We live in strenuous times..

l4 Aug. 1917
no address

My dear old Elsie
Many thanks dear girl for your last letter from Llandidno [sic] and also one which has come today from Leeds. Im so very glad you have had a good holiday and only hope you will return to Minch feeling like a giantess. This is only a very short letter –  we live in strenuous times out here just now and Ive very little time for writing –  at present I am on special duty detached from the Regiment – we have half the Regiment here and Im adjutant & quartermaster. In a few days we move up further and right into the front trenches –  If you dont here regularly from me dear girl dont worry about me I will write when I can I shall always be thinking of you and if anything happens to me I shall feel right to the end that you thought well of me and that will make me happy. Goodbye dear girl best love

from Stan

Next letter August 31st 2017
These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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…we can bathe in the jolly old Jordan…

June 16 1917
no address but Regimental Badge not excised

My dear old Elsie
Many thanks dear old girl for your last letter (May 23rd) – your letters are the only ones Ive had since leaving India so you can guess how much they are appreciated – I cant think why the Paters letters arent reaching me unless he is still expecting me home. Well dear girl we move tomorrow further up so we are all bustle and excitement again – the move has come rather sooner than we anticipated – so this is the last letter I shall write from this desert of sand. Tomorrow will bring us actually into the Land of Milk and Honey – we shall leave the sands behind us and I hope find green fields & trees. Im afraid we shall be too near old man Turk to bathe very often and we shall miss this luxury ever so much – we shall have to go dirty thats all for fresh water will be much too precious to wash in very much. We shall have to wait until we can bathe in the jolly old Jordan with a cake of Coal Tar I will send you a line when ever I can and I hope wont worry about me. I am ever so fit now with absolutely no fever and Im so happy to be on service with my own old Regiment. I shall always be thinking of you & looking forward to Peace and the re-union in the dear old country with my best love

from Stan

Next letter June 26th 2017

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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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..from ‘somewhere in Palestine’…

June 9 1917
no address.

My dear old Elsie
Heres a few lines of greeting from ‘somewhere in Palestine’ for we left our camp in Cairo a week ago and are now at an advanced base. It was an uneventful journey but of course very interesting and I think the building of 200 or so miles of railroad1 right across the sandy desert with no fresh water is an achievement with which the nation may well be proud –  At present we are living among a sea of sand-hills –  fine almost white sand – there are no roads and one simply flounders about and of course its very hard going especially for the poor transport animals – it is fortunately much cooler than India but the sand glare is very trying and Ive  always got to wear my dark spectacles and the men are issued with these too. We have one great compensation for our petty discomforts and it is that we are only a few hundred miles [?yards] from the sea – and most days we are able to bathe in the clearest – bluest –  warmest sea imaginable Nothing very exciting has happened yet except that we get a good deal of attention from enemy aircraft who drop those loathsome bombs but our guns generally chase them away successfully –  All day & night long we hear the artillery duels and at night the sky is illuminated by the star shells and flares The men are all very happy and excited about it all – poor devils – they are such boys most of them – and it rather depresses me when I think what is before them – its a great mercy they don’t know as much as I do about the cruel heartless side of war

EW-camels

There is no news of our immediate future but I fancy we shall be here for some little time but of course its always impossible to foretell –  only a few miles further ahead we come into the Holy Land and there we are told are green fields & trees – orange groves and fresh water in abundance –  we long for the time we can push on to these luxuries
I am enclosing dear girl one or two snap shots that Banes Walker took when we were at the Sphinx & Pyramids I am on the black camel in case you can’t recognise me.
I hope you are fit & well and having real summer weather
Best love dear old pal
from Stan

 

1 ‘The main single track railway from Qantara had reached Deir al Belah at the date of Sir Edmund Allenby’s arrival. It just sufficed, independently of sea transport, to maintain the force before Gaza. As soon as he received instructions to double this line the work was put in hand by Brig. Gen. Sir G Macauley, Director of Railway Transport, and it advanced very quickly. By the end of August, 8 miles from Qantara had been doubled, while bank work and the laying out of sleepers and rails had been completed for approximately another 10 miles. By the end of September the double line was in use beyond Qatiya, a distance of over 30 miles as the track lay. At the end of October, on the eve of the offensive, it was in use up to Bir el Mazar, a distance of 70 miles, a mile a day thus having been laid during the last two months.’ (Cyril Fails, Military Operations Egypt & Palestine from June 1917 to the end of the War. HMSO 1930, part I p.20).

