The Meaning of BZ

Recently we had a discussion with an “old” Sparker about the use nowadays of the “BZ” as meaning “Well Done” and it’s original wording from the old Fleet Signal Book, before we became “allied”and changed to the ATP1….. when the wording (from memory)
was “Manouver Well Executed”…and we were trying to think of its counterpart group ….was it “BX” or “BW” …Manouver Poorly Executed. Carry it out again””


We also recalled that the Fleet Signal Book had an 8 Lbs (say 2.5 Kilos) sheet of Lead built in to it’s back cover so that it would sink if thrown overboard and that when the Chief Yeoman threw it at you when you mucked up, if you didn’t duck quickly it would knock your head clean off.

Appreciate if anyone can shed light on Bravo Zulu

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7 Responses to The Meaning of BZ

  1. albert cross says:

    In 1953/54 , Pukaki was attached to FOX 3 with HMS’s Crane, Modeste & Oppossum . During one fleet manouvre Pukaki did a slam-dunk of about 45 degrees to Port while the others drifted away to Starboard. When Pukaki regained it’s composure it had left a tell-tail “S” shaped wake which caught the attention of Fox3., NEGATIVE BAKER ZEBRA . “What does that mean Yeoman ?”. (sheepishly said the Yeoman) “Not well done” Sir. I was only a visitor to the Bridge but I did hear a berating down the voice-pipe to the QM on watch…

  2. Nick says:

    Seems to ring a bell. The manual was called the ANSB (Allied Naval Signal Book, complete with lead bound cover so it would sink if ditched overboard when emergency destruction was required.) The weight mentioned is fairly close, Frank Black (Ex CPOYS) had a knack of throwing the damned thing in the classroom. I had to get out of the way several times, it was so close. There was also another unofficial code called the Dolphin code used to add emphasis to manoeuvring mishaps eg. Dolphin 19 = “If you think that was bad, wait till I try it again”. I remember the tune, but I can’t quite remember to words.

  3. Alan Peck says:

    If I remember correctly, the RAN introduced one for their own use to convey the opposite sentiment to BZ. It was BU, meaning “Buck Up!”

  4. Bill Bartlett says:

    Wot a load of crap!
    Any true BUNTING will tell you this expression is taken from the two-letter group Admin Section of the ANSB- whatever it is called nowadays- Its still there. “BZ” – meaning “Well Done”.
    In past years the skipper (if he was Senior Officer of course) would compliment a ship in company eg, for the manner a manoeuver was executed by ordering the yeoman to make the signal “well done”. Now the phrase has become commonplace. Everyone uses the bloody expression. I think its even crept into the other services! End of story

  5. Casper says:

    My wee book tells me that there was a two flag signal DG meaning manoeuver well executed. With the Negative flag above it meant the opposite. Of course as an ex sparker I am probably right.
    It also brings to mind one of my favourite entries from Make Another Signal which as I am bored and don’t want to garden I will relate whether you want me to or not.
    A cruiser was trying to secure to head and stern buoys near her flagship in a congested harbour. The Admiral watched the proceedings from his quarterdeck. The cruiser made a good approach and appeared to be judging the manoeuver well. The Admiral signalled GOOD.
    Then things started to go wrong for the cruiser. She missed the buoys and got more and more tangled up. After watching for some time the Admiral again signalled:
    Add to my previous signal GOD.

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