deploying mules down south would have been a challenge, but not impossible.
Showing my age here but I seem to recall that for every section of 4 mules one would be needed to carry the food for them. This would be even worse in anything other than temperate conditions because a second of the 4 would be needed to carry water. Thus whilst they might provide a logistic capability they were in themselves a significant logistic burden.

Bactrian camels would have been a much better choice.

Amazing what you remember from way back.
 
#57
Around 1976 actually IIRC.
I was in HK 68-70. The mule troop was disbanded during my time there. When I first arrived the RCT had everything except railway - a road transport sqn, plus a GTR Sqn with RCT offrs, the mules and a Maritime Sqn. The mules went as advertised, the RAF being supposed to do the biz.
 
#59
The NAM is incorrect. Animals can receive medals. One of the Welsh goats has a medal index card for WW1 as it received a victory medal.
Agreed and chipping in to that, it's the "Animals could not formally receive medals" bit that's misleading. An inscribed campaign medal was unofficially awarded to a mount ridden by Maj R. de Salis, 2ic 8th Hussars during the Crimean War (1850s), and tacitly approved.

As an aside: the Dickin Medal (PDSA) has also been awarded to animals. It's generally recognised as equivalent to the Victoria Cross and it was instituted in 1943 by PDSA’s founder Maria Dickin CBE. The most 'Dickins' probably went to pigeons.
 

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