The Kilroy image is a relic from World War 2 when the favourite 'bubble' from his face said "Wot? No eggs?"
This, of course, is fairly obvious as to what the character is alluding to. It became so popular that it started
cropping up everywhere with "Wot? No......?" The blanks were filled in with whatever people were short
of. Kilroy helped dispel the dismay over rationing, for whatever reason, which was occuring at the time.
Special thanks to Mick Power from Alaska for sending this info to me.
Near the end of WWII, Adolf Hitler was paranoid as sin about one particular insurgent that seemed to get into
everything secure in Nazi germany, he had his best men actively searching for this spy, and had ordered all his
troops to shoot the menace. The "spy" Hitler was looking for was none other than kilroy. GI's in occupied
territory and spies in the german army were vandalizing nazi bases and equipment with the little kilroy drawing,
along with the words, "Killroy was here..." It wasn't meant as anything more than a prank, but by the
last year of hitler's command, there was so much graffitti that he thought kilroy was able to get into any secure
area, and feared for his life, thinking, "Kilroy is going to get me!" It's nice to think that a little
bit of vandalism helped end world war II
Special thanks to Eric Lindstrom from Illinois for sending this addition to me.
Was reading your notes on Kilroy originating during WW2
- here in Britain the little fellow who said 'What, no.......'
was known as Chad - don't ask me why? We were all adept at drawing
him on the covers of our school books with various, sometimes quite
derogatory, remarks mainly relating to our teachers.
Special thanks to Jill Lawson from Romford, England for sending this addition to me.
Basically Chad is British and Kilroy is American and both of them
appeared about 1945 or a bit earlier.
Kilroy has a fairly certain history. James J. Kilroy was employed during the war at the Bethlehem Steel Company's Quincy shipyard inspecting parts of warships under construction. To satisfy his superiors that he was doing his job he scribbled in yellow crayon 'Kilroy was here' on inspected work. It is believed that the shipyard workers who joined the armed forces were responsible for the world-wide spread.
Chad also appeared at the back end of the war in England when so many things were in short supply. He seems to have evolved from nowhere in particular but the 'Wot, no -' is directed at the shortages of the time. No one seems to have been the originator - a case of 'Wot! No father'.
As there was no real purpose behind Kilroy, it was basically just a part of American graffiti. Chad was generally pointing at a definite subject such as 'Wot, no bananas' but as the shortages disappeared so did Chad unless someone came up with a joking use of it. Incidentally you wrote in your e-mail 'What no - ' but for some unknown reason it was always 'Wot' not 'What' even if it was scribbled on your whatnot.'
Special thanks to Dennis McKniff from Doncaster, England for sending this addition to me.
Chad, it was said at the time, evolved from RAF electical engineers - it was a combination of electric circuitry symbols (a straight line with up and down wiggles made the fingers; a straight line with a half loop made the head and so on).
'Kilroy was here' was - obviously - an American invention - but the 'Wot no...' slogan originated in Britain during the wartime shortages. It was particularly popular outside tobacconists and newsagents 'Wot no ciggies?'
The Americans borrowed the slogan and the whimsical little drawing and attached it to Kilroy.
I too remember drawing Chad all over my school books
Special thanks to Mike Fox from Birmingham, England for sending this addition on the Chad.
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