WWII Kilroy Was Here legends

The Legends of "Kilroy Was Here"

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There was one person who led or participated in every combat, training or occupation operation during WWII and the Korean War. This person could always be depended on. GI's began to consider him the "super GI." He was one who always got there first or who was always there when they left. I am, of course, referring to Kilroy Was Here. Somehow, this simple graffiti captured the imagination of GI's everywhere they went. The scribbled cartoon face and words showed up everywhere - worldwide. Stories (some even true) abound.

Legend #1: This Legend of how "Kilroy was here" starts is with James J. Kilroy, a shipyard inspector during WWII. He chalked the words on bulkheads to show that he had been there and inspected the riveting in the newly constructed ship. To the troops in those ships, however, it was a complete mystery — all they knew for sure was that he had "been there first." As a joke, they began placing the graffiti wherever they (the US forces) landed or went, claiming it was already there when they arrived.

Kilroy became the US super-GI who always got there first — wherever GI's went. It became a challenge to place the logo in the most unlikely places. It was said to be atop Mt. Everest, the Statue of Liberty, the underside of the Arch de Triumphe, and scrawled in the dust on the moon. An outhouse was built for the exclusive use of Truman, Stalin, and Churchill who were there for the Potsdam conference. The first person to use it was Stalin. He emerged and asked his aide (in Russian), "Who is Kilroy?"

Trolley being delivered
Click image for larger view
Image thanks to Brian Fitzgerald (Kilroy grandson)

WWII UDT (Under Water Demolition - later Navy Seals) divers swam ashore on Japanese held islands in the Pacific to prepare the beaches for the coming landings by US troops. They were sure to be the first GIs there! On more than one occasion, they reported seeing "Kilroy was here" scrawled on make shift signs or as graffiti on enemy pillboxes. They, in turn, often left similar signs for the next incoming GIs.

The tradition continued in every US military theater of operations throughout and following WWII.

Boston American, December 23, 1946
Click image for larger view

Image thanks to Brian Fitzgerald (Kilroy grandson)

In 1946 the Transit Company of America held a contest offering a prize of a real trolley car to the person who could prove himself to be the "real" Kilroy. Almost forty men stepped forward to make that claim, but James Kilroy brought along officials from the shipyard and some of the riveters to help prove his authenticity. James Kilroy won the prize of the trolley car which he gave it to his nine children as a Christmas gift and set it up in their front yard for a playhouse.

Click here for James Kilroy's Obituary from the New York Times.

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Legend #2 Thanks to Eric Willeke, Savannah, GA. I always thought that Kilroy grew up in Boston and loved to sneak away from school to see the Red Sox games looking over the wall in left field at Fenway Park. When the war broke out, he became an artillery observer and when his unit landed at Normandy, the locals felt that, with his nose, he looked like Charles De Gaulle. General Eisenhower decided to dress him as the French General posing in a fake headquarters to convince German spies that he was the French General marshaling troops for the real invasion. The Germans held their reserves waiting for the invasion led by De Gaulle which enabled the famous breakthrough at St Lo. After meeting De Gaulle nose to nose, he was returned to his unit where his buddies scrawled "Kilroy was here" wherever they went. Kilroy left the Army after the war to again see his beloved Red Sox at his favorite spot on the green monster.

If this story is not true, it should be.

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Legend #3: Thanks to John F. Griffin Quincy MA. This is how we know the story in Massachusetts. It adds to your selections already posted . . . Kilroy was an inspector in a factory in Braintree, Massachusetts. (just south of Boston). When the war kicked off, he employed women to run the factory lines. The women were paid by the amount of items they produced that day. At the end of the day Kilroy would walk along the factory line and chalk off at each station how much the woman had completed that day. Well, the women got smart about the situation and began erasing his chalk lines and moving them back a few places so when they started the next day they already had a few completed and obviously earned more money. Well, as Kilroy then himself got smart about this, he began using other markings besides a line. The "outsmarting match" continued between the women and Kilroy until he began to draw images and signing his name. It is the most popular image of Kilroy with his signature that hardest to duplicate exactly and thus that is the marking that endured.

