Marksman unit

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 00:15
Date picture taken


Ray Carpenter 1975 firing range PTS in background the personal issue weapons boxes that came with us where-ever. Weapon this time AR15 .223 with Colt 4 power scope, .38 revolver on hip.

One of the jobs I was tasked with was to take a high powered rifle and Ghilly suit onto Kai Tak airport, the green dividing bit between the runway and taxi road, to take out the sea eagles who were fishing off the end of the runway and eating their catch on the runway. There was a danger of bird strike as planes landed or took off. WHY. At the end of the runway 1975-6 there was the fire station with crash tenders.The eagles had been feeding there for a time and the situation was becoming dangerous. The fire crew waited until the eagles were eating then drive out at speed with some firemen on top with shotguns hoping to shoot the birds. The eagles would watch the approaching tenders and at the right moment take off. On one occasion a large bird was hit by the shotgun pellets and fell to the ground. The fireman went to claim his prize and the bird got up and attacked him/hospital and flew off. The situation was becoming dangerous and the firemen did not get near to another bird after. We were called in to shoot multiple birds at a distance with silenced weapons. Upon introduction to the fire staff, they gave us the cold shoulder as we were on their turf and no better than them. We were not needed. DEMONSTRATION. In the sea, 200 yards away was a glass beer bottle with just the top exposed. The bottle was moving left to right with the tide, osillating/sloshing side to side with the water inside and bobbing up and down with the waves. In one I unslung the rifle, loaded with the bolt action, sighted and fired and the bottle exploded. The firemen left us alone and we did the job. Reason for story. I was the only RHKP officer authorised to take a high powered rifle onto the runway. One sunday morning I was in the ghilly suit in the grass divide when a Korean air liner came into land over Kowloon City it hit the ground 3 times with a byoooong of the wheels, powered up and took off out to sea. It came round a further 2 times and did the same. The thought was the pilot is doing circuits and bumps. On the 3rd try the plane byooonged along the runway and screeched to a stop, the wheels were on fire and the fire tenders turned out.  It was a scheduled passenger flight. The doors opened and the 180 odd passengers slid out and sort of went a bit funny from the plane ride and when they saw me rise up out of the ground/rifle and attempt to give help. (medical training second qualification) But no one was injured. Footnote. About Aug. Sept. 1977 an RAF transport take off out to sea and did bird-strike and crash about 7 miles out and the first boat on scene was a Russian Gorky Spy trawler lazing in the sea off Hong kong to give a hand. Sounds like a Fleming novel but true.

Hi Ray,

Concerning eagles fighting back, one of my classmates started working with the Civil Aviation Department in the 1990's.  When it was going towards the last few years of Kai Tak he often go solo on a Jeep with a shot gun to scare off the birds.  For some reasons they do not kill the birds anymore.  He mentioned they are just 'throwing fire crackers' at the birds to scare them away.

Given time, the birds would retaliate with their beak and talons whenever they saw men out in the open without carrying shot guns........   Don't know if it is the same in Check Lap Kok these days......

Best Regards,


I think the aircaft which crashed was probably on government business but it was not RAF, it belonged to the independent British airline Trans Meridian Air Cargo , which I remembered from my student days working at Gatwick. It was I believe a Canadian-built Britannia (CL 44)