The name Kilroy, first recorded in Utah in June and July 1945, designates a mythical person whose name members of the U.S. Armed Forces inscribed on walls, etc., all over the world during the Second World War.
Of the many identities ascribed to Kilroy, an early one appeared in the Tucson Daily Citizen (Tucson, Arizona) on 8th November 1945:
Kilroy (In Person) Here At Airbase For Discharge
By LT. JAMES V. O’GARA
Member Of Public Relations Staff At Davis-Monthan Field
One of the Army air force’s most baffling wartime problems was cleared up today.
Far-flying members of the AAF may be able to relax now in the knowledge that they won’t land at world-away airfields only to find the message “Kilroy was here” scrawled on anything that will hold pencil or chalk. And if they do, at least they will be in the know because the legendary Kilroy is to be discharged from the Army tomorrow.
For two long years airmen have been trying to solve the riddle of Kilroy’s identity. Was he man or myth? And how did he get around so much? “Kilroy was here” was a maddening inscription seen everywhere from Florida to California, from Puerto Rico to Karachi and beyond.
The fabulous Kilroy, Sgt. Francis J. Kilroy, jr., (pictured above) of 967 Broadway, Everett, Mass., admitted that he was the man while only hours away from receiving that coveted discharge paper at the Davis-Monthan field separation base.
“It all started at Boca Raton Army airfield in Florida,” according to Sgt. Kilroy.
He was signed there in the fall of 1943 to attend an air forces school when he became friendly with Sgt. James Maloney from Philadelphia.
In his second week at school, Sgt. Kilroy came down with the flu. Maloney, who apparently missed his new-found friend, strolled into his barracks one evening and, more or less as a joke, scribbled “Kilroy will be here next week” on a bulletin board. That was the original cryptic message which eventually had 2,000,000 AAF men guessing.
Kilroy and Maloney were transferred to different airfields a month or so later, but Maloney went right on with his message writing. In a few months everybody was doing it.
Sgt. Kilroy, who dreaded introductions to Army men by now, wound up in Italy. He spent 10 months there with a bomb group and collected a Distinguished Unit citation and five battle stars for his campaign ribbon.
Maloney is also at Davis-Monthan. It was the first time he and Kilroy have been together since they parted in Florida in 1943.