At least that is somewhat how we tell it from the home front.

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Legend #4 Thanks to Ted Gallo The way I understand it, Kilroy was an Admiral during WWII. During an inspection of the fleet he noticed that bolts on the ship had seven or more threads extended from the nuts. When he saw this he issued orders to cut the bolts to a maximum of three threads. This resulted in saving tons of metal for other uses during the war. Thereafter, when GIs went aboard a ship and saw that the bolts had been cut down to three exposed threads, they knew Kilroy had been there - "Kilroy Was Here." I hope this information with assist in finding out where Kilroy came from before he "was here."

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Legend #5 Thanks to Ken Null I'm sure that there must be a hundred stories concerning the origin of Kilroy. Here is one story that I heard and think that it sounds very logical. During WWII we were turning out Liberty ships very fast and of course they all had to be inspected. Plumbing inspections, electrical inspections, etc, etc. There was one inspector named Mr. Kilroy working in a shipyard in Boston. Upon completion of his inspection tour, if the proper people and papers were not there for him to sign he would just scrawl on the bulkhead "Kilroy was here" And then move on to his next inspection. That was the sign that he was there, inspected and passed the ship. Most of the ships were built so fast that not all surfaces had time to be painted and thousands of soldiers saw his little notes on the bulkheads. That's how "Kilroy was here" got it's start. If not, at least it is a good story.

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Legend #6

WWII Kilroy Was Here legends Oghami

"Ogham" picture courtesy of http://www.alia.ie/tirnanog/oghaml.html
an excellent site about Irish
lore and language.

Hello...I was just on your site looking at the speculation as to where "kilroy was here" came from and I may have stumbled across a different explanation that goes back a LONG time. I was in a site looking up information on Irish lore and found an ancient form of communication that was written on large stones throughout Ireland in the form of symbols. The system of communication was called "Ogham" and on the link below it states that "Kilroy, son of here" seems to be the basic message type carried by the markings. My thinking was that it was a way for a traveler, land-owner, etc..to communicate with others along the way that it was their land or turf. From "Kilroy, son of here" you could easily re-phrase it into "Kilroy was here". . . so you take a young Irish lad in the military, traveling through Europe with a troop . . .he's familiar with this Irish lore and begins writing "Kilroy was here" on things, and it catches on. Below is the link to the info I found. There's not much there, but you can
contact the person who wrote this as well...I believe there's a "contact" link on it. http://www.alia.ie/tirnanog/oghaml.html

Anyway . . . just thought this might be of interest. Have a good day . . . David

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Legend #7 Thanks to Makio Mukai, M.D. Kilroy, a young inspector of riveting at a shipyard in Boston, was going to depart for Europe as a soldier because World War II broke out. One week before his departure from a port in Boston for Europe by warship, Kilroy met up with a young woman at a small restaurant near the port. Her name was Rosie, who came from California to visit her relatives in Boston. Kilroy and Rosie soon fell in love with each other. They met at the restaurant every day, and sat at a regular table in a corner.

They both were Irish Americans, as supposed from their names. When Ireland, their ancestral place, was talked about, Kilroy said, "Ireland is widely known for fairy folk tales, isn't it?""Yes, I heard so.""My grandpa frequently talked about fairies in Ireland in my childhood. Whenever he talked, he drew an interesting illustration of a fairy." Saying so, Kilroy began todraw the illustration of a fairy looking over a
WWII Kilroy Was Here legends Makio Mukai
Makio Mukai, M.D
"Some people usually say that I look like a terrorist, not a doctor..."

