The Mall is one of the best-known and historic areas of the city of Armagh, Co. Armagh. It remains a focal point of the city and during the Second World War, it saw use for parades and military inspections.
British, American, and Belgian troops all lined up along The Mall at various times during the Second World War. The city of Armagh attracted several high profile visitors including American General George S. Patton and Prince George, the Duke of Kent.
Duke of Kent in Armagh
On 27th November 1941, Prince George, Duke of Kent inspected Battalions of the British Army along The Mall.
American Forces on The Mall
At 1000hrs on 1st April 1944 soldiers of 2nd Infantry Division lined up for inspection on The Mall. Lieutenant General George S Patton accompanied by Major General Walter M Robertson inspected the men. The US Army captured the famous photo of the two men riding in a Willy’s Jeep at the junction with Grantham Gardens.
As troops lined up along The Mall, Patton delivered one of his famous speeches outside the Armagh County Museum.
While there is no transcript available for the Armagh speech, the contents were similar throughout the Spring of 1944. Often, the US Army placed women and children out of earshot due to the colourful language.
Veterans of the third US Army remember this, if you can’t stick the son of a bitch in the ass, shoot him in the ass as he runs away.
Lieutenant General George S Patton in Armagh, Northern Ireland.
Patton was in command of the United States 3rd Army. They were inexperienced men in the United Kingdom ahead of the upcoming Normandy invasion. His leadership was effective and successful with many noting his charisma and inspirational way with words.
He cultivated a flashy image, carrying an ivory-handled pistol, wearing a polished helmet, riding pants and cavalry boots. Despite the flashy persona, Patton was keeping a low profile while in Northern Ireland.
Don’t forget, you don’t know I’m here at all. No word of that fact is to be mentioned in any letters. The world is not supposed to know what the hell they did with me. I’m not supposed to be commanding this army. I’m not even supposed to be in England. Let the first bastards to find out be the goddamned Germans. Some day, I want them to rise up on their piss-soaked hind legs and howl ‘Ach! It’s the goddamned Third Army and that son-of-a-bitch Patton again!’