We start our long journey on Sunday

Rawal Pindi Club, Rawal Pindi
March 22nd

My dear old Elsie
No English mail has come again and I’m very disappointed – it’s absolutely rotten to get no letters! I am at Rawal Pindi again to day on duty – and return to our old camp late tonight. I wonder if you have received my recent letters telling you we are under orders to leave India? We start our long train journey on Sunday and we go first of all right down to Poona which is nearly two thousand miles – we rest at Poona and when our transport is quite ready we shall be near Bombay and can go right on to the docks.
It’s a long and tiring journey and we are going in two trains and even now we don’t know in the least our destination and it’s quite likely they won’t tell us until we are well out to sea.
The ladies of our Regiment are being sent home by the India Govnt. and left Bombay yesterday – they will have a long trip round the Cape.
Isn’t this war news splendidl – at this rate the Germans will soon be out of Belgium & France.
I shall send a cable home when I know something definite so you will probably hear about me. This will I expect be the last letter I shall be able to send you for sometime. The parcel you mention you have so kindly sent me hasn’t turned up yet but I hope to get it before leaving – many thanks dear old girl. With best love – hoping to hear from you soon & that you are all right – cheero
from Stan

1 German strategic withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line, March 1917.

Next letter April 2nd 2017

These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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Glad to hear you are recovering…

[Letter addressed to ‘Highcroft’1]
1/5 Somerset L.I., Pir Gumat Shah, India N.W.
Feb 8 1917

My dear old Elsie
Very many thanks dear for your last letter dated Jan 9th and I am so glad you are getting over your ‘flue’ and are beginning to feel stronger – you must have had a very nasty illness and I hope you are getting a little Spring weather now & sunshine to help you get quite well. By this time I expect you will have moved into ‘Highcroft’ and I hope you are very comfortably settled – it is such a business to change houses as a rule. I havent much news this mail – we have had no orders yet regarding our future except that we break up this camp on March 17th and go somewhere. They will probably only give us a few days notice – we may go into blockhouses for the hot weather – or go to some Himalayan Hill station or there is the great chance still of going home. Im still Quartermaster of the Regiment and shall be glad to hand over in a few days – its a worrying job and I hate so much office work – Id much rather be out amongst my men.

Ive had several letters from Alice who seems much impressed by Burma and she is of course delightfully happy. Harold is lucky to be stationed in such a nice place as Maymyo & to have such a good job. We get papers 3 days late here and are at present wondering & wondering if America really intends to declare war on Germany.2
Best love dear old girl – and do keep well now

from Stan

1 The Brown family had moved to another house in Minchinhampton.
2 The USA declared war on Germany on April 6th 1917.

Next letter February 15th 2017

These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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Sorry to hear you have flu…

Pir Gumat Shah, Attock District, North West Frontier, India
Feb 1st 1917

My dear old Elsie
I was so very sorry to hear in your last letter that you were in bed with ‘flu and feeling so dreadfully seedy – I do hope you have got over it long ago and that you are your cheery self again.

Its a beastly thing to get but the weather at home seems to have been very severe and I dont wonder at people feeling ill. Do take care of yourself – goodness knows how your little family gets on when you arnt well. Mrs. Brown started the letter quite well – why didnt you let her carry on a little more! Anyway I hope to come to see them all one day in the dim future – and this reminds me of some news which I hope will pass the Censor all right – weve heard on very high authority that many British Regiments are going to be sent to Europe in April – ourselves included. They are sending a whole lot of Garrison Battalions into this country now to take our place and everything seems to point to our going somewhere – Especially as the Frontier seems so quiet just now. We may go to Egypt and then Salonika1 or to England to refit for France – the latter I hope and trust. It seems quite certain that every white man possible will be wanted for the great push this coming summer. And so dear girl, you may see me sooner than ever you expected but you musnt count too much upon it for all orders change about a good deal.

