The Story Behind the “Kilroy was here” Flag
During World War II, United States servicemen began scrawling “Kilroy was here” wherever they were stationed, encamped or just passing through, and accompanied the phrase with a cartoon doodle of a bald-headed man with a prominent nose peering over a wall. The graffiti, which came to be known as simply Kilroy, appeared on every surface imaginable throughout Japan, Italy, France and the Philippines. Joseph Stalin is even rumored to have found it in his private bathroom at the Potsdam Conference in 1945.
Origins of Kilroy
The origins of the Kilroy expression and the drawing have been widely debated. Although one of the more popular theories involves an American shipyard inspector by the name of James J. Kilroy. The Massachusetts inspector reportedly marked the work he had approved with the phrase "Kilroy was here”. The markings were later discovered and repurposed by American soldiers, thus sparking the war’s most widespread inside joke.
Meanwhile, the cartoon of the bald-headed man is believed to have originated with British forces during World War I. The long-nosed character was referred to as Mr. Chad, and when American forces encountered the British sketch during World War II, they ostensibly merged the image with the phrase “Kilroy was here”.
Symbol of Hope & Pride for American Soldiers
The Kilroy doodle became much more than a source of humor for American soldiers. It imbued a sense of pride, knowing that there was no place in Europe that the Allied forces couldn’t reach. Even more importantly, it provided comfort and hope, as a sign that American soldiers had been there before them and survived.
About the “Kilroy wuz here” Flag
To honor this iconic symbol in American history, Gettysburg Flag Works has created the “Kilroy wuz here” flag. Made in the USA for indoor or outdoor use, the flag is digitally printed on durable all-weather nylon with four rows reinforced stitching. For questions about the “Kilroy wuz here” flag, or to place an order by phone, give us a call at 1-888-697-3524.
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