Richard Sykes (diplomat)
KCMG; CMG; MC
|British Ambassador to the Netherlands|
|Monarch||Queen Elizabeth II|
|Born||8 May 1920|
|Died||22 March 1979|
Den Haag, The Netherlands
|Spouse(s)||Ann Georgina Sykes|
|Parents||Brig. A. C. Sykes, CBE, DSO|
|Alma mater||Christ Church, Oxford|
|Years of service||1940-1946|
|Battles/wars||Second World War|
During the Second World War, Sykes served in the British Army with the Royal Signals from 1940 to 1946. During his service he attained the rank of Major. In 1945 he was awarded the Military Cross as well as the Croix de Guerre by France.
Sykes joined HM Foreign Service in 1947 and served at the Foreign Office from 1947 to 1948. He then served in Nanking (1948–50), Peking (1950–52) and returned to the UK to serve at the Foreign Office (1952-56).
The first posting as an Ambassador came with a posting to Havana (1970-72) before moving to be a Minister at the British Embassy in Washington D.C. (1972-1975. From there he returned to the Foreign Office as Department Under-Secretary between 1975 and 1977. Sykes was then appointed as Ambassador to the Netherlands in 1977.
Ambassador to the Netherlands
Sykes was leaving his residence in The Hague at 9 am and was getting into his silver Rolls Royce limousine when he was shot The car door being held by Karel Straub, a 19 year old Dutch national who worked at the Embassy. Staub was also shot in the attack.
The IRA claimed responsibility for the assassination in February 1980. In a statement they said of Sykes -
[he was] not just a Brit propagandist, as are all British ambassadors, but because he had been engaged in intelligence operations against our organisation.
The 'intelligence operations' mentioned in the statement related to a government report written by Sykes following the assassination of Christopher Ewart-Biggs. Ewart-Biggs was the British Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland and was killed by the IRA in 1976. Sykes produced diplomatic security guidelines as part of his report.
Married to Ann, Lady Sykes (née Fisher). The couple had three children: Philip; Andrew; and Rachel. Lady Sykes died in 2018.
- "Sykes, Sir Richard, (8 May 1920–22 March 1979), HM Diplomatic Service; Ambassador to the Netherlands, since 1977 | WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO". www.ukwhoswho.com. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540891.001.0001/ww-9780199540884-e-160110. Retrieved 2019-03-24.
- "The Military Cross". The London Gazette (Supplement - 37302). 9 October 1945. p. 4999.
- Downie Jr., Leonard (23 March 1979). "British Envoy To Netherlands Shot to Death". The Washington Post.
- BBC coverage of Sykes/Straub assassinations, accessed 30 August 2014.
- Lost lives : the stories of the men, women and children who died as a result of the Northern Ireland troubles. McKittrick, David, 1949- ([Rev. ed.] ed.). Edinburgh: Mainstream. 2001. ISBN 184018504X. OCLC 46944614.CS1 maint: others (link)
- The Guardian coverage of Sykes/Straub assassinations, theguardian.com, accessed 30 August 2014.
- Straub profile, cain.ulst.ac.uk; accessed 6 August 2014.
- Assassination details, cain.ulst.ac.uk; accessed 6 August 2014.
- Report on assassinations, time.com; accessed 6 August 2014.
- [SYKES Ann Georgina (Née Fisher)]
Ernest John Ward Barnes
| UK Ambassador to the Netherland
Sir John Taylor
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