Friday, October 30, 2009

Kilroy Was Here...

Just a bit of history for the current older generation.

I'm sure it will mean nothing to any younger generations.

Rather nostalgic!

Do you remember Kilroy? I too have often wondered about I know. Great piece of history.

Anyone born in the mid thirties knew Kilroy. We didn't know why but we had lapel pins with his nose hanging over the label and the top of his face above his nose with his hands hanging over the label too. I believe it was orange colored. No one knew why he was so well known but we all joined in!

Kind of a war story--now we know! INTERESTING?~~~~



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.

He 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.

Kilroy 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 that he realized

What had been going on.

The tight spaces he had 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 checkmark

On each job he inspected,


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 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 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 the war's end,

"Kilroy" had been here, there,

And everywhere on the long haul

To Berlin and Tokyo.

To the unfortunate troops

Outbound in those ships, however,

He was a complete mystery;

All they knew for sure

Was that some jerk 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 Arch De Triumphe,

And even scrawled in the dust

On the moon.)

And 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 the 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 Roosvelt,

Stalin, and Churchill

At the Potsdam conference.

The first person inside was Stalin, who emerged and 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 front yard

in Halifax, Massachusetts.

So now You Know!


Thanks Jim E.

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