Arrived safe and well

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

HOMECOMING

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

AFTERWORD

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.

Setting sail 24th December

postmarked Dec.22 1919
Field Post Office 233

Regimental Christmas Card

A Merry Christmas
and
A Happy New Year

from Stan

Cable dated Port Said 22nd. 4pm handed in 11.40 am
received at Minchinhampton 11.56 am 26 Dec 19.

addressed:

To Hyde Highcroft M’hampton

“Sailing Alexandria on Teutonic”1 24th

Goodland

1 SS Teutonic, 4611 reg. tonnage, managed by White Star Line for the Shipping Controller. Built 1889 in Belfast.

Next letter 6th January 2020

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I shall be thinking of you at Xmas time dear girl

December 12th. 1919
(No envelope Union Club, Port Said)

My dear old Elsie
Just a few lines to let you know we have got a move on at last and arrived here yesterday – thank goodness we are now a step nearer home

We do not know yet when we embark but there is a boat leaving Alexandria on the 17th. and we hope to get on her – this means Im afraid that we shall spend Xmas at sea which is of course a bitter disappointment to us all but Im sure we’ve pulled every available string in this country to get away earlier

I think we go home all the way by sea so we shall probably reach England somewhere about New Years Eve – I shall most likely spend Xmas in the neighbourhood of Gibraltar – tossing about and feeling anything but festive! We had a wonderful send off from Suez yesterday and I shall never forget it – all the Station turned out to see us off – We were inspected by the “Base Commandant” and Bands came down and played and people put out flags in our honour – we were very friendly with the R.A.F. at Suez and they sent a formation of planes to escort our train as far as Ismailia – I think old Urwick & I were snap shotted 100 times – and we really felt quite like Royalty.

Im sure no one had a more hearty ‘send off’ – all through the war wherever we have been we’ve made friends and there are some at Suez who I hope to meet again at home some day

I came across Jack Harcombe today – he is an old Taunton School pal who I daresay you have met – he is on his way to East Africa & came on shore on the chance of seeing me and I came across him in the main street by great good luck

I shall be thinking of you at Xmas time dear girl and wishing you the very best – and it will not be many days now before we meet again
Best love dear girl
from Stan

Next letter 22nd  December 2019

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Have promised to send us on Dec 8th…

Dec 6 1919
Port Tewfik

My dear old Elsie
Just a few more lines to let you know that the people at G.H.Q. have promised to send us to Port Said on Dec 8th. That will be a step in the right direction but I’m now told there isn’t a boat going home until Dec 17th. and in that case we shall spend our Xmas at sea & arrive home about New Years Eve. It’s simply sickening but G.H.Q. are very nervous about things out here and are not at all keen on sending us away at all. Cairo was very nice & full of people – I was only there a day and a half and had a great rush round settling up Regimental business & buying some clothes for myself.

But it isn’t at all safe – there is shooting going on in the streets & very bitter feeling against us – it is a God-forsaken country. Best love dear girl
from Stan

Next letter 12th December 2019

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I have learnt the jazz roll…

Nov 29. 1919
Port Tewfik

My dear old Elsie
We are still in the same old spot – wondering & wondering when our orders will come. The country is so unsettled & feeling is so bitter against us at present that G.H.Q. are very nervous about depleting the E.E.F of troops. Still I am going to Cairo on Monday to see G.H.Q. and hope to get some definite news then – they have promised to get us home before Xmas so they will soon have to get a move on. The brightest news I can send you is that I am now a Major and dated back to Feb 27th. – which is of course very nice – Urwick is a Colonel from the same date and we are very delighted. We are giving a little dance tonight as a sort of celebration of our promotion and a farewell. I wish you could just slip over for it. I have learnt the Jazz roll for the occasion – about 70 guests will be there and all the Sisters are coming – they are not allowed to dance in public really – but this is private affair and we have called it an “At Home”. I was delighted to see Harold Alice & the baby as they passed through – the Baby1 is a beauty – Alice wasnt well & was in bed so we had a cheery time in the cabin. I thought Harold looked very war-worn – much more so than I. I dont know what to say about my plans when I get home If I get the appointment of Adjutant of the new Regiment I shall have to get busy almost at once but when Xmas is over I mean to put in a week or so with Greta at Hale. If I dont get the appointment I shall take a longer holiday & then go to London to see what business openings there are about. Many thanks dear girl for letters & Tatlers. I hear that Marseilles is closed down & that we shall probably go home all the way by sea.
Best love
from Stan

1 John Goodland, born in Burma February 28th 1919, died November 18th 1978.

Next letter 6th December 2019

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enough trouble & strife to last me my lifetime

Nov. 4 1919
Port Tewfik

My dear old Elsie
Many thanks dear girl for your last letters – up to Oct 21st. – I have not written much for everyday I hope definite sailing orders will come – I think there is no doubt now that we shall sail from Port Said either the 19th. or 26th. Nov. but I will of course send you a cable – as far as I can see Harold & I will arrive home practically the same day which will be very nice and you can imagine how happy the old Pater will be.

The new Regiment has taken over all our quarters and we are now reduced to 4 officers and 46 men – this party I hope will march up through old Taunton as the Cadre of the Regiment – What a day that will be? Cant you get down for it – and what about Xmas dear girl – can you spend it at Elm Grove? I have written to Gretchen to say she simply must get down for it. There have been some very serious riots in Alexandria & minor ones everywhere – we live in very exciting times for the feeling against the British is very very bitter – I only hope we shall be clear away before Mimer arrives – I have been mixed up in enough trouble & strife to last me my lifetime Our heavy baggage is going home all the way by sea & everything is packed up & ready – we shall go via Marseilles – so should reach home about 10 days after leaving Port Said. You will be pleased to hear G.H.Q. have decided at last to make me an Acting Major from last Feb 27th, & old Urwick an Acting Lieut. Colonel so that is very nice and will give me quite a nest egg of back pay

Harold reaches here about Nov. 17th. & I am wondering so much if I shall see him – possibly they may put us in his ship!
Best love dear girl
from Stan

Next letter 29th November 2019

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Five years ago yesterday I sailed from Southampton!

