Private Stephen Zysko

Pte. Zysko was born on April 25, 1925 in Kolonja Galezowska, Poland. In 1932 his family immigrated to Canada. During the early years of the Second World War, Zysko worked for the Canada Car & Foundry Company Ltd. It is here where he excelled at the construction of fighter aircraft, primarily the Hawker Hurricane and the Curtis Dive Bomber.

In 1944 he enlisted in the Canadian Army and joined the ranks of the elite 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. He completed one of his proudest accomplishments, graduating from his Parachutist Course at Shilo, Manitoba on October 31, 1944. 

Zysko was eager to enter combat overseas with the Battalion, however it required many members to continue to the growth cycle and train new Paratroopers. Zysko served with the Training Company for the remainder of the war and retired from the military in 1946.

Even after the war, he continued to bear the strong ethos that was forged while serving with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. Shortly after the war, he met his future wife Isobel Gonyou and within 6 months they married and started a family in Thunder Bay, Ontario. They spent the next 62 years together until her passing.

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Pte Zysko posing at Shilo Manitoba. Courtesy of Mark Zysko
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Pte Zysko posing with friends at Shilo. Courtesy of Mark Zysko
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Pte Zysko's helmet and uniform he wore in England during the war.
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Pte Zysko's helmet and uniform 3/4 view left side.
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Pte Zysko's helmet and uniform left side.
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Pte Zysko's helmet and uniform right side.
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Pte Zysko's official card to wear parachute wings. Courtesy of Mark Zysko
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Zysko later in life in Thunder Bay. Courtesy of Mark Zysko
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Zysko remains by his wifes side. Courtesy of Mark Zysko
 

Bren Light Machine gun

This is a Bren Light Machine Gun, Private Zysko would have used one similar to this one while training with the Battalion. This magazine-fed weapon system uses 303 calibre ammunition.  It weighs 25 lbs with a firing rate of 500 rounds per minute with an effective range of 600 yards.