Editor's note: Question to the Vets who fought in the South Pacific - If you had met Makio coming at you with a sword or bayonet fixed, could you have guessed that he had such a good sense of humor?

fence or wall, which has been taught by his grandpa, on his pocketbook. Looking at the fairy, Rosie said, "Oh, what a cute jocular fairy! I love it! "

They promised to meet at the restaurant on the evening of the day before Kilroy's departure. The night Kilroy was going to propose to Rosie. He was waiting for her at the regular table in the corner of the restaurant. Rosie did not come. Kilroy in grief asked the restaurant owner for permission for one thing, and the owner, who well knew the circumstances, agreed with good grace. Kilroy took out a rivet, his good-luck charm, from his pocket and engraved with it on the table, "Kilroy was here." Above the notation, an illustration of the cute jocular fairy was also carved.

A number of soldiers poured in Boston in order to depart for Europe. The restaurant was also flourishing with them. They were amused at the notation and the illustration carved on the table in the corner.

In fact, she had been hastily going to the restaurant on the evening Kilroy was there, but on her way, she was involved in a traffic accident. She had been admitted to a hospital. About a month after Kilroy departed for Europe, Rosie came to the restaurant. Rosie looked at the notation and the illustration engraved on the table. She tearfully handed a memo to the owner, asking, "Please give Kilroy this memo if he comes back from Europe." The memo included her address in California.

Kilroy survived the war, returned to Boston from the battle line in Europe, and visited the restaurant. After reading the memo, Kilroy went in a hurry to Richmond in California, and found Rosie who was a riveter in a shipyard there. Kilroy proposed marriage to Rosie.

Rumor has it that they are still living happily among many grandchildren at a small town in a nook of the U.S.

Note: 1. During World War II, a big campaign designed to make an appeal for female workers was conducted in the U.S. The most famous poster used for this campaign was a picture of Rosie, a female riveter, which was drawn with the slogan, "We Can Do It!" Thus, the expression "Rosie the riveter" has become a synonym for the women who worked in place of men during World War II. Some assert that the name "Rosie" was derived from the model of the picture, Rose Will Monroe, a riveter in Michigan. Strictly, however, Rosie of "Rosie the riveter" is an imaginary character. At present, there is "ROSIE THE RIVETER MEMORIAL" in Richmond, California, where many women served in shipyards during World War II.

Note: 2. Many women as "Rosie the riveter" might have made the ships at Richmond in California for battles against Japan. However, more than half a century have passed since then. We the people of Japan pay respect to the women's patriotic spirit.


Makio Mukai, M.D.

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WWII Kilroy Was Here legends Asimov

Legend #8

Franco Medeot wrote:

I'm sure you already know there is a story in Earth is Room Enough by Isaac Asimov telling his science fiction version of the legend, but just to be sure I send to you this just like a "link." My English is quite poor so read yourself the story (it is very short), it's better for your enjoy and sure for my pride :-).

II' m Italian. I live in Udine in the north east of Italy (about 100 Km east of Venice just to give you a place you sure know). Asimov's book is an anthology of short stories and Asimov give the best with the trilogy but maybe it's better with stories than novels although you loose the Asimov's ability to create the atmosphere in the saga. would like to tell you how I

discovered the tales of Kilroy. About 10 years ago, during my service in the Army I read a novel by J. Heller, "Catch 22." It was a really incredible book. It's a pity the movie is not as good. In it American GIs found the message around Italian towns. I didn't believe it was a "real" legend because the novel is quite ironic. So, with my friends, we started joking about this Kilroy. Then playing a funny video game I saw the written on a wall of a cave and I thought "OK! The programmer has read the novel!". But Kilroy came up again in a strategic game called "Allied General" about WWII -- I start thinking. Then I read the story I sent you and so I have understood it isn't only a joke or an invention of a writer. It's  strange how I read many books about WWII without "meeting" Kilroy, and I must read a SF story to understand he is real. Another strange thing is that "Earth is Room Enough" is the only Asimov's book written in English language that my girlfriend has, (she has all the others I think, but in italian) and the only one that contains the story about Kilroy.

