Mr. Chad

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Nov 19 20:57:23 UTC 2000

    Not one of the books that I cited listed an acronym for "chad."
    I have not seen M-W's "chad" entry, but I trust that it's 1947.
    I still have to check the ACM COMMITTEE ON NOMENCLATURE, first glossary
of programming terminology, 257 terms (June 1954), and any newsletter of the
International Typographical Union, which complained about "cheap tape" in a
TIME article on the teletypesetter, July 23, 1953, pages 68-69.

NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, 18 March 1946, pg. 42, col. 2:
_Mr. Clem_
_And Mr. Chad_
   I HAVE followed with interest the article and correspondence in THE TIMES
MAGAZINE regarding "Clem," whose face American soldiers scrawled on walls at
European redeployment depots.  I and several school friends find him
interesting owing to his very close resemblance to Mr. Chad, a British
wall-peeper who has been seen everywhere here during the last few years.  May
I quote from The Sunday Express of London, Dec. 2, 1945?  (OED's first
   "What is the origin of that peculiarly laughable figure called Chad we see
so often scribbled across our walls? *** Of all the stories of Chad's origin
the most likely appears to be one that comes from a REME (Royal Electrical
and Mechanical Engineers) unit.
   (See article for Chad drawings--ed.)
   "Thus was Chad born--but why the name Chad?  Perhaps it comes from the
nickname of a REME training unit, popularly known as 'Chad's Temple'--perhaps
   (age 15)
Letchworth, Hertfordshire,

LIFE magazine, 18 March 1946, pg. 17, col. 2:
_Britain's war gremlin_
_becomes a symbol of_
_civilian problems_
(Long article.  LIFE should be available everywhere--ed.)
(Pg. 18, col. 2--ed.)
   The history of Mr. Chad is blanketed in mystery.  Like Topsy and that
highly organized race of saboteurs, the RAF gremlins, it seems he just
"growed."  Army and air force hotly contend for the (Pg. 20, col. 2--ed.)
honor of having discovered him.  Both generally agree that he started to
patronize the various armed forces about two years ago, although his Cockney
tag lines were common army currency long before.
   Most probable explanation of his origin is a doodle by a bored radio or
electrical trainee in the RAF or REME (which stands for Royal Electrical
Mechanical Engineers, popularly known as "Remmay").  Certainly he has long
been the special favorite of radio operators, electrical and radio mechanics
in the British services.
   (...)(Chad drawings cannot be reproduced here--ed.)
_Chad's christening_
   More conflicting is the folklore surrounding the origin of Mr. CHad's
name.  A REME unit claims it came from their training school, nicknamed
"Chad's Temple" after the instructor.  Another legend asserts Chad was named
for an RAF club, Chadwich House, near a Lancashire air force radio school.
Eighth Army Desert Rats have claimed that Chad was named after a snoopy
officer in the El Mamem (illegible--ed.) campaign.  He has been alternatively
known as "Flywheel," (Pg. 23, col. 2--ed.)  "Doomie" or "The Goon" in the
RAF; "Foo" or "The Watcher" in the Royal Navy; "Clem," "Private Snoops," or
"The Jeep" in the army.  Lesser gremlins have tried lately to cash in on
Chad's popularity with more elaborate portraits and new catch phrases, but
Chad has a long start on his rivals, who are mostly short-lived.
   Chad is no officer's pet.  He has been called "the patron saint of dumb
insolence--that elusive army crime so satisfyingly difficult to pin down."
His dry humor is typically British and his Cockney sympathies are always with
the Sad Sacks in the lower ranks of the service. (...)

(Maybe I'll look through any REME journals, too--ed.)

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