Got this email from a friend who was a WWII vet. I know it's OT, but so cool I had to share. Unfortunately, the forum wouldn't accept all the pictures, but I included as many as it would. Hope you enjoy! (It appears to confirmed)
He is engraved in
stone in the National War Memorial in Washington, DC,
a small alcove where very few people have seen it.
For the WWII generation, this will bring
For you younger folks, it's a bit of trivia
that is a part of our American history.
Anyone born in 1913 to
about 1950, is familiar with Kilroy.
No one knew why he was so
well known, but everybody seemed to get into it.
who was Kilroy?
In 1946 the
American Transit Association, through its radio program,
to America," sponsored a nationwide contest to
find the real Kilroy, offering a prize of
a real trolley car to the person
who could prove himself
to be the genuine article.
Almost 40 men stepped forward
to make that claim,
but only James Kilroy from Halifax,
had evidence of his identity.
'Kilroy' was a
46-year old shipyard worker during the
war who worked as a checker at
the Fore River Shipyard
in Quincy. His job was to go around and check on the
number of rivets completed. Riveters were on piecework and
got paid by the rivet. He would count a block of rivets and
put a check mark in semi-waxed lumber chalk,
so the rivets wouldn't be counted twice.
went off duty, the riveters would erase the mark.
on, an off-shift inspector would come through
the rivets a second time,
resulting in double pay for the
One day Kilroy's
boss called him into his office.
The foreman was upset about all
the wages being paid
riveters, and asked him to investigate. It was then
realized what had been going on. The tight spaces he
to crawl in to check the rivets didn't lend themselves to
lugging around a paint can and brush, so Kilroy decided to
stick with the waxy chalk. He continued to put his check
mark on each job he inspected, but added
in king-sized letters next to the check, and eventually
added the sketch of the
chap with the long nose peering
over the fence and that
became part of the Kilroy message.
Once he did that,
the riveters stopped trying to wipe
away his marks. Ordinarily the
rivets and chalk marks
would have been covered up with paint. With the war on,
however, ships were leaving the Quincy Yard so fast
that there wasn't time to paint them. As a result,
Kilroy's inspection "trademark" was seen by thousands of
servicemen who boarded the troopships the yard
apparently rang a bell with the servicemen,
they picked it up and spread it all over
Europe and the South
Before war's end,
"Kilroy" had been here, there,
and everywhere on the long hauls
to Berlin and Tokyo.
the troops outbound in those ships, however,
he was a
complete mystery; all they knew for sure was
named Kilroy had "been there first."
As a joke, U.S.
servicemen began placing the graffiti
landed, claiming it was
already there when they
Kilroy became the
U.S. super-GI who had always
"already been" wherever GIs
went. It became a challenge
to place the logo in the most unlikely places imaginable
it is said to be atop Mt. Everest, the Statue of Liberty,
the underside of the Arc de Triomphe,
even scrawled in the dust on the moon.
As the war went on,
the legend grew. Underwater demolition
teams routinely sneaked ashore
on Japanese-held Islands in the
Pacific to map the terrain for coming invasions by
U.S. troops (and thus, presumably, were the first GI's there).
On one occasion, however, they reported seeing
enemy troops painting over the Kilroy logo!
In 1945, an
outhouse was built for the exclusive use of Roosevelt,
and Churchill at the Potsdam conference.
Its' first occupant was Stalin, who
asked his aide (in Russian), "Who is Kilroy?"
To help prove his
authenticity in 1946, James Kilroy
brought along officials from the
shipyard and some
of the riveters. He won the
trolley car, which he gave to
his nine children as a Christmas gift and set it up as a
playhouse in the Kilroy yard in Halifax,
And The Tradition
EVEN Outside Osama Bin Laden's
Share This Bit Of
With All Your Friends!
Excellent, thanks for the reminder.
It's been a very long time but i think Kilroy must have been a out house inspector for Uncle Sam?? That seems to be where he pop's up! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
An OT response: I wonder what happened to the Trolley car? It would be neat if it made it into preservation somewhere.
Along with the "Kilroy" logo and message was another that rang in most of the greatest generations minds, "Let George Do it!" referring the greatest ground general of WW2 General George Patton. That famous message was all over our country for years after the war.
p/s thank you Bud, for a wonderful history lesson and a trim down memory lane.
Thanks, Bud, for the history lesson. I've heard about "Kilroy" most of my life but never knew where it came from. I love this forum!!!
The same drawing and sentiment used to appear in the U.K. many years ago, but the gent's name was different. He was 'Whatno'. I wonder if anyone here remembers the 'Whatno was here!' embellishments?
I remember seeing Kilroy on things back in the 60's and in the WWll movies. Always wanted to know the history. Thanks
Thanks Bud. Good information about something many of us heard remember,, but didn't know the story behind it. Thank you for the thread.