So thanks a lot for your site, forgive me for my English and be sure if I'll "find" Kilroy in Europe you'll be the first to know it.
The excerpt from Asimov's book is printed below:

"They drank beer and reminisced as men will who have met after long separation. They called to mind the days under fire. They remembered-sergeants and girls, both with exaggeration. Deadly things became humorous in retrospect, and trifles disregarded for ten years were hauled out for airing. Including, of course, the perennial mystery. "How do you account for it ?" asked the first. "Who started it ?" The second shrugged. "No one started it. Everyone was doing it, like a disease. You, too, I suppose." The first chuckled. The third one said softly, "I never saw the fun in it Maybe because I came across it first when I was under fire for the first time. North Africa." "Really ?" said the second. "The first night on the beaches of Oran. I was getting under cover, making for some native shack and I saw it in the lights of a flare"

George was deliriously happy. Two years of red tape and now he was finally back in the past. Now he could complete his paper on the social life of the foot soldier of World War Il with some authentic details. Out of the war less, insipid society of the thirtieth century, he found himself for one glorious moment in the tense, superlative drama of the warlike twentieth. North Africa! Site of the first great sea-borne invasion of the war. How the temporal physicists had scanned the area for the perfect spot and moment. This shadow of an empty wooden building was it. No human would approach for a known number of minutes. No blast would seriously affect it in that time. By being there, George would not affect history. He would be that ideal of the temporal physicist, the "pure observer." It was even more terrific than he had imagined. There was the perpetual roar of artillery, the unseen tearing of planes overhead. There were the periodic lines of tracer bullets splitting the sky and the occasional ghastly glow of a flare twisting downward. And he was here! He, George, was part of the war, part of an intense kind of life forever gone from the world of the thirtieth century, grown tame and gentle.

He imagined he could see the shadows of an advancing column of soldiers, hear the low cautious monosyllables slip from one to another. How he longed to be one of them in truth, not merely a momentary intruder, a "pure observer". He stopped his note taking and stared at his stylus, its micro light hypnotizing him for a moment. A sudden idea had overwhelmed him and he looked at the wood against which his shoulder pressed. This moment must not pass unforgotten into history. Surely doing this would affect nothing. He would use the older English dialect and there would be no suspicion. He did it quickly and then spied a soldier running desperately toward the structure, dodging a burst of bullets. George knew his time was up, and, even as he knew it, found himself back in the thirtieth century. It didn't matter. For those few minutes he had been part of World War II. A small part, but part. And others would know it. They might not know they know it, but someone perhaps would repeat the message to himself. Someone, perhaps that man running for shelter, would read it and know that along with all the heroes of the twentieth century was the "pure observer", the man from the thirtieth century, George Kilroy. He was there!"

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Legend #9
Roger D. Ficken" wrote:

-(@ @)-
--oOO-- (_)-- OOo--

I had heard a story from Kilroy's wife while she was on a TV show. She said that Kilroy was a rivet inspector for ship parts during the war. He was accused one time, by one of his supervisors, of not inspecting a part, even though he did. He started putting this picture on all parts he inspected to prove that he was there and inspected the part. As these parts were shipped by rail. People from all over saw the picture, not knowing the story but liking the cute little guy peeking over the fence, they started copying it and railroaders started drawing it on railroad cars as they passed through their yards. Pretty soon Kilroy was all over the place.

    On to Legends, page 2

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Sightings of "Kilroy Was Here"

Gary Bainbridge wrote:

This is a reproduction of a picture on a glider of the British First Airborne Division before they left for Operation Market Garden in September 1944.

WWII Kilroy Was Here Sightings Chad I am only 16 but I have a keen interest in WWII, I take part in living history www.summerof44.org.uk in the UK, we get many stories about the war years that I think would help keep the memories alive. We have a site like yours in the uk www.militariaworld.co.uk my grandad's story is one there (vip pass) he was an MP in Italy. I will get back to you soon. by the way I painted the Kilroy (I am a sign writer.)

