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
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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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Hoping Harold can make it…

1/5 Somerset L.I. Chakrata, Upper Provinces, India
Oct 5th 1916

My dear old Elsie
Since last I wrote I’ve had a couple of days in bed with my old malaria fever again – I haven’t mentioned it in my home letters for they would probably think more of it than necessary and I suppose I shall always be subject to attacks while I’m in the East. I’m better today but a bit shaky and I’ve got to drink a lot of milk which I loathe. I am expecting Harold to turn up either to day or tomorrow and we are sure to have a good time together1 – the last few days we’ve had torrential rains and I hear parts of the road have been washed away but I’m sure he’ll get up somehow – it is 60 miles from the nearest railway station to Chakrata!

Now we shall be getting ready for our exit and march down in two weeks time – it will all be very jolly and we are likely to have perfect weather. The home news seems very good and I get wonderful letters each month from the Pater – the Babe has had a good holiday in the Mumbles. The war news keeps good too and the new armies seem to be fighting magnificently – Well cheero – old girl – many thanks for your last letter & Tatler.
with best love

from Stan

1 There is no surviving letter between October 5th and November 3rd. So it is not certain whether Stanley’s brother Harold reached Chakrata to visit him after so much anticipation.

Next letter Nov 3rd 2016

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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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Enjoying a thoroughly lazy time…

Somerset LI. Chakrata, India
Aug 30 1916

My dear old Elsie
Just a short letter this mail to tell you I am still enjoying a thoroughly lazy time with the old Regiment at Chakrata – my leave was over on the 20th so already I have had ten extra days holiday and Simla seems in no hurry to send me my posting orders – it is really a very good thing for it gives me a chance of getting stronger for my poor old ‘tummy’ is still far from well – I am staying with Frank Calway and he has taken a day or two off and we’ve been long tramps in the hills – we’ve had a good deal of monsoon rain but it is really beautiful and very wild and romantic – the day before yesterday we had quite a big earthquake – I was writing at my table at the time and it was an extraordinary sensation – the table began to rock and sway about and for a moment I thought I was ill but soon realized when trees and bungalows began to collapse that it was the old earth having a quake! Fortunately no one was hurt much! Since I last wrote to you another of your lovely parcels has turned up with all sorts of good things in it -Bivouac Cocoa – tobacco chocolate & sweets – Many thanks dear old girl – I think it is simply splendid of you – Last night at Mess we were all very excited for a wire came saying Roumania had jomed1 in with the Allies – that’s the best news we’ve had for ages and I wonder if after all my dream will be realized and that all the armies in and around the Balkans will soon sweep up through the plains of Austria Hungary -one thing is pretty certain – Turkey must quickly be cut off from Europe and go down on her knees suing for peace! I wonder – in the meantime it must be simply Hell in France! So long dear girl – keep well – with best love

from Stan

1 Roumania declared war on Germany and Austria -Hungary in 1916, was defeated and Bucharest occupied December 6th 1916.

Next letter Sep 7th 2016

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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

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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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Yesterday, a ripping parcel arrived

1/5 Somerset LI., Chakrata, Upper Provinces, India
July 8 1916

My dear old Elsie
You will be pleased to know that I am ever so much better and am now right up in the Himalayas with the old Regiment I have had such a kind welcome from the Colonel1 down to the smallest private in my old company – they have given me such a swell dinner at the Mess and it is simply glorious being amongst the old Regiment again.

The Colonel says that now he’s got me he’s going to stick to me and has already applied to Simla2 for my return – I think I told you that my leave carries me on until Aug. 20th. and I shall not know what is going to happen to me until then. Everyone here thinks this Regiment is going on service to the Gulf in the autumn (the Colonel appears to have had some private information about this) – already all of the officers here have bought a lot of their field service kit – If this is so of course I should like nothing better than to go out again with them but I certainly do not want to loaf about India doing ordinary Regimental duty while there is a war on. The Colonel of the Buffs will be very sick too if I don’t go back to my adjutant’s job with him – but I shall have to wait and see until my orders come from Simla. I shall have to go before another board of doctors before my leave is up and they may not pass me fit for service again. At present my poor inside is altogether wrong – I suppose it will be some time before I can get over the effects of all the bad food and water I’ve had to live on for so many months. It is really beautiful up here – 8000 feet above sea level, to get here one has to take a motor ride of 60 miles for we are right in the heart of the Himalayas and in clear days the “everlasting snows” glisten in the distance and make one just look and wonder & think what a marvelous world we live in – I cant walk very far in these hilly parts yet but Frank Calway (with whom I am sharing quarters) lends me his pony and I just hack about enjoying the scenery and fresh air.

