Today in history... George S Patton dies

George Smith Patton III remains a renowned and controversial figure; as outspoken in his advocation of armed combat as he was of his detestation of the Soviet Union during his later years.

The young George S Patton

Patton received a parade and a hero's welcome from the US public upon his return from war in July, 1945. However, just five months later - on this day - a car accident would end his life.

At certain points in his life, Patton's strong personality and exceptional dedication to his duty proved a curse as much as a blessing.

In August 1943, he was severely reprimanded for slapping a hospitalised soldier, branding the recovering battle fatigue patient a "coward".

After being severely disciplined by President Eisenhower, Patton was later, according to witnesses, "as generous as [he] had been furious" in making amends to the soldier.

Nevertheless , after a period of penance, Eisenhower gave Patton command of the US Third Army, which he successfully led through the hedgerows of Normandy and across France.

Between 1935 and 1940, Patton and President Eisenhower reportedly developed a very close friendship, the latter regarding Patton as a mastermind of tank warfare. The pair often took summer vacations together with their families.

George S Patton
A exceedingly rare example of personal Patton correspondence,
to his former housekeeper, dated January 23, 1943

Clearly, Patton was a man of great personal charm who also earned status as an icon of militarily dedication - a legacy which, for many admirers, endures to this day.

Today, any signed letters or autographed documents which reveal more about this complex man and his character are highly sought-after by collectors.

Perhaps one letter which, more than most, gives us this valuable insight is a letter written by Patton (dated January 23, 1943) to his former housekeeper, Suzanna Miner. Miner worked for him in Langres, France during World War One.

Written while Patton was engaged in the landmark Battle of Mount Austen, Galloping Horse and Sea Horse - a key engagement between the US and Imperial Japanese armies which brought about the end of the Japanese war campaign - the General's charms are clearly evident.

"Of course I remember you extremely well and also the pleasant times we had together... I have not met here any girls as charming as you and your sister," he writes.

"I'm sure that you will be happy to know that the French and ourselves are very intimate..."

Not only does the letter reveal a fascinating glimpse of a more personal side to Patton, but signed personal correspondences from such a senior figure, at such an important time of War, are extremely rare.

The letter itself is currently on the market and can be yours to own, valued at $6,520.

Like Patton himself, memorabilia items like these can help us to further understand this complex and remarkable character, whose legacy lives on.


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