Telegram handed in Plymouth 4.15pm received Minchinhampton 6 Jan 5.15pm 1920.
To Hyde Highcroft M’hampton
“Arrived safe and well best love Stan”
END OF LETTERS
Writing on November 4th Stanley had suggested to Elsie that she try to be in Taunton for the homecoming of the cadre of the 1/5 Somersets. It is not known when they were reunited but Stanley’s return to Taunton was a low key occasion. He was one of the party of ten, of all ranks, which reached Taunton Station at about 10.30pm on January 6th; the remainder of the cadre had gone straight from Plymouth to a demobilisation centre.
There was no marching through Taunton but next day there was a civic reception and luncheon for the which the three officers, two warrant officers and five private soldiers paraded, with the support of the depot band. The Mayor presided and the guests included many officers who had come home earlier, including EF Cooke-Hurle, now a full Colonel. He was among those who made speeches, followed by Frank Urwick, Stanley Goodland and the wag of the party, Private WS Hayes. Stanley reflected ‘that hitherto I thought the proudest moment of my life was when I marched off in 1914 in the uniform of the Somerset Light Infantry. I feel that that moment has been eclipsed now that I have marched back to my native town as one of the representatives of that fine old Regiment.’ The idea for what became The Book of Remembrance was already in his mind: I hope some day someone will set down in writing and in detail the full record of the Regiment in the Great War. I think it would be a good thing for the people of Somerset1.
1 Somerset County Gazette, January 10th 1920
Stanley and Elsie were married at the Unitarian Chapel, Hale Barns, on September 18th 1920. They made their first home in Golders Green, London; later they moved to Merton Park and then to Wimbledon – each of these last two houses standing within a mile of the family home of Harry and Babs Milsom.
It is probable that before teh wedding Stanley had found employment in the West End showroom of Malletts of Bath, distinguished dealers in fine art. He remained with Malletts for the rest of his working life as a partner and when it became a limited company, a director and eventually managing director. Early in 1930 he undertook a pioneering visit to the United States. His base was New York but he also went to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Boston. He had with him some old silver and a portfolio of photographs of furniture. Despite the Depression which followed the recent Wall Street crash he did successful business with dealers and private collectors, greatly strengthening Malletts’ connection with the American market. William Randolph Hearst became a good customer and, at home, that avid collector of antique, HM Queen Mary, valued Stanley’s judgement, awarding him a personal warrant which Malletts displayed until his retirement.
Stanley’s loyalty to the ‘dear old regiment’ was lifelong. He kept in touch with his old comrades and until Frank Urwick’s death in 1936 there was a special reunion of Messrs Urwick, Milsom, Goodland and their wives every November. Stanley also attended the annual commemoration service for the Buffs, held in August in Canterbury Cathedral. He was equally devoted to Taunton School and its Old Boys Association. For many years he played for the Old Boys in their annual Whitsun cricket match against Taunton XI. He supported the rugby football club of the London Old Tauntonians, helping them to buy a playing field at Ruislip, Middlesex where a new pavilion was built.
From 1939 to 1945 Stanley worked in Civil Defence, becoming Chief Air Raid Warden for the City of Westminster. Though the most valuable of Malletts stock was stored underground in Bath he kept open the showroom at 40 New Bond Street and lived there in a gloomy flat on an upper floor. Elsie remained in Wimbledon, working at the first aid post established at the headquarters of the Lawn Tennis Association. Each came unscathed through the Blitz and V1 and V2 bombardments. At the outbreak of the war, their children were evacuated to Bath to stay with a member of the Mallett family.
Stanley retired in 1952 and he and Elsie bought a cottage in Bicknoller, West Somerset – the area to which he had been sent as a recruiting officer in 1914. They both lived long lives. When they married in 1920 Stanley was on the eve of his 37th birthday and Elsie was 31. Yet they were able to celebrate their golden wedding day in 1970. They both died aged 90, Stanley in 1974 and Elsie in 1979. They are lovingly remembered by their two children and spouses and by seven grandchildren.
Left: Stanley in the autumn of 1917 and right, Stanley and Elsie on their wedding day in 1920. Elsie wearing the Ostrich feathers that Stan had sent to her.