Another thing I must tell you is that the Colonel has been asked by the War Office if he has any officers he can recommend for commissions as Captains in the Regular Army – the Colonel has very nicely selected me as the only one suitable in the Regt and of course I feel very flattered. Of course I dont want to leave the old Battalion again and the CO doesnt want to lose me but he says he feels that it his duty to put up my name if I am willing. I should probably have to stay in the Army a few months after peace is declared and perhaps this would suit me quite well for it will take the country some little time to settle down and for business to find its footing again. Anyhow the Colonel has given me a little time to think things over. If I got into the Regular Army I should certainly be sent home even if the Somersets remained in India.2 Since I last wrote the Regiment has arrived and we are quite comfortably settled down – every one was very pleased with all our arrangements and really the men I had with me worked splendidly. Im still Quartermaster and have plenty to do all day long – its been bitterly cold and theres lots more snow on the mountains which look simply glorious in the sunshine. Many thanks dear girl for the lovely mittens and tie – it was so nice of you and I wear the mittens every day and they are such a comfort to me – everyone in the mess is frightfully envious [jealous deleted] of them.

I am afraid that the Pater has had a very nasty turn and that Dr. Iles says a similar stroke may be fatal – of course he is getting a very old man now but I do hope he will live to see us home again and peace declared. I sometimes wonder if the Babe is equal to her most difficult task? Many thanks again dear for the mittens & tie and hopes that you are well again – with much love
from Stan

1 British and French forces were sent to Salonika in late 1915 to support Serbia, their ally, against Bulgaria which came in on the side of the Central Powers.
2 Stanley did not take up the offer.

Next letter February 8th 2017

These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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A busy time feeding 900 men

Camp Burhan, Nr.Attock, North West Frontier
Janry 25 1917

My dear old Elsie
Many thanks dear old girl for your letter of the Dec.19th which reached me only today-  goodness knows why it has taken so long in coming – I hope you have been getting my letters lately too – Im sorry I could not write much while in camp at Tughlakabad1 – but I think I sent you a line most mails since. We are getting on very well with our camp here and when the Regiment arrives in a few days time I think we should be practically ready to receive them and to make them comfortable – Our Quartermaster has to remain at Meerut to hand over and will not join us for two weeks or so – the Colonel writes to say I am to act as Quartermaster until he rejoins so I should have a busy time feeding over 900 hungry mouths & clothing them & making them comfortable! Ive had no chance of doing any exploring since I last wrote – it isnt safe to wander far without an escort and weve all been very busy. As a Major on the Staff said when we first arrived “theres damn all to do up here except soldiering” and Im sure hes quite right. There’s very little shooting even – the other evening I shot a hyena but there are no birds at all – sometimes a flock of geese come over but they fly so high and so fast that they defeat me altogether. They are equipping this Division regardless of expense and I fancy it must mean that when we have all been training together for some little time that we shall see service somewhere  – they are completing us in transport – field ambulances all the newest Maxim & Lewis Guns – bombs in fact every thing necessary for service – If we do go I hope it will be anywhere but Mespot.

Since I last wrote you I have passed the anniversary of my wound and my Military Cross – It seems only yesterday I was passing through those awful times and everyday I go through the different thrilling events in my mind. lve had several letters lately from old friends in the Buffs – they are still fighting and on Jan 11 and 12th lost a good many casualties  – they have had a very very hard time indeed and must be absolutely done up by this time.2

Its awfully lonely here and I shall be so glad when the Regiment comes – we are such a cheery Mess when we all get together – Banes Walker3 – Milsom4 and the two Moores are the only subalterns left of the old crowd who came out in the Kenilworth Castle and we are all the greatest of pals – all the others  – about 16 – have dwindled away – most of them have got jobs in the Indian Army with the intention of sticking to soldiering after the War.

Todays mail also brought a few lines from the Babe5 with quite a cheerful report of the dear old Pater –  he seems really wonderful and has quite rallied again. Before next mail I hope to get your promised parcel off – the post office is two miles away and I havent had a chance of going down yet.

Many thanks dear girl for the Tatler – I shall enjoy the two letters more than ever now we are so far away from civilization. The married men of the Regiment are of course frightfully sick because no ladies are allowed so far north as this – they are staying at Meerut for the present.

