Enjoying a thoroughly lazy time…

Somerset LI. Chakrata, India
Aug 30 1916

My dear old Elsie
Just a short letter this mail to tell you I am still enjoying a thoroughly lazy time with the old Regiment at Chakrata – my leave was over on the 20th so already I have had ten extra days holiday and Simla seems in no hurry to send me my posting orders – it is really a very good thing for it gives me a chance of getting stronger for my poor old ‘tummy’ is still far from well – I am staying with Frank Calway and he has taken a day or two off and we’ve been long tramps in the hills – we’ve had a good deal of monsoon rain but it is really beautiful and very wild and romantic – the day before yesterday we had quite a big earthquake – I was writing at my table at the time and it was an extraordinary sensation – the table began to rock and sway about and for a moment I thought I was ill but soon realized when trees and bungalows began to collapse that it was the old earth having a quake! Fortunately no one was hurt much! Since I last wrote to you another of your lovely parcels has turned up with all sorts of good things in it -Bivouac Cocoa – tobacco chocolate & sweets – Many thanks dear old girl – I think it is simply splendid of you – Last night at Mess we were all very excited for a wire came saying Roumania had jomed1 in with the Allies – that’s the best news we’ve had for ages and I wonder if after all my dream will be realized and that all the armies in and around the Balkans will soon sweep up through the plains of Austria Hungary -one thing is pretty certain – Turkey must quickly be cut off from Europe and go down on her knees suing for peace! I wonder – in the meantime it must be simply Hell in France! So long dear girl – keep well – with best love

from Stan

1 Roumania declared war on Germany and Austria -Hungary in 1916, was defeated and Bucharest occupied December 6th 1916.

Next letter Sep 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

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Back with the old regiment at Chakrata

postmarked 10 Aug. Charleville
[This is a post card of the Savoy Hotel, Mussoorie, but with no message. It appears to have been the label for the parcel referred to in the previous letter 16/9]

Chakrata, India
Aug 24 1916

My dear old Elsie
You will see by my address that I am with the old Regiment again at Chakrata EW 11-16– the Medical Board at Mussoorie passed me fit for active service last Saturday and now I am waiting my orders from Simla – these may come at any moment. As a matter of fact my leave was over on the 20th. so I am, having a few extra days holiday. My own Colonel here is doing every thing he can to keep me and he says that if I am ordered to Mespot again he will tell the authorities that I’m not fit to go and demand another Board – but I don’t think he can do this – I feel very well – dear- and can do quite a lot of walking and heavy exercise but my poor inside is still all wrong – I told the Board this but I look so fit that they were almost bound to pass me and I’ve got back all my lost weight too. I shall be glad when it’s all  settled and if I am ordered back to that godforsaken country of course I’ ll go very cheerfully. I’m so glad I stayed on at Mussoorie for it is deadly dull here in this very small station – all my pals are busy through the day and I’m left all on my lonesome – I felt I was entitled to a real good time and towards the end of my visit I got to know a very jolly crowd of people and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I’ve got awfully keen on dancing again – old girl – fancy at my time of life too – I learnt all the Boston steps and the one step1 steps and when this old war is over we will take the floor together won’t we? The last night I was there we gave a grand concert at the Hotel and got nearly £50 for Mespot – I will enclose a programme EW 11a-16– it was a great success and it was a splendid audience – the little play I had done in England several times with Mrs. Sheen so we soon worked it up and Mrs. Jesse who acted with me hand painted all the programmes and we got 2/6 each for them. In the troupe I was dressed as a ‘Jack Tar’ and looked very funny too. It was a glorious motor ride on my way back from Mussoorie – 60 miles of Himalayan country – the heavy monsoon rains had simply mined the roads in several places and little streams we had to cross were big rivers then and three times we had to be pulled out by gangs of coolies – I wished I’d got my camera! The home news keeps good and I suppose Do and Gretchen3 are at Elm Grove at present – I have thought of you on holiday and hope you have had a good time and real rest – I must write to the Pater now so goodbye – with best love

from Stan

1 Dance steps fashionable at the time.
2 The programme survived see photograph
3 Stanley’s sisters – Do – Dorothy Goodland (1886-1928), eldest of the Goodland sisters, married Herbert (Bert) How in 1909. Gretchen, Greta Goodland (1889-1968), married Elsie’s brother, Leslie in 1914.

Next letter Aug 30th 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

Your letters come regularly now

Charleville Hotel, Mussoorie
Aug 11th 1916

My dear old Elsie
I forgot to tell you last mail that in that box I have sent you I have put in a few wooden toys that the natives make and paint and also a little round hat which the rich Indian children wear – I thought these would please your little family. I am still at Mussoorie because I have been ordered to have my Board here tomorrow  the 12th – instead of at Chakrata – besides I am under the medical people here and am having medicine and special diet which is a great nuisance – they ought to give me some more leave but I suppose they won’t for I look so sunburnt and fit. I shall send a cable home when I get my orders so you will probably hear of my destination.

