News – going on active service!

5th. Somerset Li., Rawalpindi, India
April 26 1915

My dear old Elsie

Many thanks old girl for your letter and papers by this mail just arrived and I’ve news for you this week for in a few days I’m off on active service. It appears in recent fighting in the Persian Gulf the Norfoiks and 2nd. Dorsets suffered heavy casualties and the Territorial Battalions serving out here have been asked to supply drafts immediately. Yesterday the Colonel wired me asking* if I would go in command of our detachment and of course I replied “yes gladly” and I expect to sail from Karachi in 10 days time. I return tomorrow to Ambala after sitting for my final exam here and there will be a hundred and one things to do and to get ready and the proper equipment of the men is so very important

This may be my last opportunity for some time old girl of writing to you but I’ll send a line whenever I’m allowed if its only one of those terrible official postcards. But of course letters from old England will be more acceptable than ever now and should be addressed

Lieut. S. Goodland
5th.Somerset L.I.
Attached 2nd. Dorset Regiment
Indian Expeditionary Force
Persian Gulf

The letters already in the post for me will be sent on from Ambala and I hope to get them all in due course. Persia isn’t an ideal spot to do service in and the climate is pretty bad the next 4 months but I’m awfully fit and strong and this is probably one reason why I’ve been chosen for the command. My great regret is that I shall be severed from the old Regiment and the many friends I’ve made but in these times soldiers musn’t be choosers and of course I’m awfully pleased with being selected. I’m sorry I haven’t time to write a long letter – my mind is so full of many things (I dread the rotten old exam tomorrow) and my heart beats faster today in anticipation of fresh experiences ahead – I must write to mother too and its rather difficult I only hope she won’t worry or be too anxious about me as I’m afraid even now she is far from well.** I will send a little photo with this – the Colonel wanted to have one of all his officers but I’m afraid the native photographer wasn’t very expert! I shall always be thinking of you, old pal, and if thoughts have wings (as the song says) your ears will often tingle – What to do with all my things is a great problem for I’m only allowed to take 35lb. of baggage including my valise and blankets! But it’s no use worrying over these trifles is it. Now don’t be anxious about me old girl or think things because you don’t get news of me – I feel I shall come through all right and we shall meet again before many months are over and I shall be telling you all my experiences safe and sound in dear old England once again – So long dear with best love

from Stan

* Stanley recounted that the Colonel had first offered the posting to the Senior Subaltern who had ‘declined the honour.’

**Stanley’s mother was very ill and died December 22nd 1915. There are frequent references to her illness in subsequent letters and his concern at being so very far away from home. He did not receive the news of her death until February 5th 1916.

Next letter May 17th 2015

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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The air was like champagne

Rawal Pindi Club, Rawalpindi
April 21 1915

My dear old Elsie

Just a line this mail to thank you very much old thing for your last Letter and the papers. I have read with great interest the thrilling description of the fighting round Ypres.* How wonderfully our men did against frightful odds.
We are kept awfully busy here and I shall be so glad when this course is over for we have simply been living on musketry the last three weeks and I’m fed up with it. But I’m learning such a lot that will be very useful to me but it is a bit strenuous in this terrific heat. We are out field firing most mornings now so have to attend afternoon lectures and in the evening write out our notes properly so there isn’t much peace but we make the most of our weekends. Last Sunday eleven of us went to Murree ** 7,000 feet up in the mountains and got into 3 ft. of snow there scenery was magnificent – from Murree we took ponies and went 20 miles along the Jhelum^ pass into Kashmir – it was just like Switzerland only wilder and grander and after the heat of the plains the air was like champagne. Today I’ve had a long letter from Harold who seems to be having a good time in Burma – it must be delightful country where he is and he says he is putting on flesh I think I shall melt quite away before the hot weather is over!
I hope you are very fit now dear girl – I am in spite of everything – how I wish this horrible war would end and tho’ at present we seem as far away as ever from a final result – Best love dear

from Stan

* The First Battte of Ypres, October and November 1914. The Second began on April 22nd 1915.
**Hill station north of Rawalpindi.
^Town now in Pakistan on present Kashmir border, also River and pass into Kashmir.