Well cheero dear old thing – heres my love to you & the best of good wishes

from Stan

1 The ruins of Tughlakabad. one of the seven cities of Delhi
2 The Buffs were involved in the campaign to recapture Kut.
3 Gerald Banes Walker of North Petherton, Bridgwater, Somerset. He, Harry Milsom and Stanley were close friends and colleagues. They are mentioned several times in subsequent letters.
4 Harry Milsom (1889-1970) MA Cantab. Ranching in British Columbia before the War. Assistant Secretary of the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, 1919-1930. Secretary, 1930-1939.
5 Florence Amy Goodland (1892-1977), known as ‘the Babe’, 4th and youngest sister to Stanley, married Karl Jones of Mumbles, South Wales, in 1920. On July 30th 1914 she left England to attend a course at the Dalcroze College of Dancing near Dresden. Caught in Germany by the outbreak of war she succeeded, on the second attempt, in crossing the Dutch frontier. A long account of her experiences was printed in the Somerset County Gazette, September 19th, shortly after her return.

Next letter February 1st 2017

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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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My Military Cross has been announced

1/5 Somerset LI., Meerut

Jan 4 1917

My dear old Elsie
You will see by my address that we are stilt at Meerut – all packed up –  -and waiting the order to go further north. I think perhaps I told you that I am to go ahead of the Regiment with an advance party of 100 men and as we shall probably get 10 days start I am expecting to move any day.
Of course now everything else in my mind is eclipsed by the announcement of my Military1 – the cable from the Pater (it hasn’t appeared in the Indian papers yet) arrived one evening just as we were going into Mess – everyone went mad with excitement and it was a very merry night I can tell you. Well – my dear old girl – thanks so much for keeping my secret – it’s been a long long time of waiting – practically a year and many times lately I’ve given up hope even of getting it. It’s made the events of that awful Janry 1916 come back very vividly to my mind and it really is a perfect miracle that I’m still alive and well. The Colonel is delighted and I’ve had congratulations on all sides – I’m glad to have been able to bring a little honour to the jolly old Regiment and it pleases me beyond anything to feel how delighted the old Pater must be. I only hope he is better now! Ever so many thanks dear girl for your Xmas letter & papers & parcel – the latter arrived actually on Xmas morning – it is so kind of you & I’m enjoying the cigarettes so much – the little dominoes are sweet & everything else simply topping.
Considering all things we had quite a good Xmas – 3 or 4 of our officers have their wives out here and they gave all sorts of gay parties. On Xmas morning I went to Church Parade and then back to see the men sit down to a tremendous spread –of turkeys geese ducks ham beef plum pudding etc etc – all very small and poor things that would make our English birds blush for same [shame] but it was all very jovial and nice – lots of singing – lots of toasts – lots of soldiers talk which I simply love. I’ve been thinking of you and all the people at home – thinking of poor Mother & it’s so difficult & almost impossible to quite realize that she isn’t at Elm Grove waiting for the end of the war and waiting til we come home. I expect you have had a busy time with the children and I hope you have had a happy time – I can’t tell you what’s going to happen to us on the frontier. In any case there won’t be any trouble until about March when the hillmen have no work to do and no crops to worry about – it’s at those times that they come down & make trouble.
We shall be under canvas or in blockhouses or dugouts & the cold for the next few weeks will be intense – After March it gets so hot that we shall have to be sent somewhere where we can get more shelter than canvas. I’ll let you know my movements but of course I’m not allowed to tell you very much.

Again many thanks dear old girl for your letters and gifts – with best wishes for the New Year and lots of love

from Stan

1 The London Gazette announced that Lieutenant, temporary Captain, Edward Stanley Goodland, (Somerset Light Infantry) had been awarded the Military Cross. Captain Goodland is the well known Somerset cricketer. He is the son of Mr EC Goodland and a member of the firm of Franklin, Hare & Goodland, jewellers, etc., of Taunton. He was wounded during the advance on Kut some months ago.’(Somerset County Gazette, December 30th 1916).

Next letter Jan 12th 2017

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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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Very busy and training strenuously…

Tughlakabad Camp, Delhi
Dec 2 1916

My dear old Elsie
Only a moment this mail to send you a line to thank you ever so much for your last letter written from Hale1 – you seem to have had a real busy holiday but I’m sure the change must have done you good. We are very busy and training strenuously – very often night and day – we are all very fit and must be hard as nails – I’m bound to say I like camp life much better than barracks. We go to the Frontier on Jan 15 – so that will give us about 2 weeks in Meerut to pack up and make other arrangements – best love dear old girl and a New Year kiss fromStan

1 Home of Elsie’s family, near Altrincham, Cheshire.

Next letter Dec 21st 2016

These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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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

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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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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

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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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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

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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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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
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