Censorship starts…

Union Castle Line R.M.S Kenilworth Castle
at seaOct. 28th. 1914
(censored)

My dear old Elsie
New and very strict regulations have been issued today and I am only allowd to send you a few lines to tell you I am very well indeed and having a good and interesting time. I  hope you get my other letters (4 altogether) posted prior to this. It may be three weeks or so before I am able to write you again but I’ll do so when ever possible, Best love dear

from Stan

Next letter Nov 18th

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/

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Playing heaps of jolly deck games

Union Castle Line R.M.S Kenilworth Castle
at sea  Oct 21st. 1914

My dear old Elsie

It is just sun rise – 5.15 am. a curious time to be writing letters you will say but I am Officer of the Watch tonight and have been keeping vigil. The sunset [sunrise] is priceless – I have been on the top deck watching it – it is right in front of our bows so we are going due east.

I think I told you in the letter I sent from Gibraltar that we are so lucky to be in this ship and have no duty except every five days we take our turn as officer on duty – it is my turn now – I am tired of reading so I am scribbling a few letters. Every two hours I have to do around of the ship and it takes nearly an hour so you can imagine what a big place we are living in.

We are somewhere between Malta and Port Said and our ships log tell suwe are 2,700 miles on our journey. I’m told that we shall be at Port Said in two days and I hope to get this posted then. I wrote you from Malta on Sunday last but eh sea was so rough that the little steamer that came out to collect our mail couldn’t get near enough to us to the mail bag – so it now lies in the ship post office and you will probably get two letters together – that is if the censor will allow it.

Since Gibraltar the journey have been full of interest – for some days we steamed along quite close to the African coast and we waited some hours outside Malta and all longed to land for a while to have a look at the place. Here our silent English warships left us, for the Adriatic they say, and now the Frenchmen have taken charge of us until we reach Aden – then we shall have an extra strong escort for the Indian Ocean in case the Emden* is waiting for us.

It has been a glorious trip so far – we had some rough days about Malta and several wonderful thunderstorms at night but through everything I have felt as fit as a fiddle and haven’t missed a meal – which is the best sign of all. We are not quite cut off from the world for wonder of wonders we are still in touch with the wireless station in Cornwall and get a Marconigram each day – the news is very short but it is better than nothing.

The days go by very quickly – we just get up at 6.30 and do an hours physical drill before breakfast and during hte morning we have military lectures and are all learning semaphore signalling. There are heaps of jolly deck games – cricket etc. but the sun is so strong now that one  spends most of the afternoon in a deck chair in the shade. After dinner we play bridge or have a sing song. There is a fine library in this writing room so there is plenty to do.

With us on this boat are the 4th Wilts. with Lord Radnor in command – the 7th. Hants, the Hants R.F.A and the Divisional Staff, about 3,000 all told – in the 7th. Hants are 4 old boys of Taunton School, two of them are men of my time, so through them I have made a lot of new friends. I am looking forward very much to seeing the Suez Canal and I hope we shall be allowed to land at Port Said altho’ this is very doubtful. We are quite a big fleet and have to keep together for obvious reasons so we go along rather slowly and shall take some time going through the canal. I wonder when we shall get to our journeys end – Im told we have 3 days train journey when we reach Bombay. I will try to post you another letter as soon as we touch Indian soil. The sun is up above the sea now and the Mediterranean is a glorious blue – looking out of the writing room windows I can see the lines of transports and beyond the evil looking cruisers and destroyers. I must do another round fo the ship now and see the sentries are not sleeping at their posts. It is so difficult even yet to realize that we are steadily steaming towards the mysterious East but it is a great experience! Goodbye dear old girl I so look forward to your letters at Jhansi.

Best love

from Stan

 

*On November 9th 1914 the German cruiser Emden was destroyed by HMAS Sydney on Keeling, one of the Cocos Islands. She had sunk two Allied warships off Penang and fifteen merchant ships in the Bay of Bengal and around the Maldives. HMAS Sydney was escorting Anzac troopships heading for Suez.

 

Next letter Oct 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/

Enjoying life onboard

Union Castle Line R.M.S Kenilworth Castle
Wednesday 14th. Oct. 14At sea, a few hours from Gibraltar.

My dear old Elsie

We have just been told that there may be a chance of getting letters off at Gib. but know they will be censored so I can only send you a few lines. You will be glad to know that I am an excellent sailor up to now and of course am enjoying every minute of the voyage – We were lucky right from the start – when we reached Southampton we found the 5th. Somersets were to sail in the Alnwick Castle* a small tub of a thing with very good quarters for the men but only cabins for 12 officers – and so all the junior officers were transferred to this splendid ship Kenilworth Castle in charge of our senior major.§ We are living in luxury and ease with no men to look after and only watch duty once in five days. This is just like a swagger hotel and we are fed like princes and after camp life it is simply splendid! I will try to get a letter posted at Port Said which is our first stopping place. WE are going very slowly and I’m told we should be on the sea for six weeks. Many thanks for the letter which I found at the docks.

Best love

from Stan.

*As Kenilworth Castle, reg. tonnage: 3796
§ Major RH Brutton TD, died in India of pernicious malaria January 5th 1916 (BoR pg19).

Next letter Oct 21st

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/

Looking forward to some fine sport

5th Somerset L.I., West Down Camp, Salisbury
Oct 5th 1914

My dear old Elsie

You will be surprised to hear from me again from the Plain but our departure has been delayed for a few hours for some private reason.

We have had a rather dreadful time for everything was packed up for us to go on Saturday and now we are pigging it terribly – we should go on Wednesday or Thursday for certain and I should be so glad. This uncertainty and countermand is very tiring. We sail from Southampton and a line addressed to me c/o the Embarkation Officer Southampton would find me probably. Our station in India is Jhansi, right in Central India, very hot and full of snakes but a fine sporting centre so we should have a good time.

Please write me a letter to Jhansi so that I get it when I reach there. I think it will be a long railway journey from Bombay. The War Office are very scared and we have to be ready to move at a moments notice.They say there are 3 German submarines in the English Channel which cant be located and this is the reason for our delay – but I suppose the troop ships are not quite ready yet. I got your letters quite safely so many thanks and I have already enjoyed the helmet it is beautifully warm I shall take it to India in case we bivouack some day. I may be able to write again before we go but it is very uncertain, anyhow heres wishing you Goodbye again I wish I could have seen you, but never mind, I shall be home again soon I hope

Goodbye old dear, best love

from Stan

Next post 9th Oct