Next letter April 26th 2015

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/

Brain stuffed up with learning

5th. Somerset LI., Rawalpindi
April 14th. 1915

My dear old Elsie

I’m afraid I’ve no time to write you a long letter this mail but I’ll send you a few snap shots instead which I hope you’ll like and I will write on the back what they are.
We are having such a busy time up here and I haven’t felt so done up since I started soldiering. I didn’t realize there was so much theory in the thing and I must say my brain is very muddled at present with all this stuffing – We had our first exam today and I hope I’ve done all right – we get another tomorrow and two next week. It’s just like sweating up for the mathc! But I’m still awfully well and think all the ‘learning’ will be very useful when I get back to the regiment.
Best love old thing and many thanks for your letter (March 18) and the papers – it is sweet of you to send them.
from Stan

Next letter April 21st 2015

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/

Hard training and missing home

5th. Somerset L.I., Rawalpindi
April 7th. 1915

My dear old Elsie
Many thanks old girl for your last letter, (March 10th) which has been sent on to me from Ambala – You dont say how you are so I hope your pain has quite gone and that you are ever so fit again. I came along here last Sunday and we are settled down to a really hard course but I am glad to be able to see this part of the country which is by far the most interesting and picturesque of any I have yet come across. Last week I went over to Multan* with Frank Calway~ and the weekend before I spent in the hill country around Simla so by the time I reached Pindi last Sunday I had done about 2000 miles in the train and was jolly tired of it.

We went to Multan to see the grave of poor Buster Deane# an old Taunton School boy who died there last December and we made arrangements for the erection of a tomb stone, etc. He joined the ranks of the Devons last August and came out the same time as we did – he was a great strong chap but he got hold of fever somehow or other. I went up to the hills with a jolly party and we had a very good time. I am anxious to see as much as I can of the country now Im out here but it is very expensive worse luck – and I’m sure I shall be poor for the rest of my days for I cant do all these things on subaltems pay. But Simla is glorious and to go up from the plains as I did is just like getting into another country and its very much like Switzerland – only vaster and grander. Up here it is very wild and I hope to go up to Peshawar and the Khyber Pass before I go back to the Regiment. I hope I shall get through the course all right – I find it very difficult and the army instructors have no mercy – I have to do a lot of home work – It’s just like being at school again and it’s very irksome at times. I shall be here until the first week in May and then go back to Ambala. I am glad Gretchen and Leslie will be with you for Whitsun and hope you will manage a few days holiday at Taunton afterwards for Im sure you deserve [it]. I heard by cable yesterday of poor Mr. Franklin’s+ death and its a great blow to me but of course not altogether unexpected – I dont know what will happen to the poor old business for Im sure I shall never be happy there without him and so if you hear of anyone who wants a bright young fellow after the war is over dont forget me!

There ought to be some good commercial jobs going in London when things settle down again and I expect I shall have to make a fresh start for there are many lean years in store for the antique trade I’m afraid but there is heaps of time isn’t there to think these things out! I must write to Mother now last mail I heard she was in bed and not at all well. I expect Alice= and her family were rather too much for her. I have spent a strange Easter and I must say it hanst been nice and at times I get very homesick but I really think the war is moving in our favour everywhere now and I quite hope to see you again before 1915 is out.

Best love old girl and many thanks for all your letters and papers.

From Stan

 

* City in Punjab (now Pakistan) with garrison cantonment.

~ Capt FHF Calway, Adjutant when the Battalion left for overseas. Stanley succeeded him as Adjutant in October 1917: see letter 17/26. On leaving the 1/5 Somersets Frank Calway became Brigade Major of the 233rd Infantry Brigade, an appointment which enabled him to keep in close touch with his old Battalion. War service interrupted his lifelong connection with the silk industry in Taunton. He was chairman of Somerset County Council at the time of his death, aged 70, in 1956.

# Buster’ Deane, Charles Gerrard, only son of Edwin Deane LRCP of Bronshill House, Torquay, died of fever in Multan. (Somerset County Gazette, December 19th 1914.)

+Mr TH Franklin of Franklin, Hare & Goodland, Antique Dealers & Silversmiths of Taunton, where Stanley had worked, died April 5th 1915 aged 63. He had been active in many Taunton Organisations

=Wife of Stanley’s brother Harold.

Next letter April 14th 2015

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/