Best news is Harold is coming to stay…

Somerset L.I. Chakrata
Sept. 28 1916

My dear old Elsie
I wonder where you will be when this reaches you? On holiday I hope for I’m sure you have earned a good rest – I imagined you were away last August but suppose that fell through. Many thanks dear for your last letter & Tatler (Aug 29th) – I can’t think why you haven’t heard from me for I’m sure I wrote you several times from Mussoorie – some of my letters from home have been lost lately too! The best news I’ve got this mail is that Harold is coming up here to stay with me in about 10 days time – I am looking forward so much to seeing him again – he’s got a fortnights leave and is going to have a look round Agra & Delhi on his way up. It is very quiet here but so beautiful that one is never dull – I am writing in my bungalow  verandah  now and I’ve got a magnificent view of the mountains & snows – I’m sure Harold will enjoy it & we’ll go off for long walks. The Colonel & his wife have gone down to Meerut now and I’m keeping her dog for her – it is a beautiful setter – reddy brown colour and he is such a companion. When you get this we shall probably be on our long march down to the Plains – I shall enjoy this I’m sure – I hear there’s going to be a push in Mespot early in November and I do hope they’ll send a large enough force to get to Baghdad this time – My old pal Thomas Moore is getting married next week – his fiancee is coming out from Cheltenham & he’s marrying her at Bombay – Here’s my best love & a cheero

from Stan

Next letter Oct 5th 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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It’s my birthday today, am I 33 or 34?

1/5 Somerset Li. Chakrata, Upper India
Sept. 22nd 1916

My dear old Elsie
It’s my birthday today and I can’t remember if I’m 33 or 34!1 Frank Calway kindly says I’m 34 but it doesn’t matter much does it – I feel younger than when I left England and if only I could get my ‘innards’ right I should be as fit as ever.

My poor old leg hurts like anything on wet days but I’m not a bit lame now and can run about at tennis and do long route marches without any trouble – Many thanks dear old girl for your last letter (Aug. 22nd) with birthday wishes – I wonder if by this time next year this horrid war will be over but I suppose that is too much to hope for – I’m trying to get reconciled to the feeling that it will be 1918 before I see you and dear old England again! I’m looking forward to meeting Harold about Oct 2nd – he is coming to Meerut on his way to Calcutta and Burma and I’ve got five days leave to go down to him and then have to return here – it will be so nice to see him again and we shall have simply heaps to talk about. It is difficult to get photos done in this country but in a week or so I really hope to send you a few snapshots. I almost despair of ever getting that M.C. they are so long in publishing despatches aren’t they but I haven’t quite given up hope yet! I saw one of the Mundens was killed – I think it must be Dr. Mundens  younger brother2 – Aren’t the casualty lists heartbreaking now? Cheerio and my best love
from Stan

Postscript:
Many thanks dear for the ‘Eve’ book – it is lovely & I’m always looking at it – the other fellows in the Mess love it too – Stan.

1 He was born in 1883, therefore was 33 on September 22nd 1916.
2 This name has not been traced.

Next letter Sep 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

I got your sad little letter

1/5 Somerset L.I., Chakrata
Sept 14th 1916

My dear old Elsie
I got your sad little letter1 of August 14th last mail but the Tatler hasn’t come yet so I have not been able to read ‘Silent friends.’2 Anyway I am so sorry dear old girl to have made you feel so miserable – I thought I’d been writing to you almost every mail since I came out of hospital and can’t help feeling some of my letters have gone astray. I was always a little uncertain in my writing wasn’t I? but for goodness sake don’t think I’ve altered in the slightest for I’m always  thinking of you and thanking you for all your letters & papers & parcels and so long as I live I shall feel ever so grateful to you – I thought I’d just send your letter back but perhaps you were feeling a little seedy and depressed when you wrote it so I’ll tear it up and forget all about it for it made me very unhappy to feel I’d disappointed you and made you miserable.

I’m writing in pencil for Frank Calway and I are changing houses to day and are all packed up – I hear we are likely to stay at Chakrata until almost the end of October now and we are going to live together in a topping little bungalow with a view of the mountains & snows which is simply magnificent – I feel I shall never be able to properly describe all the things I’ve seen since I last saw you! I have been working hard at the language lately with a native teacher and am just able to speak it now – I thought it would be useful if I was ever offered a staff job and in any case it’s nice to know something of what is said by the natives around me. Last night I dreamt the war suddenly ended and that we were all together again at Elm Grove for next Xmas – I wish I could really think so. Anyway when peace does come and I come home do try to be down at Taunton to meet me – promise? – After all the monsoon rains the hills are gorgeous now – they are covered with wild dahlias – orchids and convolvulus of every colour. Best love – dear girl – and keep smiling

from Stan

1 This is the only hint of the strain which a long and anxious separation imposed on those engaged in war.
2 Feature in The Tatter.

Next letter Sep 22nd 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

Rejoining the jolly old Somersets…

1/5 Somerset L.I., Chakrata, U.P. India
Sept. 7 1916

My dear old Elsie

Just a few lines this mail to tell you I have been ordered to rejoin the jolly old Somersets at Chakrata – we stay here until Oct 9th when we set out on the 100 mile march to the railway and travel down to Meerut – On about Nov 15th we go out into camp for the annual manoeuvres for a month and this will take us on til nearly Xmas unless anything unforeseen happens. I am quite sorry to sever connection with the Buffs for I’d made a lot of friendships in that Regiment and having gone through so much with them I was naturally very attached to ‘em- however many things may happen during the next few months which seem to me to be the most exciting and momentous ones in our dear old country. Many thanks dear girl for your last letters and the Eve book1 which I’m never tired of looking at and which gives me such pleasure. I’m gradually getting better and I’m sure I look awfully well and it really is nice to be back amongst the men I know so well – we are asked to send a draft to the Gulf of 100 men and these go off in 3 days time2 – the Colonel has given me the job of getting them  ready and of course I’m liking it very much and shall be longing to go off with them when the time comes. So long – dear old girl – I hope you have had a real good holiday

With best love & cheerio from Stan

1 May be a collected ‘Letters of Eve’ from The Tatter.
2 This draft left Meerut on October 20th and reinforced the 1/4 Somersets in Mesopotamia.

Next letter Sep 14th 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