The last home leave

Elm Grove*, Taunton
Sept. 28th. 1914

My dear old Elsie

I am home on 48 hours leave, I left yesterday morning (Saturday) and have to motor back this morning. We sail on Thursday but they wont tell us our port neither would they say what part of India we are going to.

I am sorry I shall not be able to see you but you see how impossible it is so this must be Goodbye as I expect I shall not be able to write again. If I am well enough I will write on the voyage and try to post it somewhere where we call. I dont know if we go via Suez Canal or round South Africa I wonder what you think of it all, I havent got a letter from you but I expect I shall find one at camp. It is a dreadful rush and I ave so much to buy and pack and see to, Goodbye old girl, keep well and happy. I will send you my address for letters as soon as possible and hope you will be able to write me each mail and I will answer them whenever possible. With love and all good wishes from your old pal,

Stan

*No 1, Elm Grove was the Goodland family home.

We’re off!

Salisbury Plain
envelope & postmark dated 24th. Sept.

Dear old Elsie

Just a hurried line to tell you we are ordered off to India immediately. The General? was summoned to the War Office yesterday & Lord Kitchener told him that we had been selected for Indian Service. We should probably go next week. It is a frightful rush but I hope to go home for a day. I have wired to stop mother going tomorrow. I was sorry to do this but I must see her before I go. It means entirely new it and there are a thousand things to do. I dread the sea voyage but Indian service is supposed to be the greatest honour the War Office can bestow upon a regiment.

Lord K. said that after a while he would probably relieve us with other troops and send us to the Front, so we are likely to see some service after all. At any rate India will be a great experience for me. Goodnight old girl I will try to write again. Best love

from Stan

Next letter Sept 28th.

These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
Twiga Books, ISBN 978 09528625 2 9 £9.50 + p&p
Available from http://twigabooks.co.uk/

A birthday present

5th. Somersets, West Down Camp, Salisbury Plain
Sept. 23 1914

My dear old Elsie

Thank you ever so much for your two letters and birthday present. It was awfully sweet of you to remember me and I shall enjoy the pipe so much and have started it going already. The baccy is fine too, I cant afford it myself and it is a great treat.

It was kind of you to send me two letters too thanks so much for the good wishes. I spent a strange birthday but the postman brought me several letters and parcels which were a great consolation. I have many letters to write so this must only be a short one. I have a lot of duty today. I am quite well again now only some bothering rheumatism in my shoulders. But I am warmer at night now with the bed stockings from your mother and some more blankets from home.

Amy* very kindly remembered my birthday and sent me a lovely box of cigarettes, I must send her a line. No more news of our movements I wish they would send us into billets I will let you know at once if we are moving.

Well old girl ever so many thanks for all your kindness to me and much love from Stan

Stanley Goodland

*Amy Frances Hyde (1887-1972) sister to Elsie, 4th child in the family, married Dr Jaffir Rumjahn MB, ChB, of Liverpool, on September 8th 1917.

Next letter Sept 24.

These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
Twiga Books, ISBN 978 09528625 2 9 £9.50 + p&p
Available from http://twigabooks.co.uk/

Bad weather and hard ground

5th. Somersets, West Down Camp, Salisbury Plain

Sept. 19 1914

My dear old Elsie

Ever so many thanks for your most welcome letter, and I am sorry I have not written lately. I have been away shooting at Bulford all this week and have returned late everyday. I am glad to say I have passed all the shooting tests and have got my marksmans certificate so thats all right. I got over my first innoculation all right and this evening I am due to take my second dose. It seems necessary to be done a second time ten days after the first. The doctor says I shant feel this one as the first gave me such a bad time. I do hope he will be right. We changed camp yesterday and marched over here (6 miles from Durrington) it is a good thing because we had been on the old camping ground a long time and the [word missing] were getting very dirty. We are now a hundred miles from any where and right in the most exposed part of the Plain. Unfortunately the man who had the motor bike has left us to join another battalion for the time being so I am done out of my lessons, isnt it a shame. Since I last wrote we have been having a very rotten time and the weather has been ghastly. I sometimes wonder if I shall ever be warm and comfortable again but the bed stockings your mother so kindly gave me are the greatest comfort to me. Most of the days I was shooting it was wet and windy and I had to lie prone on the damp ground  for hours but I suppose one gets hardened to almost anything and really I am keeping awfully well. Thank goodness some of our troubles will be over for in a few weeks we are going to Bournemouth and are to be billeted in the town. It will be lovely to have a real roof over ones head again. Nothing is fixed yet of course about our ultimate destination but it seems fairly certain that are booked now for some service out of the country and after all we may see some fighting.

