9 December 1945 General George Patton seriously injured in road accident
George Smith Patton, Jr. (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945) was a general in the United States Army best known for his command of the Seventh United States Army, and later the Third United States Army in World War II. During the war, Patton acquired the nickname “Old Blood and Guts,” because of his enthusiasm for battle. Soldiers under his command at sometimes remarked, “our blood, his guts”. Although a very competent and undoubtedly popular commander, controversy followed him.
Two incidents of Patton slapping GI’s during the Sicily campaign attracted controversy following the end of the campaign. On August 3, 1943, he slapped and verbally abused Private Charles H. Kuhl at an evacuation hospital after he had been found to suffer from “battle fatigue” and on August 10, he slapped Private Paul G. Bennett under similar circumstances. He ordered both soldiers back to the front lines. Patton issued orders to his commanders to discipline any soldier complaining of battle fatigue. Word of the incident reached Eisenhower, who reprimanded Patton and insisted he apologise. Patton apologised to both soldiers individually, to doctors who witnessed the incidents and later to all of the soldiers under his command in several speeches.
Although the other passengers in the car at the time of the accident were not seriously injured, Patton suffered a broken neck and spinal injury which left him paralysed from the neck down. He passed away on 21 December 1945 in his sleep.