THE MYSTERIES OF MILITARY TIME
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII

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It can be very confusing researching military records when times are recorded in various different ways. For example it could be shown as "Z Time", or "K Time", or local time. What does it all mean?

"Z Time" or "Zulu Time" is Greenwich Mean Time or UTC + 0, where UTC is Co-ordinated Universal Time.

The area between eastern Australia and Bougainville is in "K Time" or "Kilo Time" zone or UTC + 10. See Table below. So the east coast of Australia would be "K" time.

RAAF Station Townsville records are all recorded in Zulu time so an entry of 1345Z/25 would on translation to local Townsville time become 11:45 pm on the 25th day of the month which would be equivalent to 2345K/25 ("K" Time).

When the system was first devised by an American sea-captain Nathanial Bowditch, he allocated 25 letters of the alphabet to the 25 time zones. The decision was made to not use the letter "J" as it was not a common letter in many languages. Local Time was later  referred to by some as "J Time" or "Juliet Time".

From 3 February 1942 to 30 September 1945 most of the United States had Daylight Saving Time all year. It was known as War Time (UTC +1 hour). Time zones is the US were called "Eastern War Time", "Central War Time", and "Pacific War Time". As a result of this records for the US Navy's Fleet Radio Unit Melbourne (FRUMEL) in Melbourne would have been treated as Z +11.

Occasional discrepancies of thirty minutes appeared in the intercept logs for USS Yorktown because the ship occasionally sailed into and out of a +/- 30-minute time zones.

 

TIME ZONE UTC OFFSET
"A" for Apple Time UTC +1
"B" for Bravo Time UTC +2
"C" for Charlie Time UTC _3
"D" for Delta Time UTC +4
"E" for "Echo" Time UTC +5
"F" for Foxtrot Time UTC +6
"G" for Golf Time UTC +7
"H" for Hotel Time UTC +8
"I" for India Time UTC + 9
"K" for Kilo Time UTC +10
"L for Lima Time UTC +11
"M" for Mike Time UTC +12
"N" for November Time UTC -1
"O" for Oscar Time UTC -2
"P" for Papa Time UTC -3
"Q" for Quebec Time UTC -4
"R" for Romeo Time UTC -5
"S" for Sierra Time UTC -6
"T" for Tango Time UTC -7
"U" for Uniform Time UTC -8
"V" for Victor Time UTC -9
"W" for Whiskey Time UTC -10
"X" for X-ray Time UTC -11
"Y" for Yankee Time UTC -12
"Z" for Zulu Time UTC + 0

 

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This page first produced 27 April 2014

This page last updated 27 April 2014