I dont think anything will be done to us until Xmas or the New Year but Lord Kitchener said in the House of Lords that he was relying upon the territorials in a few months – Perhaps this terrible war will be over before we are wanted, I do hope so for everybody’s sake.

You have been having bad weather too and I am sorry you got so wet blackberrying, you must look after your throat this winter. I am sure you must be very busy now and I hope Mrs. Brown is keeping well. I am afraid I shant be able to go up to see Gretchen* for a long time to come. Bournemouth is so far from the North but I hope when we do get settled into our Winter quarters I shall be able to get home for a few hours. It will do mother so much good to visit Gretchen and I hope she will put in some time with Dorothy† too on her way back.

Mother‡ has had a very anxious time lately, but she has bourne everything splendidly. I must not stay for more now so good bye dear. I will try to write again next week. With many thanks for the letters which I much enjoy, and best love

from Stan

*Gretchen was the family name for Greta Goodland (1889-1968)
† Dorothy Goodland (1886-1928), eldest of the Goodland sisters, married Herbert (Bert) How in 1909. Also known as ‘Do’.
‡ Clara Vere Hare has married Edward Charles Goodland in 1880

Next letter Sept 23.

These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
Twiga Books, ISBN 978 09528625 2 9 £9.50 + p&p
Available from http://twigabooks.co.uk/

Lots to learn, and achieving plenty

Durrington Camp, Salisbury Plain
Sunday Sept. 6th. 1914

My dear old Elsie
Many thanks for your last letter which was sent on to me at Minehead. I got back safely last night and am dead tired – one had to work day and night to get our recruits in and had a splendid response. I got 94 in my district and we all gathered together at Taunton yesterday morning and marched 350 strong (all raw recruits got in 3 days) down the Town and they gave us a tremendous send off.

I am learning to ride a motor bike belonging to another officer and when I can manage it I shall sometimes be able to borrow it. I wonder if I could then meet you for one afternoon somewhere, I must study a map for I am quite at sea and dont know in the least the best point to meet. Perhaps I could just get right into Minchinhampton but I dont know how far that is. I had no time to see my people yesterday and it was all such a rush so apart from spending a few hours at home on Tuesday night it was by no means a holiday. We have so many applications for recruits that a serve battalion is being formed and posted to Taunton. There are already 400 men there and Harold has been sent back to command them – he will have a very responsible job and very hard work. The Babe arrived home yesterday evening but I did not see her – I believe they got a wire saying she was in London so there was great excitement. I dont know any particulars but I hope she is well and I am anxious to hear all about her experiences. There is no news yet of any move but I hope they will put us into barracks soon – it is so very cold at night and lonely during the day. It was real good to get between some sheets for three nights and get some warm baths.

I am enjoying the cigarettes so much dear – thank you so much. Best love dear old girl
from Stan

Now there is a chance of our going abroad everyone has to be innoculated with typhoid germs. I am going to be done on Wednesday & suppose I shall be laid up for 48 hours.

Notes
Charles Harold Goodland (1881-1962), elder brother to Stanley, served throughout the war in 2/5 Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry, in Burma and India. Brought to the notice of the Government of India for valuable services rendered. (BoR, p.112)
Florence Amy Goodland (1892-1977), known as ‘the Babe’, 4th and youngest sister to Stanley, married Karl Jones of Mumbles, South Wales, in 1920. On July 30th 1914 she left England to attend a course at the Dalcroze College of Dancing near Dresden. Caught in Germany by the outbreak of war she succeeded, on the second attempt, in crossing the Dutch frontier. A long account of her experiences was printed in the Somerset County Gazette, September 19th, shortly after her return.

These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
Twiga Books, ISBN 978 09528625 2 9 £9.50 + p&p
Available from http://twigabooks.co.uk/

Recruiting for volunteers for overseas duty

Plume of Feathers Hotel, Minehead, Sept. 4th, 1914
My dear old Elsie:
I was sent down here last Wednesday for 3 days to try to raise 40 recruits or more for the Battalion – willing to serve in active service.
I am glad to say that up to the time of writing I have signed on 86. I am returning with them to Salisbury Plain 8 o’c train tomorrow.
Many thanks dear old girl for the box of cigs. you sent me. I will write soon, am very busy.
Best love dear

from Stan.

Stan always called 25 year old Elsie, My dear old Elsie – he was a very Edwardian gentleman. This is the first letter that we have from Stan to Elsie during the war, and the style does not alter.

Facsimile of the first letter that we have from Stan to Elsie.
Facsimile of the first letter that we have from Stan to Elsie.

These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
Twiga Books, ISBN 978 09528625 2 9 £9.50 + p&p
Available from http://twigabooks.co.uk/