Oct 10th 1919
Port Tewfik

My dear old Elsie
Five years ago yesterday I sailed from Southampton! Isnt it dreadful to think of. When I last wrote I think I told you there was definite news of our relief. The days go quickly by and nothing has happened – Today we are told the relieving Regt. arrives on the 14th. When they come we shall have to deal with all our non-demobilizable men – about 300. They are going to the Hampshires at Khartoum and will go by sea from here to Port Sudan. All this will take time and I am so fed up that I wonder now if I shall be home for Xmas! Also the Gippies threaten another rising when the Milner Commission arrives. But I still hope for the best and for the day when I can send you a cable. Many thanks dear girl for your last letter (Sept 15) written at Newport. I do hope you had a real good time and it must have been nice for you to have Leila1 with you. What a long motor journey you had! We have been watching with interest the progress of the Railway Strike2 & wonder what the end will be – the public seem to be playing up well. The Major & I have hired a dinkie little boat & I have been doing a lot of sailing & deep sea fishing – it is great fun. One day last week we caught 148 fish! Thank goodness the weather is cooling at last & these lovely Eastern moonlight nights are simply fascinating
Best love dear girl
from Stan

1 Leila Hyde (1896-1982) youngest sister of Elsie.
2 Railway strike September 26th to October 5th 1919.2

Next letter 4th November 2019

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very sweet to send such a nice present…

Sept 18th 1919
Port Tewfik

My dear old Elsie
Very many thanks dear girl for your last letter Sept 3rd. received yesterday & for the birthday present and good wishes. I shall find the little leather case so useful and am actually using it to keep my Piastre notes in.

It is very sweet of you to send me such a nice present for I feel I dont deserve it in the least. We are having a very special dinner at Mess on the 22nd. and I expect it will be a very gay night. I did not write to you last week for lve been daily expecting news of our home-going – this has come at last for we have had a warning order saying the Regiment is to be relieved by a Regular Battalion and reduced to a cadre by the end of this month. This is of course grand news and with any luck I should be home by the middle of October – We have no orders yet as to the composition of the Cadre but I shall either go home with it or quite independently with Urwick I have been busy today looking out my warm clothes for I expect to feel very chilly in England this winter. I am thinking of you now at Parrog1 and hoping you are having fine weather and a real good time

I will keep you posted up with my movements and will send you a cable as soon as I know a definite date of sailing. Again many thanks dear girl for your birthday wishes & the present With best love
from Stan

1 Newport Bay, Dyfed.

Next letter 10th October 2019

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to Kantara last Saturday to play cricket …

Aug 28th 1919
Port Tewfik

My dear old Elsie
Many thanks dear girl for your last letter (Aug 12) and the Tatler I am still patiently waiting for news of my home-going – I hope the Territorial Appointments at home have been made by this time and if I have got the Adjutancy I shall surely get a cable soon ordering me home. I have got my English uniforms all brushed and ready and am longing for the day to come. I went to Kantara last Saturday to play cricket and saw Karl again – he was at the Demob Camp and by this time I expect he is well on his way home Wont the Babe be excited I will enclose a snap shot of our officers football team – it was taken 4 evenings ago when we played a match against the Sergeants and won by 6 – 0. It is very very hot but we play games every evening for it is the only way to keep fit in this country & then we have a gorgeous shower bath fitted up which refreshes us for dinner – We are really a very cheery lot of officers and get a good deal of fun one way and another

My boils are well now thank goodness with the exception of one on my neck – this doesnt worry me – its when they come on the place one sits down with that they are so uncomfortable. I believe Frank Calway has gone home this week – he will probably be getting married very soon – they have been engaged about seven years – awful long time isnt it!

I hope you are well dear girl & not having too many fights with the other P.C. GovemessesBest love
from Stan

1 P.C. stands for Princess Christian. (Elsie was a P.C. trained children’s nurse). family legend includes no record of fights with other governesses.

Next letter 18th September 2019

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An Italian warship exploded…

Aug 2lst.1919
Port Tewfik

My dear old Elsie
I was so glad to hear the parcel has reached you at last as I was so afraid it had been stolen – I am very pleased too that you liked the things so much. So glad you are going away to Newport in September but I fancy it wont be much of a holiday for you with all your babies to look after.

Since I last wrote I have been up to Cairo to play in a cricket match for my Divisional team of which I am Captain -had a very good time – I took Karl out to dinner at Sheppherds -he is so pale and thin but is actually going home next week so Babe will be happy at last.

I quite expect to have definite news of my home coming very soon now so you must be patient a bit longer dear girl – I am wondering so much what you will think of me in my photo

Great excitement here a few days ago – the boiler of an Italian warship1, which was a anchored in the Canal 500 yds from our Mess, burst and she sunk in 10 minutes – more than 100 poor devils were blown to bits – It was all very distressing

Glad to say I am quite fit again now and enjoying bathing and games but its damned hot and I long to feel a drop of good English rain on my face.
Cheerio dear girl, Best love

from Stan

1 Lloyds Agent at Port Said telegraphed on Thursday that the Suez Canal has been blocked since the afternoon of the previous day through the Italian Warship Basilicata (a small cruiser of 2560 tons) having sunk near Port Tewfik after an explosion. The Times, August 16th 1919.

Next letter 28th August 2019

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