At school, I think, a friend and I discovered a mutual knowledge/confusion about a series of drawings of a large nosed man peeking over a brick wall, usually with the words “Wot no….cheese?”. I don’t know where I first saw this image, probably in the background of an old copy of Oor Wullie or something. The image above was sent to me by the same friend a couple of weeks ago. I am sure I then saw a number of similar images in public toilets, the word “cheese” replaced with something else, perhaps ‘cock?’ or ‘paper?’. Neither of us had any idea who or what this big-schnozzed, bald cartoon oddball was. I have since done some reading….
The character is generally known (in the UK) as “Mr.Chad”. Apparently;
“Mr Chad” was born in 1941 at a secret school in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, that was teaching “Radio-Location”, now called “Radar”. A lecturer was illustrating on a blackboard the effect of a capacitor in a circuit. How the drawing started is shown in the attached picture.
Later, an unknown genius added the question mark and the now immortal words “WOT! No Electrons?” (all of them having been discharged, of course).” – http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/19/a3568719.shtml
After this, the end drawing was to be found all over the place during the 2nd World War, as people put other words into Mr. Chad’s mouth, mostly relating to rationing and general shortages, eg “Wot! No banana’s?” or “Wot! No silk!” etc.
The phrase “Wot no….” pre-dates the drawing of the big nose, which has a passing resemblance to “Alice the Goon” from Popeye.
There is no certainty about the origin of the drawing or the phrase, and in the USA the drawing is usually connected with the phrase “Kilroy Was Here”. This phrase is known to have been chalked on the walls of Fort Knox before 1939, and after the war seems to have been joined to the drawing of Mr.Chad by American soldiers based in the UK. According to Wikipedia
“One theory identifies James J. Kilroy (1902–1962), an American shipyard inspector, as the man behind the signature. The New York Times indicated J.J. Kilroy as the origin in 1946, based on the results of a contest conducted by the Amalgamated Transit Union to establish the origin of the phenomenon. The article noted that Kilroy had marked the ships themselves as they were being built—so, at a later date, the phrase would be found chalked in places that no graffiti-artist could have reached (inside sealed hull spaces, for example), which then fed the mythical significance of the phrase—after all, if Kilroy could leave his mark there, who knew where else he could go?”
Anyway, here are some more images of Mr.Chad and Wot No…. If anyone finds any more pictures, please do take a photo and send them to me. The following are mostly internet images, and as such, are shite. Real ones on walls is what I want to see….
(I have since been informed of a site called “kilroy was here” that has a section of sightings…..have a look here)
this one (above) comes from a still from a film called “The Way We Live” (1946) a documentary about post-war rebuilding of Plymouth.