Next letter June 16th 2017

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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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We are still hoping and betting on ‘Blighty’

1/5 Somerset L.I., Poona
April 12 1917

My dear old Elsie

Ever so many thanks dear for your last letter (Mar 7) and also for a lovely box of ‘comforts’ which reached me quite safely. I’ve been suffering the last few days from the effects of inoculation for enteric fever and have had a horrid time – but I’ve enjoyed soup made out of the tablets you sent me and for a couple of days or so could eat nothing else  – many thanks again dear old girl –  and also for all the other useful and welcome things.

Even yet no news of our going has come in – we are still hoping and betting on ‘Blighty’ and are almost sure to be off in a few days time. I think I must have missed at least two of your letters lately and the post has been very uncertain – I gather you are settled into your new house and I hope the weather is better for you at last – We spent a very funny Easter – busy the whole time with our plans for embarking and no hot-cross buns of course! The war news at last seems almost too good to be true and America has really joined in at last – I sometimes wonder if the whole thing won’t be over before we get to France! I know you’ll be glad to hear I’ve got my Captaincy in this Regiment at last – I may finish up a Major yet eh. I hope you are very fit dear and I’m ever so glad you are still so happy at Minch. Best love dear girl
from Stan

Next letter May 4th 2017

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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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We are living in a sandstorm

1/5 Somerset L.I., North West Frontier
March 15 1917

My dear Old Elsie

I was very disappointed not to get a letter from you last mail but everything in the way of mail boats is so very uncertain now and I suppose we ought to be thankful things are no worse! The past few days we have lived in a sand storm – it is the first sign that the hot weather is at hand but it is very uncomfortable – we have lived in sand and dust and goodness knows how we have managed to keep so well – we haven’t seen the sky for days! Our future is all we care and worry about now – we are all so desperately keen on getting home to dear old England that I’m afraid we sometimes overlook the tokens of service on other fronts and I must say I am almost inclined to think that Egypt is to be our destination!

It’s too bad of them to keep the secret so long but I suppose it’s very necessary – India is full of spies and German Agents – we are leaving here for Bombay on the 26th – it will be a long and trying journey and very hot down south.

Isn’t it glorious news from Mespot1 at last. I only hope we shall not be trapped again but I think our Generals out there have learnt their lesson from Sir J Nixons blunder in 1915. I’ll write again before leaving India & if possible I’ll cable home  so you will here (sic) where I am bound for. Cheero! dear old pal – best love

from Stan

1 Kut was recaptured on February 24th 1917, and Baghdad taken on March 11th.

Next letter March 22nd 2017

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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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We are on trek out in the blue

N.W. Frontier, India
Mar 7 1917

My dear old Elsie
Just a hurried line to tell you I am all right – we are now on trek right out in the blue and nothing very exciting has happened yet – we have had a little trouble with some of the Pathan tribes and they’ve stolen our things and cut our telephone wires – otherwise it is very peaceful

Our latest orders are that we sail from Bombay on March 27th but we don’t know our destination yet except that everything points to it being Europe

By the way your parcel has been sent off at last – it will be very late for your birthday and Im very sorry but it couldnt be helped. Our Adjutant and Quartermaster are so busy with detail for our embarkation that they have remained in camp at Pir Gumat Shah and as I am doing both duties on trek I am a busy man these days. The news from Mespot is most cheering & Im following it all with the greatest interest – but Im afraid our casualties are very heavy. I hope the weather at home is better now and that you are now comfortably settled in your new house – you seem to have had a very severe winter
Best love dear girl & cheero!

from Stan

Next letter March 15th 2017

These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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We’ve got our orders at last

1/5 Somerset L.1., Pir Gumat Shah
Mar 1 1917

My dear old Elsie
We’ve got our orders at last and are to embark on March 30th. We do not know our destination yet and it is quite likely we shall sail under sealed orders – Of course we are wildly speculating – some favour Salonika -some Egypt & Palestine – – but most favour home & France via the Cape.

Naturally every man is frightfully excited and now we are all busy with the necessary preparations – Tomorrow we go off for our trek and shall not return until March 17th but it is quite possible that this programme may be modified or as far as this Regiment is concerned cancelled altogether.

