Who the Hell was Kilroy?

Who the Hell 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.
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 it 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!

1 Comment

7 years 51 weeks ago, 3:37 PM


tce2519's picture

Join Date:
Dec 2009
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Kilroy's Story

With all of the crazy f*u%k#d up crap that goes on in this country on a daily basis,it's nice to read a warm & fuzzy story once in a while... Thanks Sam...
Now back to the real world.... How do the citizens of the good 'ol U.S.of A. MAKE THE IDIOT POLITICIANS UNDERSTAND the 10th amendment.

samD's picture
Posted by: samD
7 years 51 weeks ago

Rating Overview

User Rating:
(1 vote)
This text will be replaced

Recent Activity