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Presentation on Major John Wickey

On 26 October 2022, LCol (ret’d) Robert Nash, a former RCAF Intelligence Officer, provided a 45-minute presentation for 35 guests at an event hosted by the Royal Military Institute of Manitoba. This event, which took place at the ANAVETS Hall 283 at 3584 Portage Avenue, recognized the 80th anniversary of the Canadian Intelligence Corps, the 40th anniversary of the Intelligence Branch, and the 70thanniversary year of the stand-up of 5 Intelligence Training Company. The topic of the presentation was Lt Col John Wickey, ED.

LCol (ret) Robert Nash is holding a painting of Major John Wickey.

Hippolyte Johanny ‘John’ Wickey was born in Lyon, France, to Swiss parents in 1899. He served in the French Army during the First World War and in the French Foreign Legion until 1921. In 1928, Wickey settled in Manitoba and, in 1931, 2Lt Wickey joined the Fort Garry Horse. Capt Wickey was mobilized with the Fort Garry Horse in 1939 and served in training roles for four years. In 1944, Maj Wickey was selected for a secret mission in France in the weeks before D-Day and in 1945, Lt Col Wickey was selected to command 718 Military Government Detachment in Wuppertal, Germany, in the British occupation zone.

After the Second World War, John Wickey returned to the Fort Garry Horse as Major Wickey, Training Officer, and, in 1947, he joined the Corrections Service at Stony Mountain penitentiary. In 1952, Maj Wickey was appointed as the first Officer Commanding 5 Intelligence Training Company. In 1955, John Wickey was transferred to the Canadian Army (Supplementary Reserve) Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, in the rank of Lt Col.

Following the presentation and refreshments, on behalf of the Canadian Military Intelligence Association (CMIA), LCol Nash presented two gifts to OCdt Jonathon Bach, representing 5 Intelligence Platoon. In the audience were a dozen members of the Platoon, which is descended from 5 Intelligence Training Company. Also present were John and Tammie Wickey, who travelled from Lethbridge, AB to participate in the event. John is the grandson of Lt Col Wickey and donated his grandfathers’ artefacts to the CMIA. The gifts were a refurbished oil portrait of Lt Col John Wickey, and an oriental-style sabre and scabbard enclosed in a newly created ‘sword’ box.

The portrait and sabre were originally presented to Lt Col Wickey when he was the Military Governor in Wuppertal. The red oak sword box includes photos on metal of the badges of the units with which Wickey served: the French Army/Foreign Legion, the Fort Garry Horse, and the Canadian Intelligence Corps. Mounted on the right side of the sabre is a head-and-shoulders photo on metal of Wickey as a tank gunnery instructor during the Second World War. The sabre is mounted cutting blade up, in oriental fashion, and features an outward-facing inscription on the blade. The reverse side of the blade features the signatures of all those who presented the sabre to him to commemorate the surrender of Japan in 1945.

The refurbished oil portrait and engraved sword will be displayed proudly in 5 Intelligence Platoon lines in Building 66 at CFB Winnipeg.

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