Eric A. Sykes

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Eric Anthony Sykes (5 February 1883–12 May 1945), born Eric Anthony Schwabe in Barton on Irwell, Manchester, England. He is most famous for his work with William E. Fairbairn in the development of the eponymous Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife and modern British Close Quarters Battle (CQB) martial arts during World War II. Originally working for an import/export company selling weapons in East Asia, he claimed he volunteered for, and served in, the British Army as a sharpshooter on the Western Front during World War I. Returning to China in 1917, he joined the volunteer branch of the Shanghai Municipal Police (SMP) Specials with the rank of Inspector in 1926.


Reputedly, he was born in Barton on Irwell. The reasons for his name change in 1917 were said to be because he found it "too Germanic". A shikari hunter, he was an avid rifleman and an expert with the pistol. He first arrived in Shanghai in 1907 while working for Reiss & Co. He met Fairbairn in 1919, then with the Shanghai Municipal Police, beginning their famous professional association. In 1923 Sykes was working for the China & Japan Trading Co, China representative for Remington and Colt. It was not until 1926 that Sykes officially joined the SMP as an unpaid, part-time volunteer officer in the reserve, and in 1929 he joined S.J. David & Co., where he worked until his departure from China in 1940.

While working for S.J. David & Co., his experience in sharpshooting...
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