Eric A. Sykes

Eric A. Sykes

Eric Anthony Sykes (5 February 1883–12 May 1945), born Eric Anthony Schwabe, is most famous for his work with William E. Fairbairn in the development of the eponymous Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife and modern English Close Quarters Battle (CQB) aka. combatives, during World War II. First working with an import/export company selling weapons in Asia, he joined the Shanghai Municipal Police (SMP) volunteer Specials as an inspector in the 1920's.

Reportedly born in Barton on Irwell,he died at Bexhill-on-Sea, England. He reportedly changed his name during World War I because he found it "too Germanic". A shikari hunter, he was an avid rifleman and oversaw a team of civilian snipers as part of the SMP. It was with the SMP that Sykes met Fairbairn, and began their famous professional association. The two were commissioned into the British Army on the General List in 1941. Their 1942 book "Shooting to Live" is considered by many the classic text of combat pistol, and one of the best codifications of the high-stress point shooting method. Sykes reached the rank of Major.


*1883: Born Eric Anthony Schwabe, 5 February, Barton-on-Irwell.
*1907: First arrives in Shanghai, working for Reiss & Co
*1919: Met William E. Fairbairn, then with the Shanghai Municipal Police
*1923: Worked for the China & Japan Trading Co, China representative for Remington and Colt
*1926: Joined the Shanghai Municipal Police as an officer in the reserve
*1929: Moved to S.J. David & Co, where he worked until his departure from China
*1937: Worked part-time for S.J. David & Co, part-time as head of SMP sniper unit
*1939: Joined the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS - MI6), before leaving China
*1939: Worked with SIS at Special Training Centre in Lochailort, Scotland
*1942: "Shooting to Live" published
*1945: Died on 12 May 1945, at Bexhill-on-Sea, England


"Shooting to Live with the One-Hand Gun" by Captain William E. Fairbairn and Captain Eric Anthony Sykes. 1942. Reprint ISBN 0-87364-027-6
* [ "W E Fairbairn Gentleman & Warrior The Shanghai Years"] (2005) First biography on Fairbairn. By Peter Robins

See also

* Combatives
* William E. Fairbairn
* Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife
* Point shooting

External links

* [ Sykes-Fairbairn Fighting Knife History]
* [ Genealogy site for Eric A. (Schwabe) Sykes]

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