My great consolation is that while I am ill I get £3 per week

The Station Hospital, Wellington, Madras
16 Sept 1915

My dear old Elsie

The weeks go by and here I am still in hospital. I was hoping very much to get out this week but now they have put off the Medical Board until Monday 20th. If the Board passes me as fit and recommends me for a months sick leave the report will go to Headquarters in Simla and take a day or two to get officially passed so Im afraid it looks as if I shall spend my birthday1 in hospital after all. I am very tired of hospital regulations and the isolation especially as I feel quite well now. Fortunately another enteric officer has arrived and we are able to pass our evenings playing poker patience and picquet.

My great consolation is that while I am ill I get £3 per week from my Insurance people at home and hope to get £50 out of them which will be very useful for my sadly depleted exchequer – Ive paid in to the Society for years and never got much out of them but of course I shall be amply repaid now. Many thanks old thing for your last letters written from Borth Im so glad you had such a good time there and hope you feel all the better for your holiday. Yesterday a very delapidated parcel arrived with the baccy cigarettes metal glass and

Advertisement from The Tatler, sent regularly by Elsie.
Advertisement from The Tatler, sent regularly by Elsie.

spoon etc. Everything quite safe and undamaged – my best thanks dear for all the things which are greatly appreciated – I am just able to enjoy a pipe now and the 3 Nuns2 is a great treat – the parcel took just 3 months getting to me. I hear from my men in the Gulf they have had another fight and have advanced 40 more miles up the Tigris to a place called Al-Gharbi – they are now only 270 miles from Baghdad. I think they will have a big battle soon at Kut-al-Amarah where the Turks are at present digging themselves in. The Somersets are still at Dagshai and are always expecting to get their orders to pack up and be off – I fancy tho that at present they wont be spared out of India –  only this week there has been a big show on the N.W.Frontier above Peshawar3 in which nearly all the 8 Regiments of Regulars who are left out here were engaged and at any time it is thought that the whole Frontier may be ablaze with war. I suppose little is given in the English papers of these doings – the principal enemy is a tribe of Mohmands about 10,000 strong – the tribe is chiefly composed of Pathans who are devils to fight and who are well armed – all the world seems mad and thirsting for blood – in far Tibet there is fighting between the Chinese and Tibetans and there is talk of rebellion in China4 against the Manchurian Dynasty – Ive been reading a little volume of Robert Browning and came across the well known quotation “Gods in his Heaven – alls well with the world”. I sometimes wonder how the really religious people explain away the happenings of the past year – and surely the little faith one has is sorely shaken. The war goes on and we make no progress – it is very hard to be patient – my chief interest is in the Dardanelles – for a long time Ive thought that our chief advance would come from the Mediterranean – I think we shall probably first hold the enemy in the West and when we get Constantinople there will be an advance of millions of men from the south of Austria – I mean that Italy Servia and probably Roumania will join hands and we shall put a million or so men and surely nothing can stop us getting right up to Budapest and Vienna and if necessary into Germany – It’s a little consoling to work out these schemes and I hope it wont bore you.5

The news of poor Mother gets more and more distressing and Im always expecting to hear the end has come – it is really terrible and so sad that she is suffering so much. Im very glad Gretchen is down there now but every day I am expecting the fateful cable. It is really beautiful up here and Ive never in all my wanderings seen such lovely scenery – I was very lucky in being sent here. Well, goodbye old thing, ever so many thanks for all your kindness – letters papers and the parcel With best love

from Stan

1 September 22nd.

2 Brand of pipe tobacco, see copy of advertisement in ‘The Tatler.’ Picture

3 Peshawar: A grand Jirga or open air meeting of 3,000 tribal leaders and elders was called at Peshawar. They were informed by Col George Roos-Keppel that Delhi had decided to reward their loyally by increasing their subsidies. After that, while a further 25,000 tribesmen looked on, they were treated to a bombing display by aircraft of the Royal Flying Corps. (Peter Hopkir

k, op. cit. p.188.)

4 China: the revolt against the Manchu Dynasty had taken place in 1912 with the deposition of the last Emperor, the boy PuYi, by Sun Yat Sen.

5 This summarises the strategy of the ‘Easterners’ (including Churchill) who thought the ‘Westerners’ would never break the German hold on the Western front in France and Belgium.

Next letter Oct 6th 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

Worrying about his very ill mother

The Station Hospital, Wellington
Sept 2 19

My dear old Elsie

I was so delighted to get your two letters this week via Ambala – thanks so much. I am so sorry you have had a poor time in Bognor and hope you have had a very good time at Borth to make up for it all. Thanks so much old girl for the Sketch also safely received. I hope you soon got quite better & you mustnt bathe any more – what a pity Mrs. Brown got ill and I hope if you had to take the two kiddies1 home you reached Minchinhampton quite safely but it must have being a job!

Well old thing I am getting on splendidly and can walk quite a long way now- I had a long buck2 with the Major doctor this morning and he says I am quite fit and free from any infection but he says he must keep me here a month from the date of entrance and so that will take me to about Sept. 15th. He says I ought then to have a months sick leave and strongly advises me to spend it up here in this delightful country and I shall probably decide to do this – he says that after that I shall be well enough for anything and quite ready to go back to the Gulf if I am ordered there.

The news of poor Mother gets more & more distressing and now the pain has come I imagine the end will come soon – it is very very sad & I am always thinking of her and wondering when the terrible day will come – the poor old Pater seems to be bearing up wonderfully well through it all. In Harolds last letter he suggests we should arrange to meet before I leave Southern India and I hope shall be able to manage this in October – he would probably come over and meet me at Madras. This will be something to look forward to. I hope you have got my letters all right and I will often write to you now I am in India again. I wish could get the Dardanelles3 and then the Balkan States would make up their minds to join us -a big success there I am sure would influence the whole war. Well old thing heres my love to you and all best wishes

from Stan

1 Ronald & Barbara Brown.
2 Hindi for ‘talk’, ‘chatter’ (examples in Kim, Rudyard Kipling, first published 1901).
3  In February & March 1915 British and French Allied fleets tried to break through the Dardanelles with Constantinople (Istanbul) as the objective. The Straits were heavily guarded by mines & shore batteries. The attempt failed. On April 25th landings were made on the Gallipoli peninsula. After a bitterly fought campaign with heavy casualties, this attempt also was abandoned and the Anzac and British forces were evacuated in December 1915-January 1916.

Next letter Sept 16th 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