Old Blood and Guts

General George S. Patton (Burlish Camp site of the speech made on 31st May 1944)

Lieutenant General George S. Patton, ‘Old Blood and Guts’, arrived in Britain in January 1944 after becoming Commanding General of the U.S Third Army.

General Patton made personal inspections of his troops throughout the United Kingdom. Tall, trim and distinguished in appearance with short cropped hair he was always an inspiring sight. He would arrive, immaculately dressed, in a well tailored, form fitting, brass buttoned battle jacket, whipcord riding breeches and gleaming riding boots.

He made two visits to Camp Bewdley, the first was on 8th May1944 for a briefing with the XII Corps staff. On his second visit he delivered a characteristic speech to the troops.

Patton and Polish General Andrers 1944 - courtesy ww2db  Patton’s Speech – A member of the XII Corps Headquarters was able to take down the speech word for word in shorthand, and later circulated copies of the transcription and description of the events leading up to the speech.

“The Camp buzzed with tension. For the hundreds of eager rookies, newly arrived from the States, it was a great day in their lives. Gold braid and stripes were everywhere. Soon the hillside was a mass of brown.  Across the field a British farmer was calmly tilling his soil.

The moment drew nearer and necks craned to view the tiny winding road that led to Stourport on Severn.

At last a long black car roared up the road. General Patton mounted the special platform with Lt. General Simpson, Commander of the Fourth Army and Major General Cook , XII Corps Commander.”

“We are here” said General Simpson, “to listen to the words of a great man, a man who will lead you all into whatever you face with heroism, ability and foresight, a man who has proven himself amid shot and shell”.

General Patton arose and told his audience to be seated. The General’s voice rose, high and clear:”

Patton meeting General Montgomery in Sicily 1943  - copyright US Signals CorpSpeech extract.
“Men, this stuff we hear about America wanting to stay out of the war, not wanting to fight, is a lot of bull ….. All Americans love the sting and clash of battle. When you were kids you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the big league ball player, the toughest boxers. Americans play to win…all the time. I wouldn’t give a boot in hell for the man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost, nor ever will lose a war, for the
very thought of losing is hateful to an American ……..”

The General continued, his language growing more ‘colourful’ by the minute. General Patton was a controversial character worth reading about but generally acknowledged to be one of the best field commanders in World War 2. He went on to command the Third Army in the “Breakout” from Normandy and on into Germany. He died in a vehicle accident in Germany in December 1945.

To discover more about General Patton, please visit the The Patton Society website.

To download a PDF of Camp No.1 Map click here or for Camp No.2 Map click here

GENERAL PATTON CELEBRATION DAY

This was held at the conclusion of the projects activities on the 31st May 2013. It was followed by “The Yanks are Coming”, a display of mainly American equipment and tentage, in the Tontine Gardens, Stourport on the 1st of June.

 WARNING    See Note Below

The speech in the video clip has strong and aggressive language.

Below is a short video illustrating the events over the two days.  The first part includes an extract from the re-enactment of the legendary “Blood and Guts” speech delivered by General George Smith Patton at the Burlish site on May 31st 1944.

The Re-enactment is delivered by Jonathan Darby using the text of the speech available on the website of “The Patton Society”. This speech is derived from contemporaneous notes made during the speech at Camp Bewdley by Neil Harper Shreve a clerk with the Mobile Records Unit attached to Patton’s Staff.  In deference to the Family event that preceded the re-enactment the specific expletives were deleted, however the speech is still delivered with strong language. It is a rallying call and an incitement to battle and fighting.

It needs to be viewed in its context as a speech of its time invoking an aggression and hatred of the enemy that was thought necessary to galvanise a raw and inexperienced conscript army. The extract here is very short but clearly reflects the character of the speech.

At present we do not intend to post the full re-enactment on-line. The audience on the day pronounced the re-enactment as very impressive and its content as a great insight into the atmosphere of the time. We are exploring putting the full re-enactment onto a DVD which encompasses the whole history of the site. We believe that the enactment of the speech could be valuable as a study piece to analyse its content, delivery and context. Completion and availability of such a /DVD will be notified on this website.

Do you want to know more? Can you add more memories of the site? Simply e-mail us with your memories and photo’s and we will add them to the website.