Fun knowing that ‘Kilroy was here’
From 1939, when Germany invaded Poland, all the war pictures we saw in the newspapers in the theaters was total destruction, carnage and images that stuck with us for years.
This went on until the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan.
The truth be told there was a brighter and humorous side to the war.
In Camp Shanks New York, one of the largest deployment camps for troops to go to Europe, could be found some of the most eloquent poetry and limericks imaginable. They were scribbled on the wall in the barracks and restrooms. One could spend hours reading the eloquent bit of humor. If published in a book it would have to be XXX to say the very least.
After the journey across the Atlantic and the short trip across the English Channel to France we encountered more humor. There was a cartoon character looking over a wall with just the top of his head, his eyes and a large nose and hands exposed. The notation that went with it,” Kilroy was here”. In all my travels in the Normandy area you could find this graffiti in some of the most out-of-the-way places. There are many stories of who Kilroy was. Some say he was an inspector at a shipyard in Boston and after inspecting some of the rivets on the ship he would scroll in chalk,” Kilroy was here”.
Others say he was a soldier that got separated from his unit and kept trying to find them leaving the notation that he was not absent without leave. In our patrolling of the communication lines in France we found this little character in many many places. The one that amused me most was like this:
“I jumped with glee, I jumped with joy, I was here before Kilroy”. Below that penciled in a different handwriting was this:
“sorry to have spoiled your joke, I was here first, but my pencil broke, Kilroy”.
With all the horrors of war, there was some humor.
— Herb Bushong, Elida