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Kilroy is Dead

Nov. 25, 1962 - James J. Kilroy (pictured in 1946), who maintained that he was the original Kilroy of the famous “Kilroy was here” graffiti of World War II, died yesterday in Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. He was 60 years old. Wherever American troops served in World War II, the scrawl “Kilroy was here” marked their passage. Afterward, many accounts of its origin arose. Mr. Kilroy’s was judged the most likely to be true when he offered it on a radio program in Boston in 1947. He said he had been working as an inspector in a Fall River shipyard at the start of the war and grew tired of being asked to descend into tanks he had already inspected. Thereafter, he explained, every time he inspected a tank he would chalk on the lid, “Kilroy was here.” The tanks went abroad, G.I.’s picked up the phrase, and a legend was born. Mr. Kilroy lived in suburban Halifax, Mass., with his wife, Margaret, and their nine children.


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