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Being Transported to Basingstoke Hospital

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Being Transported to Basingstoke Hospital

Well, they bandaged me up and because I wasn't able to get to the doctor's so the bandage stuck, stuck into the flesh. And about four, three or four days later they put us on a little plane and we got over to England and we got to a place called Basingstoke where they did a lot of plastic surgery. That was one of the plastic surgery and they did a lot of shell shocked people It was neurological and plastic surgery. And then when they started taking the bandages off, your nose come off, your eyelids come off, you had no lips. It took about eight operations by the time they got... Well, I couldn't see. I never thought I'd see. I thought I was blind. Your eyes would be swollen and everything and full of crap. You know, because the bandage was there... you know, they just bandaged you quick. The idea is to stop bleeding. As long as you could stop bleeding, you might save somebody, ‘cause without... Well, a lot of guys would have their legs and arms shot off and they would put a tourniquet... Somebody would have to release it in 15 minutes otherwise gangrene sets in, but if you could save the blood some medic could pick you up. Worser people burnt than I was, lots. The nurses looked after them pretty good. At that time they were just learning plastic surgery, and like I said, the saline solution, that is what helped soaked the bandages off. And you know, you look at yourself in the mirror and you look like a real skeleton, eh.

Mr. Senycz was bandaged up after getting burned and was admitted to Basingstoke hospital in England for rehabilitation. He describes the pain of bandages being stuck in his flesh and the fear of never being able to see again.

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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