July 2015’s Item of the Month looks at the journal and photo album of Commander Geoffrey Middleton Randall Rayne.
Left yesterday in a drizzle with balloon ¾ inflated – wind came up during night & we had to deflate. Arrived here 8am. At 10:30 went to see the RA & repeated balloon unfit for use & find we are wanted to spot off Anzac on Sunday… …they should not mess us about like this. Now here we are with no balloon available & the canvas balloon awning ripped to atoms last night, the gas plant on its last legs and the balloon wire well worn… We lie here doing nothing for 7 solid weeks while we ought to have been refitting properly at a dockyard & should have been ready for work now instead of used up & useless…
The balloon had not been up 5 minutes when a Hun aeroplane came near at only about 3000ft & dropped two bombs at us, both about 50 to 100 yards off to port, one exploded. They also fired with a maxim at the basket, dirty dogs!!
My next excitement was to see my new daughter. Of course Elizabeth didn’t remember me, but her mother had kept me “green” and she was not a bit shy – Susan was very quiet with me for a long time, not exactly shy, but appeared rooted to the ground whenever I put in an appearance. Claudine and I had taken the precaution to buy some toys at Plymouth for them and these I presented with due ceremony. The two of them together make a very smart pair, Elizabeth so dark and Susan so fair. I feel sure both will be pretty in their different ways.
I shall always regret that I missed what now appears likely to be the only big fleet action of the war. The Germans may give us another chance, but it’s improbable.
The armistice was signed today and hostilities ceased from 11am. It seems almost impossible to believe.
It’s been the most wonderful day. In fact I still cannot realize that what has happened is real.