Well my dear old thing – it seems a long time since I had any letters from you but I am hoping in a few days, to hear from you direct through Cox – yesterday however a ripping parcel came from you which had been travelling all round the Gulf. It is so kind of you but you must promise me not to send me anything more until I go on service again but save your money for War Loan – the knife is just what I wanted & the diary too & the lighter & baccy all splendid – really it is too good of you old pal and I dont deserve it in the least.

To my surprise I had a wire from Harold yesterday saying that he was at Mhow at the Staff School – it is a long way from here but I quite hope we should be able to meet before he goes back to Burma.

The Mesopotamian campaign seems at a standstill just now – the weather is so awful that I think our force is quite unable to do much – I suppose they will wait until September. I saw the Russians who joined up with us about the middle of May and it was all very interesting– I noted that they are trying to fix the blame of the foolhardy Baghdad advance on to someones shoulders and personally I do not see how Sir John Nixon can explain away his entire lack of judgement! I am wondering if Leslie and Bert4 will have to join the colours and what the girls will do then it is very sad and all this upsetting of homes and peoples lives but it simply must be done if we are ever going to end this war successfully.

I am anxious to hear how the Pater is getting on now & hope everything goes all right at Elm Grove – he is enjoying the garden I expect & he always feels better in the warm weather

[unsigned]

1 Lt-Col Cooke-Hurle  DSO commanded the 1/5 Battalion Somerset Light Infantry throughout the war until ordered to report back to the War Office in February 1919
2 Himalayan Hill Station, summer capital of British India. The Viceroy and members of the Viceregal council with their staff retreated there from the heat of Delhi in the summer months. The name is also used as shorthand for Indian Army GHQ.
3 On May 20th a Russian Cossack patrol of 113 officers & men arrived at Ali Gharbi, after a march of 200 miles. They stayed a fortnight; their officers were awarded British Military Crosses (Moberly, op. Cit. vol. III p.13).
4 Leslie Hyde & Bert How, brothers-in-law to Stanley. Leslie was employed making munitions in Manchester.

Next letter Aug 4th 2016

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In the trenches – it is most depressing work

I.E.F. ‘D’
Mar 28 1916

My dear old Elsie

A few lines to tell you I am safe and sound and fairly well. I cant remember when I wrote last and there is really very little news to tell you for we are not allowed to say very much about the latest happenings in this country. I wonder what the home papers have told you. Thank goodness I came through the last fighting Mar 8 to 10 safely and since then we have been doing a spell in the trenches – it is a most depressing work and there is no rest for the poor adjutant. Now we are under canvas about 4000 yards behind the firing line and it is a real treat to get a shave and a wash and to take ones boots off. We are supposed to be resting but the whole force is busy preparing for the next great effort for Kut – it was a great disappointment to us that we did not get through on the 8th to 10th – it was a very near thing but it was necessary to get far away from the river and we were simply driven back from want of water and from fatigue. I am so sorry to say my mail has failed me again the last 3 weeks and I miss my letters ever so much but yesterday the parcel you so kindly sent of soap toothpaste tobacco and sweets arrived it came just at the right moment – thank you so much dear – you would have been amused to see me with a bucket of water and my piece of coal tar soap which is the envy of the officers mess – I feel cleaner now than I have for ages and for the time being I believe Ive got rid of most of the fleas and horrid things that have been biting me up lately. Im longing to get some home news again for I’m always wondering what is happening.

It may be some time again before I get a chance of writing but I hope you wont worry about me – if we could only get to Kut I think they would give the Brigade a long rest and possibly send us back to India – we have done more than our share and we are all tired out. My poor old leg gets inflamed and some days I am very lame but I dont want to give up until Kut is relieved – every one of us is wanted for that job. No news yet of the Military Cross but Ive great hopes for a few days ago the boys at Basra Headquarters wired up for my full Christian names – youll also be pleased to hear that the General has recommended me for temporary promotion to Captain so Im hoping in a little while to have 3 stars – it will mean a good deal extra pay and altogether will be very nice – not a word of all this until things are settled! Well cheerio dear old thing – theres a good time coming – or at least I keep on hoping so.

Best love

from Stan

 

Next letter Jun 10th 2016

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