Private Malcolm Jacques Sykes
Malcolm was born in Toronto Ontario on September 1st, 1925, and raised in Victoria Harbour. He attended a local school and completed grade eight before leaving to join the workforce. His father, Malcolm Sykes Senior was a first-mate while working aboard cargo ships on the Great Lakes. His mother, Mary Jacques served as a nurse in England during World War I. She then moved to Canada where she met and married Malcolm Sr.
World War II was in full momentum when Malcolm decided to join the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in Toronto, where he trained to become an air gunner. However, he quickly realized that he would not get overseas quickly in that position, so he looked to transfer to another military trade. He quit the RCAF and joined the army, and shortly after completing his basic training, he volunteered to become a paratrooper, hoping to have a better chance of going to Europe. He completed all the psychological and aptitude testing, along with the rigorous physical testing, and was accepted to attend the parachute school at Camp Shilo, Manitoba. Malcolm graduated from his parachute course on February 19, 1945, and was now a proud Paratrooper. He was sent to England to join the ranks of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and placed in the Training Company. The war against Germany was winding down and they surrendered on May 7, 1945. Malcolm was still hopeful he would have an opportunity to go to Japan with the Battalion. However, this opportunity slipped away and Japan finally surrendered on September 2, 1945. Malcolm’s dreams of seeing combat would not happen, so he was released from the military.
After the war, Malcolm hitchhiked west and worked in various mines in BC before landing in Kimberley, BC, and working at Cominco Mine and Smelter (now Teck). While there, a young attractive girl named Mona O’Neill caught his attention. It wasn’t long before Malcolm and Mona exchanged wedding vows and started their family. They had eight children – four boys and four girls, born between 1953 and 1970. He didn’t like working underground in the mines, so he took accounting courses and worked as an accountant, eventually becoming an accountant for the hospital. This led to him taking the Hospital Administrators course and becoming the Hospital Administrator in Kimberley, BC, President of the BC Hospital Association, and Chair of many committees, and eventually retiring in 1992. Malcolm still lives in his own home in Kimberley, BC.
Information courtesy of Karen Sykes, Mary Davies, and Ann Ballard.
Private Syjes would have used a similar parachute during his parachute training course at Shilo, Manitoba. The T-5 parachute remained standard use throughout the war for training new paratroopers who would eventually join the ranks of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. It was a static line deployed parachute and its design continued to be used after World War 2 for many years at Fort Benning, U.S.A., and in Canada.