Its been a delightful voyage – but what awaits?

S.S.Bankura,1 at sea
Nov. 30th 1915

My dear old Elsie

Just a few lines to send you Xmas and New Year greetings. This has been a really delightful voyage and but for the thought of the things at the end of it, it has been quite a pleasant trip. Strange to say it is the same ship I came out in last May but the conditions are so different that I sometimes wonder – Is this the same ship? Is this the same Arabian Sea?

We should probably reach Basra tomorrow and are eagerly awaiting news of our movements – the morning we left Bombay the papers issued a telegram announcing a big battle2 20 miles from Baghdad and that we had met with a severe resistance and that the battle was proceeding – we have of course had no news since and are therefore very anxious and wondering if we shall be in time to take part in the triumphant entry into the city!

This ship is full of men returning to the British and native Regiments and we also have a lot of horses on board for the cavalry. I’m glad for their sakes that it has been good weather but poor things they are in narrow stalls and not allowed to sit down.

Harold wired the last thing to say there was no news of poor Mother – however does she keep alive? I should be much happier in my own mind if I could go into service knowing that she was peacefully laid to rest – perhaps there will be a cable at Basra? I got a cable from home just before leaving Poona wishing me Good Luck – it was very kind of them. We are steaming up the Shatt al Arab now and it seems very familiar – but the country round is not under water now as the floods have gone – the Arabs are busy picking their dates and along the river banks thousands of turtles are playing about! Well heres cheerio old thing & my best love

from Stan

Postscript: I heard today that they wont send papers regularly right up to the front but keep them at Basra so please therefore dont send the Tatler as they may only be wasted

1 British India Steam Navigation Co. Ltd, reg. tonnage 1905, built 1912 at Whiteinch.

2 Ctesiphon.

Next letter Jan 7th 2016

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

Looking forward to the second chapter

Hotel Majestic, Wodehouse Road, Bombay
Nov. 24 1915

My dear old Elsie

These are just a few final lines — I have just arrived at Bombay once again and we embark at dawn tomorrow and are due to sail at 9.30am. I am going away feeling ever so fit and am looking forward to the second chapter of my great adventure. I shall always think of you and thank God for you and your friendship which means more to me than I can say. I will write when I can

Au revoir – a cheerio and much love

from Stan

 

Next letter Nov 30th 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

Wishing you au revoir

Club of Western India, Poona
Nov 20 1915

My dear old Elsie

I hate saying goodbye to anyone – much less to the few people that matter – so this is a letter to wish you au revoir and to send you greetings and my love.

I leave Poona on Tuesday 23rd and sail from Bombay on the 25th. but you will probably have heard this because I sent a cable home this evening.

I am very busy now and the last days will be crowded but I know better what things to take out this time and I am very well off for equipment and I have had my trusty revolver overhauled. I wrote home some time ago to a friend in the wholesale watch trade for a screw cased wrist-watch with a luminous dial and it came last mail and is a little beauty. if anything happens to me I should like you to have it if it is recovered with my belongings as it should be – You could arrange this with Harold as I should like to feel you have this remembrance of me – but I musn’t anticipate trouble must I – but I can’t help feeling there is a possibility for this time I know what I’m going out to. But I’m awfully fit and well now – old thing – and feel able to stand any amount of hard service and if only I can dodge the ‘Turkish Delight’ I’ll come back to you with a whole skin yet. You must not expect to hear from me very often but I’ll write a line when I can and I shall be thinking of you all the time. No news of poor Mother again this week.I have been expecting a cable daily and it is a great trouble to me. Well – heres cheerio & my best love

Stan

Next letter Nov 24th 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

So worried about Mother

Club of Western India, Poona
Nov. 12 1915

My dear old Elsie

Thank you so much for your last long letter and the most interesting papers. I have no further news about my sailing so I have to live in a state of packed-up-ness which is very uncomfortable but it is necessary to be prepared to move at a few hours notice – I am very busy these days – the Depot has increased to nearly 400 so there is always plenty to be done – but I’m glad I’ve got something to occupy my mind otherwise these last few days of waiting would be very trying. I am troubled about poor Mother now as I fear she must suffer a great deal – I am expecting any day now to get a wire from Harold telling me the news that the cable from home has come – all the last letters – yours and the Paters – indicate that the end can’t be far off now. It will be a very sad Xmas at home and very different to the dear old piping times of peace.

It is awfully good of you – old thing – to always want to be sending me things but you simply musn’t spend any more money on me – the papers must be ruinous. I think I’ve got all my kit now and we are really allowed to take only very very little in service. But an occasional cake of coal tar soap and a tube of Kolynos tooth paste would be the greatest luxuries but don’t send more than a couple of cakes and 1 tube as everything melts in that god-forsaken country. I’ll write again next mail. Heres my best love to you and cheerio

from Stan

Next letter Nov 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

Back to Mesopotamia

Club of Western India, Poona
Nov. 6 1915

My dear old Elsie

Since last mail I have had a wire from Simla ordering me to be ready to sail from Bombay with my draft on Nov. 24th. This may yet be altered but at any rate I thought I’d write as often as possible now for goodness knows what chance there will be on service. So – old thing – by the time this reaches you you can think of me once again on the briny and this time as there is no monsoon – it should be a very nice trip. I dare say it will take quite three weeks for me to reach the Regiment from Bombay for as you know they are several hundred miles up the Tigris – and the river trip from Basra is a very slow one. I reckon I shall reach my men – all being well by about Dec. 15th. just in time to settle down for Xmas. I must not tell you much about the campaign in case I get into trouble with the Censor – but things are expected to happen out there and it looks as if there will be some hard fighting – thousands and thousands of fresh troops are being sent there this month. I’m told by men who were out there last winter that the nights are bitterly cold but the days of course are always hot- unfortunately we are allowed very little kit indeed and always have to wear thin khaki drill but I’m going to smuggle out the woolen helmet you kindly gave me and also those bed stockings your mother sent me and which were such a comfort to me on Salisbury Plain. You know how I hate the cold – but I think it must be nothing compared to the awful heat of last June.

I am not quite strong even yet but I have a good fortnight to pick up – this week the men at the Depot persuaded me to play in a hockey match but I had to give up at half time – but I’m going to take my draft at dawn tomorrow for a 20 mile route march and I think I shall manage this all right – I am anxious to get my feet hard again but it is a nuisance to have to train all over again.

I have been so very interested in all the papers you have so kindly sent me out – at last some recognition is being given to the Persian Gulf campaign – all the latest accounts show that the fight at Kut el Amarah was a very big show and the Turks quite reckoned to hold up our Force there for six months – but it took just 3 days to get through. I was so glad you were able to get down to Taunton to see poor mother – surely the end must come soon for this suspense is really awful. Dorothy wrote this mail to say Mother had to stay in bed now as she was in so much pain and I’m afraid she will never get up again whatever can be done?

I must go to bed now for I have to be about at 4 am in the morning.
Heres my best love to you & cheerio

from Stan

 

Next letter Nov 12th 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