All the best from Nottingham England

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Gary, I'm proud of you for your interest in history! I hope to hear from you again! I looked at both of your sites and they are great. I enjoyed reading about your grandad. I'm sure he is proud of you too. I will add links to them to our "Research Site." By the way, I have a mirror site in the UK called www.kilroywashere.org.uk.

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John D. Blair wrote:

I was born in 1939, too early for Kilroy in World War II. I was unaware of his presence in the Korean War. But I remember, in 1946 and '47, seeing him chalked on sidewalks and doodled on the edges of kid's homework. Has no one offered the Peter Viereck poem yet? Here it is as copied from Louis Untermeyer's Modern American Poetry, Modern British Poetry,
Harcourt Barce & World, Inc., 1958, p.657:


[Editor's note: An example of an unfaked epic spirit emerging from the war was the expression "Kilroy was here," scribbled everywhere by American soldiers and implying that nothing was too adventurous or remote.

Also Ulysses once--that other war
(Is it because we find his scrawl
Today on every privy door
That we forget his ancient role?)
Also was there--he did it for the wages--
When a Cathay-drunk Genoese set sail.
Whenever "longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,"
Kilroy is there;
he tells the Miller's Tale.

At times he seems a paranoiac king
Who stamps his crest on walls and says, "My own!"
But in the end he fades like a lost tune,
Tossed here and there, whom all the breezes sing.
"Kilroy was here"; these words sound wanly gay,
Haughty yet tired with long marching.
He is Orestes--guilty of what crime?--
For whom the Furies still are searching;
When they arrive they find their prey
(leaving his name to mock them) went away.
Sometimes he does not flee from them in time:
"Kilroy was--"
(with his blood a dying man
Wrote half the phrase out in Bataan.)

Kilroy, beware. "HOME" is the final trap
That lurks for you in many a wily shape:
In pipe-and-slippers plus a Loyal Hound
Or fooling around, just fooling around.
Kind to the old (their warm Penelope)
But fierce to boys,
thus "home" becomes the sea,
Horribly disguised, where you were always drowned,--
(How could suburban Crete condone
The yarns you would have V-mailed from the sun?)--
And folksy fishes sip Icarian tea.
One stab of hopeless wings imprinted your
Exultant Kilroy-signature
Upon sheer sky for all the world to stare:
"I was there! I was there! I was there!"

God is like Kilroy; He, too, sees it all;
That's how He knows of every sparrow's fall;
That's why we prayed each time the tightropes cracked
On which our loveliest clowns contrived their act
The G. I. Faustus who was everywhere
Strolled home again, "What was it like outside?"
Asked Can't, with his good neighbors Ought and But
And pale Perhaps and grave-eyed Better Not;
For "Kilroy" means: the world is very wide.
He was there, he was there, he was there!
And in the suburbs Can't sat down and cried.
WWII Kilroy Was Here Sightings Viereck

Peter Viereck (1916- ) Professor Emeritus Russian History

Born in New York City in 1916, Peter Viereck is the only
American scholar who has received Guggenheim Fellowships in both poetry and history. Viereck retired in 1987, His first book of poems, Terror and Decorum, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1949. He has also published extensively in political science and history.

Viereck served in the U.S. Army during World War II in the Psychological Warfare Intelligence Branch in Africa and Italy, He earned two battle stars.

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Mike Young wrote:

This is on a website concerning an upcoming game called WWIIOnline. Just thought I would point out Kilroy as the button for the comics on this page:

http://www.justsaymoe.net/wwiiol/ (Editor's Note: Sorry but this link is no longer good. If anyone knows where it is now, please let me know.)