I am thinking of you on holiday now and hope you are getting good weather and a real rest but expect Ronald will be taking up a lot of your time. Your letters come regularly now thank goodness & the Tatlers too – also the old ones keep dribbling in – some written last year – I think I should get most of my mail in time – 3 parcels have reached me so there’s 2 more somewhere to look forward to – tis so good of you old thing – the letter of Mar 12th which you mention hasn’t come yet! I hope to send you some snaps soon – Mrs.Body1 is keen on her camera and has taken several when we have been out picnicing – we had a grand time yesterday climbing another mountain – in the woods coming home we met a whole school of monkeys – they are a big kind with grey blue hair – apes I suppose they were and it was most amusing to see them playing about in their natural haunts! The war in the West is hell now2 and the casualties heart-breaking but I believe we are steadily doing well and when we get the enemy’s third line we shall surely get on faster – one has to be so very patient! The Mesopotamian enquiry sickens me – so many lies are told and so much hushed up – I wish I could write a letter to the Times about it all! The despatches for January still linger in the printers hands I suppose – I sometimes think the awards will never go through – well so long dear old girl – don’t worry about me for I’m all right and I’ll turn up smiling in dear old Blighty3 some day
Best love
from Stan

1 Wife of Capt Body (Capt John Body, 1875-1945, JP, DL, DSO & bar, OBE Tonbridge School Register ed. HD Furley, Rivington 1951, p.185.).
2 Battle of the Somme, July 1st – Nov 18th.
3 Army word meaning England, Home. Corruption of Hindi from the Arabic ‘bilayati’ meaning  ‘European, foreign.’

Next letter Aug 24th 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

This horrid old war…

Charleville Hotel, Mussoorie, C/o Cox & Co, Bombay
Aug. 4th 1916

My dear old Elsie
I have just returned from the Intercession Service1 at the Church – it has all been very impressive and the singing was led by the splendid band of the 7th. Hussars.

I suppose there are similar services today all over dear old England – it is hard to realize that this horrid old war has been raging for two whole years and at present I see no prospect of peace for many months to come. I must say it all makes me feel very sad and very homesick but I suppose it’s ones duty to keep smiling & present a bold front to the world, weve simply got to win this war and we shall need even yet all the smiles and bravery of Englishmen – and Englishwomen too – to accomplish it. I hate writing about the war but its hard to forget it and at the back of my mind always there is Mesopotamia and all we went through in those months of struggle to relieve Kut but I’ll try to write you of other things. Many thanks dear old thing for all your letters and Tatlers etc. – I am hearing from you regularly again now and besides I am getting a good many through from the Gulf – last week I actually got a letter and Tatler dated Nov. 24th. last year, these had obviously been in the Kut mail bags. I hope you have received the letters lve written you since I came back to India but Im afraid Im an uncertain letter writer – I always was wasn’t I? But I love your letters and they mean such a lot to me – sometimes I think I dont deserve all the love and thought you give me.

Today I have sent you by registered post a little lot of twelve skins – they are the skins of the Himalayan snow fox2 – I want you to have them made up when you feel inclined into a muff and stole thing but you must please let me pay for doing them up – probably you would find someone in Cheltenham to do this. These skins are scarce now so I hope youll like ‘em and I shall look forward to seeing you wearing them (not next winter I fear). You will be glad to hear I am ever so much stronger than when I last wrote and Im looking ever so fat and fit now my wound doesn’t trouble me at all but my inside is still quite hopeless – the doctor here says I must expect this for some time – the funny part about it is that this trouble doesn’t make me feel ill at all now and of course I am bound to be passed fit for service when I come up for my final Board in about 10 days time. I am still at Mussoorie but must leave for Chakrata in 3 days time – Capt Body left about 10 days ago and is I expect already at Basra but he left his wife here and a week ago Capt. Major & Lieut. Moore3 of the Somersets turned up from Meerut and persuaded me to stay on with them for a bit. I hope to see Harold if I go off to Mespot again from Bombay – my address will be
Capt E.S.Goodland
1/5 Buffs
Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force
c/o India Office, London

it is better to drop the Somerset LI. as it is confusing and we are no longer I.E.F.’D’ but M.E.F. I imagine you are on holiday now and hope you will have ever such a nice time and good weather- you deserve a long rest & change I am sure. This is a very jolly place and there is always plenty to do and everyone seems in the right holiday mood – I will tell you what lve been doing in my next – the mail goes out almost immediately and I dont want to miss it. Many thanks again dear for all your letters and papers – with best love and good wishes for your holiday
from Stan

1 On the second anniversary of the outbreak of the war.
4 Elsie never had these furs made up, but they survived until 2011 as collar and cuffs on her daughter’s coat.
3 Capt Major sailed for India with the Regiment in 1914. He died in the battle for El Jib in Palestine. The two Moore brothers (Thomas & RB) were also in the Regiment from 1914. They both survived the war (BaR pp.xill, 13, 73). They were brothers of Mary, wife of Capt later Lt-Col FD Urwick.

Next letter Aug 11th 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