Since I last wrote I have been down to Rawalpindi to get stores and ammunition – I was away 5 days and enjoyed seeing a little civilization once again – Last mail brought two welcome letters & papers from you – many thanks dear old girl – I’m so glad you are better and I hope by this time you are settled comfortably in your new house. Perhaps it will be best to address me now c/o G.P.O. London – but please put the name of the Regiment clearly (1/5 Somerset Light Infantry).

I am hoping to see you once again before many weeks are over –  Cheero until then
best love from Stan

Next letter March 7th 2017

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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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No mail, very fed up

Feb 22 1917

My dear old Elsie
We’ve had no English mail for the last 3 weeks & consequently are very fed up – I suppose the submarines have been too busy or perhaps the mail boats are being sent round the Cape. We are all hoping 3 letters will come all together. I am wondering how you are now – in your last letter you told me that you were just recovering from a nasty touch of ‘flu – I do hope you are quite fit again & I shall be so anxious to know. We are still in camp and very little exciting happens – we’ve got a very energetic General who makes us do plenty of hard work but we don’t mind that because theres absolutely nothing else to do – On March 2nd the whole Division is going out on a reconnaissance over the Frontier and we are busy making all the preparations- we shall be away from this spot for 15 days about – it is very likely that we shall not be able to get any letters posted so you will know if you dont hear from me – there are of course no roads where we are going so we have to take camels to carry all our stores and kit. Nothing more has come to hand yet about our future but we think we shall get news before many days are over & everyone seems confident we are going to be sent away from India at the end of March or the beginning of April! Best love dear old girl

from Stan

Next letter March 1st 2017

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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

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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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Warmest thoughts for Xmas

Tughlakabad Camp, nr Dehli
Nov 24th, 1916

My dear old Elsie
I’ve just been told the Xmas mail goes out tonight so I thought I simply must write to you. Fancy Xmas being in sight again – it really seems only the other day I was eating my dinner of bully beef and biscuits in a dug out in Mespot – how time flies. Its awfully difficult to know what wishes to send ones pals at home but you will understand my feelings and I shall be thinking of you at any rate we can all most sincerely wish that this old war would soon fight itself out and I expect that is the wish which will predominate everything else. Peace and a safe and speedy homecoming for the fighting men. Your last letter came yesterday forwarded from Chakrata – Many thanks dear for your congrats on my ‘mention’ – It’s very nice to have got some little honour out of the war – sometimes I feel that they won’t give me any further award and I suppose I ought to be quite satisfied. but Lloyd George said about 3 weeks ago that the list of awards for Mespot would be published shortly and until this appears I shan’t altogether give up hope! We are having a gorgeous time – plenty of hard training and a whole lot of night work – Lord Radnor1 is our Brigadier and is a real good soldier.

There is very little further news about our move to the Frontier except that advance party has already gone off to make preparations for us – it looks as if we are really going but I daresay we shall hear more about it next week when the Viceroy2 and the new Commander in Chief3 come to see us. I’ve had a busy time as Adjutant but now Frank Calway is back and I’m with my company again it was very interesting marching down and the men simply loved Delhi – we entered through the Cashmere Gate and came out through the Lahore Gate – the museums in the Fort are full of the most thrilling relics of the great Mutiny – very near our camping ground are the ruins of one of the 7 old cities of Delhi – in fact the whole country is a mass of old mosques and ruins. I’ve had several letters from Harold lately – he has had a turn in hospital with a poisoned knee but seems better now – he simply loves his staff job and of course is wildly excited at the thought of having Alice out with him and it will be awfully nice for them both. I’m so glad you got your holiday at last and I hope you have returned to Minch feeling all the better for the change – I’m sorry to hear you keep so thin and you really must try to get fattened up for Xmas.

I hardly know how to write to the dear old Pater for Xmas – and I’m afraid it will be full of the saddest possible memories for him but he bears up wonderfully and seems to keep well.

Heres my best love and warmest thoughts & wishes for Xmas
From Stan

1 Jacob Pleydell-Bouverie, 6th Earl of Radnor, 1868- 1930. MP for Wilton Division of Wiltshire, 1892-1900 Lt-Col and Brevet Colonel, CO 4th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment. Served in South Africa 1900, India 1914-1917, Brig-General Dehra Dun Brigade 1915-1917 (Who was Who Vol III)
2 Viscount Chelmsford, Frederic John Napier Thesiger, 1st Viscount Chelmsford, GCSI GCMG GCIEGBE PC (1868 –1933) Viceroy of India from 1916 to 1921
3 Gen. CC Munro, in post 1916-1920.

Next letter Dec 2nd 2016

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