Thursday, November 20, 2014



He is engraved in stone in the National War Memorial in Washington DC
back in a small alcove where few people have seen it.
For the WWII generation this will bring back memories.
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. 
So who was Kilroy?

In 1946 the American Transit Association, through its radio program,
"Speak 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, Massachusetts
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.
When Kilroy went off duty, the riveters would erase the mark.

Later on, an off shift inspector would come through
and count the rivets a second time,
resulting in double pay for the riveters.

One day Kilroy's boss called him into his office.
The foreman was upset about all the wages being paid
to riveters, and asked him to investigate. It was then
he realized what had been going on. The tight spaces he
had to crawl in to check the rivets did not lend themselves to
lugging around a paint can and brush, so Kilroy decided to
stick with the waxy chalk. He continued to put his CHECKED
mark on each job he inspected, but added
in king sized letters next to the check mark, 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 was not time to paint them. As a result
Kilroy's inspection trademark was seen by thousands of
servicemen who boarded the troopships the yard produced.

His message apparently rang a bell with the servicemen
because they picked it up and spread it all over
Europe and the South Pacific.

Before war's end Kilroy had been here, there,
and everywhere on the long hauls to Berlin and Tokyo .
To the troops outbound in those ships, however,
he was a complete mystery; all they knew for sure was
that someone named Kilroy had been there first.
As a joke U.S. servicemen began placing the graffiti
wherever they landed, claiming it was
already there when they arrived.

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
and 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,
Stalin, and Churchill at the Potsdam conference.
Its' first occupant was Stalin, who emerged and 
asked his aide (in Russian) "Who is Kilroy?"

 To help prove his authenticity in 1946 James Kilroy
brought 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 their Kilroy yard in Halifax, Massachusetts.

 And The Tradition Continues

EVEN Outside Osama Bin Laden's House

Share This Bit Of Historic Humor
With All Your Friends

God Bless World War II Veterans

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