Still convalescing and getting a bit down

The Station Hospital, Wellington, Southern India
Aug 20th.1915

My dear old Elsie

Here I am old thing still in hospital and very tired of it all and fed up with things in general – but I think they will let me out soon as I am quite convalescent now and they are only holding me to see if Im a carrier of infection which Im sure Im not. I was at Bombay until Aug. 4th and then was sent to Poona and a week ago came on here. The journey was very interesting and I came through some really gorgeous country but 3 nights and days in the train was rather a trial and I arrived here a bit of a wreck. But here I am up 8000 ft in the South Western Ghauts and in a perfect climate – I feel the cold so much after the Gulf that I have a fire every evening after tea in my little ward – it doesn’t seem a bit like India and I feel better and stronger every day and hope soon to go long walks over the downs. Today to my great joy I got a bundle of letters from the Gulf and yours up to July 1st. many thanks dear old thing for all your letters and the papers too. I so enjoy the Tatler and always read those Letters of Eve – do you ever read them – I think they are so smart & amusing! It was so kind of you to send me the looking glass and knife spoon and fork and the baccy and I have no doubt the parcel will turn up if I am patient. I thought afterwards that I ought not to have asked you to spend your hard earned money on me and I do hope the railway shares are keeping up! I am thinking of you now at Borth with your people and hope you are having a good restful holiday and fine weather I am sure you must enjoy being with your own kith and kin again.

I dont quite know what the future has in store for me – I hope in about two weeks I shall go before my Board and I expect they will make me take 6 weeks or two months sick leave and very likely I shall go into a hotel or Club here for a while for Im sure there cant be a healthier place in India. After my leave is up I suppose I shall go back to Mesopotamia but I hear strong rumours that the Somersets are going on service to Europe this autumn and if such is the case of course I want to go with them – but everything is very undecided at present and at any rate you can think of me at Wellington for some little time yet.

As far as I can gather from Harolds letters poor little mother seems gradually to get worse and Im so afraid it will be a long and painful ending for her – it is a great trouble to me and I am always thinking of her. Im sure your short visit brought her a lot of pleasure and it was so kind of you to go down. One can do nothing and its all so very sad – and what a year this past one has been – it seems like an eternity and so much has happened that my memory sometimes cant keep pace with it. The weeks go by and still the war brings ‘no change’ its terrible really. Its true the Russians have had a big defeat and the Germans seem invincible in the East but it does not alter the ultimate result but unfortunately prolongs the awful struggle – Im quite convinced now old thing that it will be a long war and there are many weary anxious months ahead. I will write you again soon & will let you know what my plans are – there is just the chance of Harold and I meeting somewhere say at Madras before I return to service. Well cheerio and heres my best love to you

from Stan

Next letter Sept 2nd 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/ or Amazon

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Convalescing

The Station Hospital, Poona
Aug 6 ‘15

My dear old Elsie

Just a few lines to tell you I was moved up to this hospital yesterday but please address letters c/o Messrs Cox & Co. for the present. I am still getting on wonderfully well and am thankful to say that I can walk about 20 yards with the help of a couple of thick sticks – I shall soon be running about again but my poor old knees are still very weak & sometimes refuse to work. Ive got a huge appetite & always seem hungry which is the best possible sign and with all this inactivity Im getting so fat! The Colonel doctor told me this morning that I must go to a convalescent home at Wellington1 – it is a very healthy hill station in the Madras district & quite near Cootamunda [Ootacamund] which is the Simla of Southern India – I shall probably go before a Medical Board next week – they tell me that England is out of the question as I could not travel by P & O alone & there are no hospital ships running now – they wont even let me go to Burma to stay with Harold but I hear he is to be moved shortly to Rangoon which is a very unhealthy place and wouldn’t do for me at all. I am glad to say that I hear from Harold regularly now and he sends me on his home letters which I am so glad to have – I hope to get my own mail soon but suppose I must be patient a bit longer. The last news from home is very distressing – Harold sent me a letter he had just received from Dorothy a very gloomy letter indeed and I cannot help feeling that the end is not far distant now. Dorothy says that mother complains now of a pain at the bottom of her back – this sounds very ominous – it is terrible really & makes me so anxious and unhappy. I wish to goodness I could get home soon while the dear old mother is still alive. Im so very glad you have been down to see her and it was good of you to make the long journey for such a short visit. I shall be anxious to hear what you really think about it all – I suppose Grace and Vincent2 are married by this time. I dont approve of war weddings least of all this one but I musnt be selfish, I suppose I can keep a discreet silence. I only hope they will be very happy but there must be a certain sadness hovering over the start of their new life which they wont easily forget. Lets hope it will all turn out for the best. I hope you are keeping fit old thing and that your babies havent been too troublesome during the hot weather – you ought to have a long holiday and I do hope you get it & that youll have a good time dear and a long rest wherever you go and that the sun may shine for you! Please dont be anxious about me – I am making a good recovery & I am ever so well cared for and am given everything I want. I should probably be at Wellington a month or so and then go back to the old Regiment for a month and then I hope to be quite fit for service again. With best love old girl

from Stan

1Large military establishment; the Camberley of the Indian Army, south east of Ootacamund, Madras Province.

2Grace Goodland (1891-1982). 3rd sister to Stanley, married Vincent Watkins, January 31st 1915.

Next letter August 20th 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/ or Amazon