Steamboats.org Homepage  
  not logged in.
           forgot password?

The real Kilroy

 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Prev Previous Post   Next Post Next
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 02-07-2008, 05:44 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 371
Default The real Kilroy

The following info is presented to enhance your wealth of trivia. Kilroy left his mark almost everywhere during and after WWII and you've no doubt seen it many times. But here's the whole story, presented here because it stems from ship building. Just thought you'd like to know all about it.
-Jiim Herron

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 Second World 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, 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 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, but added KILROY WAS HERE in king-sized letters next to the check, and eventually added the sketch of the chap with the long nose peering over the fence 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 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 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 GI's went. And as the war went on, the legend grew.

In 1945, an outhouse was built for the exclusive use of Roosevelt, 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.
Reply With Quote
 

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
DQ room pix re: real size Judy Patsch Steamboats & History 9 02-26-2007 11:34 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:56 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
All content on this site is copyright protected and may not be re-used without written permission.
Bookmark and Share