Language selection


Air Force vs. Army

Heroes Remember

I first started, I wanted to get into the air force because my friends were joining the air force from the town of Bellevue. Now we're all about 19, 20, 21, well not quite 21 yet. Because, at that time, the air force fellow had a nice necktie, something we never wore, nice white shirt, and the women liked that. They were dressed up and we were wearing tunics buttoned right up to the hilt, and you were sweating. It didn't matter whether it was a hot day or not, you couldn't unbuckle unless you were given permission. I tried to get into the air force and they discharged me because I had a bit of an ankle trouble that I had broken an ankle and there was a chipped bone there and they said that, oh, if they operated it might go stiff. They didn't want anybody with, they wanted perfect health, eh. And so I went home. That was in 1941... 1940, 41 - something like that, and that was around in August or some time. And then the next year I joined the military basic training and they took you right away. They didn't care whether you could walk. As long as you could do left and right, that's all they wanted. Then you joined, take basic training for, I think it was about six weeks, and then they give you a chance to pick out whether you wanted to be in the infantry or... it's at that time they were looking for a lot of tank people, people that could drive something because at that time not many people had driver's license or drive a car, there wasn't very many. But I learned to drive a car working for a butcher shop. He had a little Model-A and that was a good start. And so I thought, “Well, I'll join the tanks.” At that time, Calgary Tanks were building up but they sent them overseas. They said, “Well, you might meet them over there in England.” Well, by the time I got to England they'd gone to Italy then I still couldn't get there. My brother was with them already. And they said, “Oh well, you'll be going in action in France soon.”

Mr. Senycz tried to join the air force, but became a tank driver in the army instead, and tells how they infiltrated the German units at night in order to relay the enemy’s coordinates to the Allies.

John Senycz

Mr. Senycz was born August 22, 1920 in Colhurst, Alberta. His parents were both of Polish descent, born in Czechoslovakia, and moved to Canada to work in the coal mines. At age two, his father died and his mother remarried. Mr. Senycz joined the Canadian Army 4th Division Tank Corps in 1942 and was shipped overseas to England. It was during the Battle of Falaise that his tank got hit and the crew of five soldiers was badly burned. Because of the severity of Mr. Senycz’ burns, he was transported to Basingstoke hospital in England for rehabilitation. With the many burns and scars, Mr. Senycz underwent three to four years of plastic surgery to his face. On September 18, 1945, Mr. Senycz was discharged from the Canadian Army from the orderly room in Vancouver, BC. He later married, moved to Calgary, Alberta, and raised a family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John Senycz
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
4th Armoured Division

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: