Kilroy wasn't here

Michael Quinion TheEditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Thu Jan 22 14:53:50 UTC 2004

Anyone collecting folk etymologies may like to add this one, which I
found in the Nevada State Journal for 2 December 1945:

Kilroy Was Here; Mystery Message Traced to Source

EVERETT, Mass., Dec. 1. (U.P.) The mystery of world war II's most
frequently chalked inscription - "Kilroy was here" - apparently has
been solved. Veterans, who have seen that curious phrase on
buildings, aircraft fuselages and piers wherever Americans have
fought, will be happy to know that Sgt. Francis J. Kilroy, jr. 21-
year-old Everett soldier, was responsible. Now awaiting a discharge
at Davis-Monthan field, Tucson, Ariz., Kilroy informed his parents
here that while he was hospitalized earlier in the war a friend
scrawled on a bulletin board at a Florida airbase: "Kilroy will be
here next week." Airmen carried it overseas and left millions of
veterans guessing until now.

So now we know ...

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: <TheEditor at>
Web: <>

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