 Kilroy in the movies Thanks to Bob Cook. ON OUR MERRY WAY, a 1948 movie shows a quick view of Kilroy. The movie is starring Burgess Meredith, Paulette Goddard, Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda. Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer appeared in it too as a young adult. Kilroy was shown on a beam under a band stand which was obviously built on the water. Fonda was down there in a small boat blowing a trumpet for Alfalfa who was only mouthing one above with the orchestra. I guess he was auditioning or something. Jimmy Stewart was the band leader. I only caught a glimpse of the movie as I was channel surfing at the time. WWII Kilroy Was Here Sightings On Our Merry Way

Editors Note: The movie is still available. Here's a formal description:

ON OUR MERRY WAY Dir. King Vidor, Leslie Fenton, John Huston, George Stevens U.S. 1948. 108 mins. B&W.
"A rediscovered gem from Hollywood's Golden Age, ON OUR MERRY WAY (aka A MIRACLE CAN HAPPEN) is a delectable, lighthearted comedy interweaving four different narratives, featuring the brightest stars of the day. James Stewart and Henry Fonda play a pair of poor musicians who try to change their luck by rigging a talent contest. Dorothy Lamour co-stars as an aspiring actress, Fred MacMurray and William Demarest portray con-men out-smarted by a ten-year-old and Burgess Meredith's reporter character ties all the stories together. "

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WWII Kilroy Was Here Sightings Kramer - Seinfeld
Kilroy on Seinfeld Thanks to Mike Weirauch It seems to be only in the early seasons but kilroy can be seen as a refrigerator magnet on Jerry's refrigerator. The one I noticed it in was one where Jerry hadn't watched a Mets game so he taped it. During the part where Kramer comes and ruins the ending of the Mets game that Jerry taped, Kilroy is visible towards the top of the refrigerator.

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I was recently watching TV the other day and was reminiscing about the good old days of watching Popeye. I turned to the cartoon channel and saw that when Popeye opened and closed a chest on a ship, the words "Kilroy Was Here" were on the inside of the top of the chest! I instantly thought of you then and there. Pretty interesting and random sighting of it.

David Galvez

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Kilroy Figurine

I was too young to be in the armed services during WWII but remember the war and all of the "KILROY WAS HERE" signs. It's amazing that they continue appear some 60 years later.

I have WWII decor in my home bar dedicated to my wife's father, Bill Beaman (USN Seaman 1st class in WWII). While I was in a Mayfield, Kentucky, Antique Mall this past July, I ran across a small plastic figurine of a young lady (in a family way!) and it had the "KILROY WAS HERE" "caption on the base. The figurine is in good taste and I'm sure it was created in a humorous tone and was not intended to de-grade the "KILROY" persona. I remember seeing this same young lady in a cartoon (perhaps it was a post card) years ago.

Well, I bought it to add to my WWII memorabilia.

AL Hawes
Bloomington, IN

WWII Kilroy Was Here Sightings Preganant figurine
Famous WWII graffiti
(as 4 inch tall figurine)

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Today's Straight Dope column is about Kilroy. I don't know how long the link will remain active since they don't keep all of the columns available on the web.

Ray Albright

Editor's note: I received the following from The Straight Dope. "We do not delete Mailbags from our site and the address should not change.

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WWII Kilroy Was Here Sightings This is a photo of a sign on a local building. It hasn't been there too long, maybe six months. Don't have any idea who or why it was put there. The building is at the corner of West 9th Street and Avenue E in the small town of Cisco, Texas. Carl Kleiner, who is now dead, did own the building. It was originally a cold storage and meat processing plant. Kleiner bought it cheap to use it for his electronic dabbling. His father had left

him independent financially. He was less than 60 years of age when he died of a heart attack. I will ask around but I doubt anyone knows who put the drawing up.

Joe Sitton

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I Spotted this truck in West Memphis, AR.  Notice Kilroy on the hood bug deflector. The truck was configured to tow an RV so he is still traveling.

