THE STORY BEHIND THE LEGEND OF
KILROY WAS HERE
It begins with an inspector of ships working in the Fall River shipyards (Massachusetts) during the war years named James J. Kilroy. Mr. Kilroy grew tired of being asked to descend into tanks he had already earlier inspected and so he started leaving chalk marks on the lids marked “Kilroy was here”.
When those new ships first arrived in England & Hawaii (after Pearl Harbor) all that our GI’s knew was that Kilroy was there first BEFORE anyone else! Kilroy soon became an American super-GI leaving his image behind enemy lines in French towns such as Ste-Mere Eglise, Carentan, and Caen on D-Day. Especially in the town of Arnhem (Netherlands) with Operation Market-Garden. Also, at the Battle of The Bulge in Bastogne, Belgium all the way to Hitler’s residence located in the very southern tip of Germany at Berchtesgaden at the end of fighting in Europe.
In 1946 Mr. Kilroy won a real trolley car in a contest to prove who the ‘real’ Kilroy was, up against almost 40 other contenders. He won with the help of officials at the shipyard and some riveters who backed his story. The trolley car was used by his children as a playhouse in their front yard.
Mr. Kilroy died on November 24th 1962 in Boston, Massachusetts at the age of 60 years old. He left behind a wife and 9 children.