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Kelly's eye

Posted by R. Berg on June 07, 2003

In Reply to: Kellys eye *1 posted by Henry on June 07, 2003

: : when playing [Bingo][Tom Bowler][Housie] where does the phrase "kellys eye number one" come from as no one seems to know. Can anyone answer this for me. Thank you.

: It sems to come from the army, but I haven't found the reason. Bingo became a national UK craze in the late 1950s (In Belgium too?), under the name of 'Lotto' or 'Housey Housey' it was a popular social activity in the British army in Messes Canteens and troopships. Some calls have survived 'kelly's eye - number one' and '88' was always 'Connaught Rangers' - unlikely, I would have thought if the Regiment was in disgrace; but then one would need to read the book to find out - not my period I'm afraid Herman, I already spend far too much on Crimean War material!!

: John Barham, Editor, Crimean War

From Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English," 5th ed.:

'Kelly's eye'. One, esp. a solitary one: mostly in house (the gambling game):military: C. 20. Anecdotal [from] a one-eyed Kelly. Also 'Kelly's wonk'.