very strenuous campaigning in the mountainous country

April 7 1918
E.E.F.

My dear old Elsie
Your last letter of Mar 14 came today and I thought I would send you a few lines right away to tell you I am all right.
I hope little Ronald will soon be quite well again and am glad to hear you are getting fat or fatter I should say. I dont know how you do on the restricted rations. The Colonel is back again but we are so much ‘in the fighting’ now that Im afraid my chances of leave at present are very small but I still hope it will be O.K. We are gradually closing in on Shekhem1 and the dear old Regiment is doing splendidly and adding fresh laurels almost every day. Fortunately up to now our casualties are not heavy but we are up against Germans2 now and its very strenuous campaigning in the mountainous country. We hear all sorts of rumours of great doings in France3 and I only hope & pray our wonderful army can hold out and kill & keep on killing Huns until they are bound to give in! It is really awful this waste of the worlds manhood. We are all excitement today for we have a big thing4 on in few hours time – it means a lot of work for me but I dont care a bit so long as the old 1/5th do well and lye no fear of that. The Pater writes very cheerful letters thank goodness and I had a very welcome letter today too from little Gretchen who is bursting with pride over Christine. I do hope my letters are reaching you. I have written quite a lot lately.
Well best love dear girl and loving thoughts always
from Stan

1 now Nablus.
2 Liman von Sanders, German hero of the Turco/German defeat of the Allies at Gallipoli, had become C-in-C of the Turco/German army in Palestine on March 1st 1918.
3 The Ludendorff offensive in France had begun on March 31st.
4 Attack to secure the line Berukin-Arara-Rafat

Next letter April 30th 2018
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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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in the red wine of Palestine..

Empty envelope dated 29 Dec. 17

[passed by censor no. 3983 E.E.F.]
New Years Eve 1917

My dear old Elsie
It is New Years Eve and Tm sitting among the rocks of the Judean Hills writing these few lines by the light of my bit of candle. In the red wine of Palestine Major Urwick and I have just drunk to “Absent friends – the West and the Best” and now he is writing to his missis who is in Ceylon. I have very little fresh news since I last wrote – I think I told you what a miserable Xmas we spent – the weather is still very bad but sometimes we get beautifully warm summer days and then we forget all our troubles – I have had no Xmas parcels or letters yet – we are always expecting the mail bags but at present all the transport is wanted for food and ammunition – we are in the line now but I fancy the old Turk is thoroughly demoralised at present so doesnt give much trouble – I wish he would make peace but I suppose Germany wont let him. I often hear from all our wounded officers and some of them will be coming back soon – Poor Milsom is having a bad time still and will probably be sent to England as soon as they are able to move him. Im dreadfully sorry about him.

I wonder how you are spending your New Years Eve and hope you are having a good time I often get letters from Harold – he says he is fed up with his red tape office work in Burma and wants to come out to us but I think he is very unwise and I tell him he doesnt know when he is well off and I would gladly change jobs with him and have a bit of comfort again! What do they think at home about the war now? Can it possibly last through another year?

Best love dear girl and all good wishes for the New Year

from Stan

Next letter January 11th 2018
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lately I have been feeling very sad…

Dec 16 1717
EEF

My dear old Elsie
Just a few more lines to tell you I am quite safe and well — I was ever so glad to get six letters from you two days ago – These have cheered me up tremendously for lately I have been feeling very sad and sick at heart Since I last wrote you we have had a welcome rest but we are off again tonight into the line and it looks as if we shall spend our Xmas fighting after all We have had no reinforcements yet and Major Urwick and I still carry on as best we can – I spend my days trying to straighten out things and get the office records in order There are many gaps in the old Regiment which can never be filled again I often think of poor old Banes lying up there under the cold stone of the mountains and I had been looking forward to many happy days with him after the war Milsom too is so badly wounded that I am afraid he will lose his leg and in any case he wont do any more  soldiering for many months to come it all makes me curse the war and the devils who brought it on us But it is no use being despondent and fed up for one must think of the men who are left and the work before us but its very hard sometimes and already I am looking forward to some home leave about next April or May.
I shall be thinking of you all through Xmas time & only wish I could look in and have a game of ring o roses and blind mans buff with you and your kiddies!
Many thanks dear girl for your letters and with best love and all good wishes

from Stan

Next letter 21 December 2017
These letters have been published as
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Happy christmas

5.12.17
Passed by censor 3983

The contents of this envelope is a regimental Christmas card with no message other than the printed greeting:

A Merry Christmas

and

A Happy New Year

from Stan EEF 1917-18

Next letter 16 December 2017
These letters have been published as
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Fat and flourishing…

Sept 9 1917
no address

My dear old Elsie
Heres another line to tell you I am quite safe and fit. Ill enclose a snap taken the other day when were out of the old trenches –  Im sure I look fat & flourishing enough dont I? lye very little news to tell you every day here is much the same as the next –  We get shelled every morning and evening but weve excellent trenches — two nights ago we had a bad time but my fellows have been splendid — Unfortunately there have been casualties but one must expect that – this week weve had 3 killed and 18 wounded – the people at home Im afraid will realize the 1/5 Somersets are really in service at last when they see the casualty lists come in. Damn this war I say – I hate to think this fine old Regiment of ours must suffer with the rest –  I hope next week we shall go out for a rest and if we can only get down by the sea again we shall be happy. I am as dirty as can be and the fleas have kept on biting and biting. Banes came to see me just now with Milsom – weve had a good pow-wow – poor Banes has just lost some of his best men and is so depressed about it. I think I told you dear girl I am to be Adjutant of the Regiment in a few weeks time Im awfully gratified and the Colonel has been so nice about it. It’s a big job on service I know but I shall do my ew-stan

damnedest. My name has gone in to the War Office for its got to go through the Gazette and my appointment will start on Oct 10th for 3 years but of course the war will be over long long before my term is up –  lets hope so anyway.1 Ill send you a snap shot one of my fellows took of me the other day – it surely speaks for itself and I hope you will realize how fit and flourishing I am Best love dear girl

 

 

from Stan

1 He served until June 2nd 1920.

Next letter September 26th 2017
These letters have been published as
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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

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

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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

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