In the trenches – it is most depressing work

I.E.F. ‘D’
Mar 28 1916

My dear old Elsie

A few lines to tell you I am safe and sound and fairly well. I cant remember when I wrote last and there is really very little news to tell you for we are not allowed to say very much about the latest happenings in this country. I wonder what the home papers have told you. Thank goodness I came through the last fighting Mar 8 to 10 safely and since then we have been doing a spell in the trenches – it is a most depressing work and there is no rest for the poor adjutant. Now we are under canvas about 4000 yards behind the firing line and it is a real treat to get a shave and a wash and to take ones boots off. We are supposed to be resting but the whole force is busy preparing for the next great effort for Kut – it was a great disappointment to us that we did not get through on the 8th to 10th – it was a very near thing but it was necessary to get far away from the river and we were simply driven back from want of water and from fatigue. I am so sorry to say my mail has failed me again the last 3 weeks and I miss my letters ever so much but yesterday the parcel you so kindly sent of soap toothpaste tobacco and sweets arrived it came just at the right moment – thank you so much dear – you would have been amused to see me with a bucket of water and my piece of coal tar soap which is the envy of the officers mess – I feel cleaner now than I have for ages and for the time being I believe Ive got rid of most of the fleas and horrid things that have been biting me up lately. Im longing to get some home news again for I’m always wondering what is happening.

It may be some time again before I get a chance of writing but I hope you wont worry about me – if we could only get to Kut I think they would give the Brigade a long rest and possibly send us back to India – we have done more than our share and we are all tired out. My poor old leg gets inflamed and some days I am very lame but I dont want to give up until Kut is relieved – every one of us is wanted for that job. No news yet of the Military Cross but Ive great hopes for a few days ago the boys at Basra Headquarters wired up for my full Christian names – youll also be pleased to hear that the General has recommended me for temporary promotion to Captain so Im hoping in a little while to have 3 stars – it will mean a good deal extra pay and altogether will be very nice – not a word of all this until things are settled! Well cheerio dear old thing – theres a good time coming – or at least I keep on hoping so.

Best love

from Stan

 

Next letter Jun 10th 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

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I am all right except for two frost bitten toes

I.E.F ‘D’
Mar 5 1916

Dear old Elsie

Just a line to tell you I am all right except for two frost bitten toes. My wound is not troubling me a bit but I think I shall always be a little lame.

Your last letter was dated Jan 4th. and I have had no parcels at all so some day if only we can get to Kut and things smooth themselves out a little I shall have a big mail bag all to myself. I may not be able to write again for some time as we are just finishing preparations for another big advance1 – I only hope we shall be successful and that before this reaches you the news of the relief of Kut will be wired across the Empire. Everyone is keen and very anxious and I hope the luck that has been mine all through this fighting will stay with me. I cant remember dates now my mind is so busy with other things and so I’m so sorry I cant send you a birthday letter but I fancy the day wont be far off2 when this arrives so heres my most affectionate birthday wishes & greetings. We have lived through very exciting times lately – every day the guns are busy and there has been a lot of night work – sapping and bombing -, Its all very wearing and one needs cast iron nerves I can assure you.

lve had no home news since Dec 30th. but I fancy the Pater and the girls are carrying on most nobly and bravely – I look forward when these new battles are over and our object is accomplished to a good long rest – I feel Ive earned it! I long to get away somewhere quiet for a time – well – so long -old girl

Best love & every good wish

from Stan

1 The attack on the Dujailah Redoubt March 8th – 10th.
2 Elsie’s birthday was February 12th. This letter was a bit late!

 

Next letter Mar 28th 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