Kilroy was here


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Kilroy was here

A World War II catchphrase that is typically accompanied by a cartoonish drawing of a man with a large nose peering over a wall or fence. Is it true that "Kilroy was here" was even painted on the Berlin Wall?
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Kilroy was here

A catch phrase that originated during World War II. According to the most authoritative account of the phrase's origin, James Kilroy, who worked at a Massachusetts shipyard during the war, was in charge of counting rivets. He placed a chalk check mark on each block of rivets to ensure that they would not be counted more than once, but the workers, who were paid piecemeal, erased the mark once Kilroy left. After becoming aware of the problem, he added “Kilroy Was Here” and a drawing of a man peering over a fence. The new ships sailed before the rivet blocks could be painted, so the vessels spread the message that “Kilroy Was Here” throughout the war. Soldiers and sailors adopted the phrase and it and the cartoon were scrawled on walls and other places wherever they went, contending that the graffiti was already there when they arrived. Perhaps the unlikeliest place where the phrase was found was on an outhouse reserved for the use of Churchill, Stalin, and FDR during the 1945 Potsdam Conference. As the story goes, Stalin emerged after using the facility and asked an aide, “And who is Kilroy?”
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References in periodicals archive ?
AS IF THE STORY OF KlLROY weren't already ridiculously complex for a simple bit of graffiti, the Milwaukee Journal noted in 1946 that the words "and so was Smoe" were often added after "Kilroy was here." A B-24 airman writing in 1998 suggested that Smoe stood for "Sad men of Europe." But that airman, and writers who corresponded with Life magazine in 1962, made the strange claim that "Kilroy was here" was never seen together with the doodle of the long-nosed man.
Professionally engraved in two hidden places in the back of the stone monument are the simple words "Kilroy was here" and the doodle of their sad-faced companion.
"'Kilroy Was Here' was with every GI on every combat or occupation assignment during WWII and Korea ...," the petition states.
[Art] is the artist's way of scribbling 'Kilroy was here' on the wall."