Posted by: travelrat | May 16, 2011

Kilroy Wuz Here!

When I first beheld the O2 Arena … they called it the Millennium Dome, in those days, I remarked that it looked a bit like Kilroy peering over a wall.

‘Who’ asked my young companion ‘was Kilroy?’

The words of an old poem came to me:

‘Alas, alack! He’s dead, I fear./ I see no sign of Kilroy here.

And I feel, in the interests of educating the younger generation, I’d better explain what Kilroy was about.

The accepted story is that Mr. Kilroy (his first name varies from version to version) was an inspector in an American shipyard in WW2. As he went through each ship, checking the work, he would track his progress by chalking on the wall not his signature or initials, but a face peering over a wall, and the words ‘KILROY WUZ HERE’

Since the business of the yard was building the so-called ‘Liberty Ships’, they sailed all over the world, bearing Kilroy’s mark with them. So, naturally, Kilroy soon had his imitators, and the figure and the words began to appear in all sorts of obscure places, even in those where no ship could possibly sail.

He was certainly around in the 60s. I remember going into a toilet once, which had been recently painted. And, even though the painter had only been gone less that an hour, the wall was already ‘decorated’:

‘Shout with glee and jump for joy/ for I got here before Kilroy’!

I had a bit of a surprise the other day, when I put my Abu Dhabi video up on YouTube. I had an email from them saying it might possibly be in breach of copyright. I couldn’t understand it; the photography was all mine, and the music was royalty-free stuff, from Kevin MacLeod’s … and, I’d used it before, without any objection being raised.

I contacted Kevin, mainly because I thought someone may possibly have been claiming the rights to his work. He assured me everything was in order; this was an arrangement he’d put in place with YouTube. If I did nothing, he then had the right to place his ads on YouTube, but would not be able to do so if I disputed it.

He pointed me at … where he explains things a lot better than I just did!


  1. Hi Keith,
    I love Kilroy, I have a lot of animated gifs of Kilroy. When I send an e-mail to a friend I usually put one above the e-mail, and it looks like he is reading it with you, there are hundreds of different one’s available, I think they are a lot of fun.

    It astounds me about the YouTube videos, I’m sure a lot of people would just like to put their own work up on YouTube and leave it at that without all this other nonsense.

    • I don’t blame Kevin at all … I think he’s at least getting some income out of the process, and I’ll continue to help him to do so. But, I do think YouTube could have worded their missive a little better; it sounded like a third party was claiming the rights to Kevin’s work, and accusing me of a breach of copyright.

  2. Yes, it did sound like a third party was claiming the rights to his work. Very confusing. Love the story about Kilroy. Haven’t heard about him for years!

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