US 3rd Army Commander Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. surrounded by his staff. At his feet is his English Bull Terrier "William the Conqueror" (usually called Willie). Late 1944 or early 1945. Click image for more about this photo.
General George S. Patton, Jr. was an animal lover with a particular attraction to bull terriers. He bought his first one, called Tank, just after World War I.
During World War II, on 4 March 1944 at the height of Patton's fame, he purchased the famous white bull terrier named Willie, short for "William the Conqueror." For the rest of Patton's life, Willie and General Patton went everywhere together.
Willie had his own set of "dog tags," and had quite a reputation with the "lady" dogs. Gen. Patton doted on the dog and even hosted a birthday party for him.
Bill Mauldin Meets Patton
Not everyone was charmed by Patton and Willie. When Sgt. Bill Maudlin, Stars and Stripes cartoonist, met Gen. Patton in March 1945, he described Willie this way:
Beside him, lying in a big chair, was Willie, the bull terrier. If ever dog was suited to master this one was. Willie had his beloved boss's expression and lacked only the ribbons and stars. I stood in that door staring into the four meanest eyes I'd ever seen.
Willie Loses His Master: The Death of Patton
On 9 December 1945, Gen. Patton suffered injuries as the result of an automobile accident. He died 12 days later, on 21 December 1945 and is buried in a simple grave at the U.S. military cemetery in Hamm, Luxembourg, among the soldiers who died in the Battle of the Bulge.
Photo taken right after Gen. Patton's death, as Willie waits with personal belongings to be shipped to the United States.
Click the image for more information about the photograph.
Willie, Patton's constant companion during the war, was sent to the United States, and lived out the rest of his life with the General's wife and daughters. A twelve-foot-high bronze statue of Patton and Willie has been erected at the General Patton Memorial Museum, off Interstate 10 in Chiriaco Summit, CA, not far from the former site of the Desert Training Center. It was there that Patton, as the first commander in 1942, began developing the armored tactics for Operation Torch in North Africa and later campaigns of World War II.
Recommended Book and Film Biography of Gen. Patton
, starring George C. Scott (1970), without a doubt the movie about Gen. Patton, winner of seven Academy Awards.
Find More Information on the Internet
There are many fine websites that have additional information on this
topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go.
Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.
For good results, try entering this: patton willie terrier. Then click the Search button.