Tom Kercher

WWII Kilroy Was Here Sightings Kilroy Bug Deflector

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Growing up during World War II, I certainly saw my share of Kilroy in and around my hometown of Schuylkill Haven, PA. We were located about 25 miles east of Indiantown Gap, an Army post during the conflict, and many soldeirs from that post spent liberty in the town.

In high school we often would have someone drawing a Kilroy that filled a blackboard. Kilroy, also went off to college with me. I have dropped many Kilroys at various locations over the years. One day in the late sixties, while having spent a rather boring week on the job, I drew a Kilroy and wrote under the "Kilroy was here,"
"He left."

W. Thomas Boussum

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WWII Kilroy Was Here Sightings Home Improvement

I don't know if you've heard of this one already, but I saw a "Kilroy was here" symbol on a TV show. The show was Home Improvement. The TV characters Tim and Al get sent to jail for something and on the wall Kilroy can clearly be seen in a few shots.

I first saw kilroy years ago in a book about symbols — it was under the heading of "Frustration." I was immediately curious as to where the symbol came from, and only recently have I discovered it's reference to WWII, though I'm still a little

unsure about how it came about.

You've got a great website, I'm not yet done looking through it. Keep up the good
work. :-)


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WWII Kilroy Was Here Sightings To Hell and Back

Kilroy with Audie Murphy
Thanks to B Yen

In the movie, To Hell and Back with Audie Murphy, "Kilroy Was Here" was inscribed on the inside wall of a farmhouse in Italy. That was the one big battle scene in the movie,

WWII Kilroy Was Here Sightings Audie Murphy
Editor's note: Audie L. Murphy was, before his movie career, the most decorated American combat soldier of World War II. He received every decoration for valor that this country had to offer plus 5 decorations presented to him by France and Belgium. He died tragically in an airplane accident in 1971.

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Kilroy in Italy Thanks to Joe Sitton

We landed in Southern Italy in February 1944 but Kilroy beat us there! He landed with the troops in 1943. My guess is that he was in North Africa before that. We were amused that he appeared everywhere we went. I saw him in Taranto, Altamura, Bari, Gravina, Spinazzola, Trani, Foggia, Naples, Caserta and Rome. I have no idea where he came from. We presumed some combat engineer probably originated him as a spoof to the people coming behind them. Our sightings of Kilroy were on the sides of buildings, on tufa block fences, houses, any place they could find space to draw his face.

I don't know if you knew it or not but the bomber groups were split up into air and ground echelons. The air crews flew to Brazil and from there on to North Africa. The ground troops went by ship. Liberty ships! We had submarine scares, although I never saw one. If I had, I wouldn't have been surprised to see Kilroy on the conning tower. We were bombed in the Mediterranean Sea with no casualties on my ship. My most vivid memory of landing in Italy is the lack of food the first day. We disembarked and took a sandwich with us. After marching about 15 miles to a British staging camp, we had to settle for a chunk of bread and a piece of cheese for supper. After trying to eat bully beef and weak, warm tea for breakfast

we left by truck for our camp at Spinazzola. We left about 11:00 a.m. without the noon meal and had to wait until night to get a can of C Rations dating back to WW I cut the can open with my knife and used it to eat cold beans which tasted pretty good after waiting since 7 A.M. that morning for food. We went into a bombed-out school building to sleep about midnight. There was only a marble floor to sleep on with one blanket and a shelter-half for protection. The only time I enjoyed dehydrated eggs was the following morning; they were delicious. There was no bathing facilities for about six weeks. We used our steel helmets to do all our washing in. We got our first showers about the first of April, but there was no hot water. You should try it sometime. As you can see our experience was not earth shaking and very little to commit to memory but Kilroy was with us (preceded us actually) all the way.

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Kilroy in the movies Thanks to Robert Selleck

Kilroy in the movies In Kelly's Heroes at the end of the movie on the inside wall of the bank.

Robert Selleck

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Kilroy in college. Thanks to Steve Arthur

Kilroy has been showing up on a frequent basis in the Military History Classes at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. The Legend lives on!

