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Being a Hero and Sharing the Story!

Heroes Remember

Being a Hero and Sharing the Story!

I mean, we did our share, but everybody's a hero, everyone. The ones that are dead are the heroes. They're the ones that's got nothing. We rode on their backs. We came back and we enjoyed... Half of my friends, I don't even know them anymore now but the ones that died, they could have had the same thing I got, nice family and grandchildren. They got nothing. And some of them had families and they don't know their parents. Well... that goes for all the Americans and Canadians. If we'd lost the war to Japan or to Germany, we'd have never enjoyed what we got today. None of us. And the ones that were fighting would have been all massacred I guess for fighting them. You know, they would want their revenge somehow. I mean, it's a different ball game now. It's hard to make people think but at that time people... you know, when you're fighting with people, adrenalin goes out of whack. There was a general, Kurt Meyers, and his group captured a few of our guys and he massacred them, shot them right there. Well, that gives you a funny feeling that you're not going to be friendly either. You know I'm sure that lots of people took revenge because it's ‘tit for tat.' You know, what are you going to do with these prisoners when you're moving ahead, they could turn around and do something to you so something has to be done. You have some guys take some back and sometimes you never know what happens to some of them. It's a sad, it's sadistic, you get sadistic, it gets very sadistic. You want to get revenge for your friends, your thing and they don't play the game so there's no rules. Well, the air force did a good job for us, and the navy. The air force, if they hadn't bombarded the... there was thousands of planes and we got caught like I said a little while ago, under one of their attacks. If it wasn't for them we would have never got into... on our side anyway, because we were right into... well, kind of a hilly part of the country and these guys, we had to climb up to get in and they were just waiting for everybody. Some of the Americans had long beaches, they can travel but they were wide open too, because there was always mines and stuff like that but it was the air force that did a good job. And the paratroopers that landed behind, they got massacred. Before they even come down they were shot right in the air like pigeons. You can't do nothing when you're coming down. And then they'd get caught in the trees and stuff, and they couldn't get away from it either. At least with our tanks you could..., well, if you got hit, you got hit good. And then we tried to avoid sleeping under them because if you're out in the field the tank would sink and it'd crush lots of people sleeping under tanks. There was so much ammunition you could take. In about two hours you'd run out of everything. Same with fuel and then you got to wait for people to come up and help you to get you going again. And when you're way up in front, well you have to learn to conserve everything, your food, everything because sometimes it would be three, four days and we didn't know what was going on. I mean you don't converse. You send messages, you don't talk about the weather, how things are in England, or are we still here. Lots of times you thought they didn't care what happened to you anyway ‘cause there was so much confusion. You wonder how you can get together so many thousands and thousands of people, vehicles, all trying to get into... Eventually you end up finding your group in the mess, I would say. It straightens itself out. Everybody's got a story. Everyone, everyone... Some of them went through a lot.

Mr. Senycz speaks about his time in the Army and reflects back to the soldiers who didn’t return home as “Heroes.”

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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