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Getting Burned During Battle of Falaise

Heroes Remember

Getting Burned During Battle of Falaise

And we come into camp they were talking about.... “tomorrow morning, there's going to be a big push on Falaise, and we'll have to get you guys....” We just come back from an action so you're supposed to get a little bit of rest. You get your tank fixed up because the tank I had was all smashed up already. It was still operational but it was all, there was no more tools, or equipment, or blankets or anything, so he says, well.... Just at that time a bunch of young guys come in from Canada. They were about 15, 16, maybe 18 at the most, and the officer says, “Oh no, we can't send those guys on that first push. You guys just come back. There's a tank, you take that. You got an operator, you got a driver, and out you go. Start looking for targets.” We started out and there was a group of tanks that was supposed to follow us. I forget the name of the creek, there was a creek there that they thought that if.... These tanks carried a bunch of lumber and timber and stuff to throw into the creek so they wouldn't get stuck in the mud and crap, but when we got to that creek, it was dry so it kind of, these guys all got into confusion. They started throwing stuff all over. They didn't know what to do with it. All they had to do was do what they were supposed to be told, but it got scattered all over. And then from then on that's when the fight started. We got into the open field and we were way up ahead there and they got us first from the side. We all got out. The field was all on fire. It was a nice August day just before my birthday. I think it was the 13th or something, August the 13th and the tank was Z13, so 13 must be lucky And I got burnt. I would have never got burnt, but my operator, radio operator, he was burnt pretty bad in the back. I says, “Come on, you have to get this” - see, we didn't know one another, we're just a group just put together and go - and got him to come a little bit and at that time the diesel smoke just come right out and burnt all over my face and everything. And I didn't get my hands, but the driver had lost his eye and the pilot, the co-driver, I forget, he had something done with his leg.

Mr. Senycz describes being wounded and how the entire crew was affected by enemy fire - “all got wounded but nobody killed!”

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

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