Steve Arthur
Fort Hays State University

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Kilroy in the 'toons! Thanks to Celeste Mitchell

I know this isn't particularily significant, but on the TV show Reboot, when one of the characters is in jail, you can see a pirate version of Kilroy was here on the wall.

Celeste Mitchell

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Kilroy in the movies -- PATTON!. Thanks to Jordan Poss.

If you've seen the movie "Patton," then you might have seen this. In one scene of the film, Gen. Patton is standing by a road, in Italy I think, watching his tanks go by. As the camera gives him a close-up, across the background goes a US half-track with the famous Kilroy peeping over the line, and "Kilroy is here" scrawled on it in white. I thought this was pretty interesting.

Jordan Poss
(I've even put down "Kilroy was here" myself a few times...)

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Kilroy on "Mash" TV show: Thanks to Laryssa Nyland

I know that this isn't exactly a historic sighting, but if you watch MASH, on the episode "The Bus" where Radar gets everyone lost on a bus trip, "Kilroy" is written in the dust on one of the bus windows. Just thought you'd like to know that MASH kept up with historical accuracy at least once.

Laryssa Nyland

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Kilroy Sighting, Australia, 1991: Thanks to Christopher Dalan, Seattle WA.

In 1991 at the age of 19, I left Seattle WA to spend a month touring Australia. I saw many wonderful things, but the most memorable was a sheltered bus stop in Alice Springs (the dead center of nowhere) near a WWII memorial. On the wall was scribbled "Kilroy wos 'ere". I've always regretted not taking a photo. Apparently the legend has been embraced by other cultures.

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Kilroy Sighting Ireland, 1950s Thanks to Larry Kirwan (Lead singer of the Irish/American band, Black 47). I first saw "Kilroy was here" in my hometown of Wexford in Ireland in the 50's. I've no idea how it got there. It stayed on an old garage door for, perhaps, 20 years or more. It always resonated in my head. I had no idea what it meant.

There are many ways the Kilroy Was Here could have made it to Wexford in Ireland. My own father, Jim Kirwan, was a Merchant Mariner and was torpedoed in the North Atlantic. He was rescued and put in hospital in NYC. Many Irish people served in the British forces in WW2. Many more served in the Merchant Marine. They, of course, would have been exposed to the sign. My aunt was a nurse in London during the war and married a US Air Force man and lives to this day in Carson City, NV.
But, I think that the sign was just so famous world wide that it just naturally spread to backwaters like Wexford. The founder of the American Navy, John Barry, was also born there and emigrated to Philadelphia in the 18th century. Both Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy laid wreaths at a statue for him there.

Recently, I had been writing songs based on memories of my hometown and life there in the 50's and the phrase jumped into my mind. The song I wrote will be on a record next year.

Thanks for all your information about the famous and mysterious Kilroy.

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Kilroy Sighting, 1945 Thanks to (Name withheld to protect the guilty.) While in Japan after the bomb fell I was in a brothel. On the wall was inscribed:

"Kilroy was here and got the clap"

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Kilroy Sighting 1991 Thanks to Ray Albright . As a long time fan of Kilroy (and no I can't explain it!) I made sure he put in at least one appearance in Kuwait. The attached pictures document one of my attempts to capture the spirit.

I belonged to the 552 Airborne Warning and Control Wing but had been detailed to the Royal Saudi Air Force. In June of 1991 I was faced with a long weekend so a buddy and I grabbed a car and headed into Kuwait to look around. We came across this artillery piece near the bridge between the Kuwait mainland and Bubiyan Island and it seemed to be the perfect place for Kilroy to visit. He is peering over an E-3 rotodome which is the large black and white saucer on the back of the airplane that contains the radar antenna.

WWII Kilroy Was Here Sightings Kuwait
 Kilroy on Cannon in Kuwait, 1991

WWII Kilroy Was Here Sightings Kuwait Gulf War
 Kilroy on Canon Close-up


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