I have had a real hot bath today the first since last January!!

Oct 29 1918
no address

My dear old Elsie
No letters have come from you for simply ages – I am longing to hear from you again and to know what you think of our great victory out here. I cannot understand the delay in the post for your last was dated Sept. 16th six weeks ago. I hope my letters have reached you. I wrote you quite a long one the other day. My poisoned hand is better but still tied up and I am really very fit now – at present I am bitten dreadfully by mosquitoes!

I am away from the Regiment again and temporarily on the Staff of the Division – there has been so much sickness and nearly all the Staff Officers have gone to Hospital so they have borrowed me for a week or two only on the stipulation that I return to the Regiment as soon as possible I should simply hate to have a staff job and it would be a disappointing finish to the war – I never want to be away from the Regiment

My job at present is finding billets and camping sites for the winter for the Division. I am at Haifa where we shall probably spend the winter unless we are suddenly moved to another front – it is very nice here but very malarial1 at this time of year and the mosquitoes bite like the devil. I am living on top of Mount Carmel in what was a large German Hotel. It has the most delightful outlook I have ever seen. The sea is perfect blue and Acre across the bay looks charming. The feeding at present is very bad but one can put up with that – I have had a real hot bath today the first since last January!!

The Regiment is 30 miles or so south of Haifa but will be coming along as the railway progresses – Our cavalry have got on splendidly havent they! I hear Aleppo has been taken today and I suppose Alexandretta will be next and then we shall have the whole of Palestine. When things settle down I hope to go to Damascus & Beyrout both of which are very interesting I hear – but of course it is very difficult to get about this country. I have been to Nazareth & the Plain of Esdraelon – Caesarea – Kishon River and several other interesting places.

I have heard no recent war news from France but it is all a wonderful advance and I am always wondering how long the Hun will hold out!

We seem to have quite finished our little war out here and unless we go to another part of the World I suppose I shant see another shot fired – the great thing now is to keep out of Hospital almost every one gets ill and I am looked upon rather as a ‘wonder’ to have kept fit all the summer and without leave too! This will probably reach you about Xmas so I will start wishing you a happy time – I shall be thinking of you all the time – I shant be able to send you a present which grieves me very much but I will get you something when I get to Cairo next. It seems so funny to write about Xmas – I was hoping so much the damned old war would be over this year. I hope you keep fit dear old girl – how I wish the post office people would get a move on,

Best love dear girl

From Stan

1 A bacteriologist explained his wall chart to Gen. Allenby: ‘these charts are the seasonal incidence of malignant malaria in the Plain of Sharon and I think that is the reason why Richard Coeur de Lion never got to Jerusalem . . . he came down the coast in September.’ AP Wavell Allenby op. cit. p.195

Next letter Oct 31st 2018

These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
Twiga Books, ISBN 978 09528625 2 9 £9.50 + p&p
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We have had a glorious victory

Sep 25 1918
No address

My dear old Elsie
Just a hurried line to tell you dear old girl I have been through another great battle (and I hope the last) and am safe and well – We have had a glorious victory and as far as one can tell the whole Turkish army has been destroyed or captured.
My last letters Im afraid have been short and uninteresting but I expect you will have gathered from them that we were going to have a stunt on this front.
The past six weeks or so I have been all over the country doing special work – the Regiment moved from the mountains on to the Plains near the sea about Sept 17th and at 4.30 am on the 19th. the great attack began. It was a wonderful show and successful beyond all expectations. The Regiment took part in the first attack – we went over the top above a terrific artillery bombardment and drove the Turks from their strong positions which had been holding us up for months – Once past their defences we got them on the run and captured hundreds of prisoners
After 4 days strenuous work we were brought out to rest and are now in the Tul Keram1 district and the cavalry are doing the mopping up miles & miles ahead
The whole thing was so sudden and so successful that thank Goodness our casualties were slight and altogether it has been wonderful time
I will write more in a few days. I am longing for another home mail now
Best love dear girl
from Stan

1 Tul Keram on the plain of Sharon between Jaffa and Haifa, one-time Turkish Eighth Army HQ

Next letter Oct 15th 2018

These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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we are on the eve of great events out here

18/9/18
[no address, envelope enclosed in another with the green cross – & addressed in careful writing and signed Fred Stoodley1]

My dear old Elsie
First of all let me tell you dear girl we are on the eve of great events out here and long before you get this letter I hope all the world will have had good news from the Palestine Front. You will probably have gathered from my recent letters that there was “something doing” out here – I have had a very heavy time and a lot of responsible work and I only hope all will go well.
I cannot stay to write more than a few lines tonight – but I must send you my best thanks my dear for the most delightful birthday parcel which reached me quite safely yesterday – just in time for these operations and all so very nice and useful You must choose all the things so very carefully and it is so sweet of you dear My birthday will be spent again this year in the thick of soldiering – next year Im sure I shall be in dear old England
I was so pleased to hear you enjoyed the last part of your holiday so much and that you were quite fit & well I am much better – I think excitement and hard work can cure most things
Best love dear girl, Goodbye – or rather au revoir dear old girl
From Stan

36 Fred Stoodley was Assistant Quartermaster of the Battalion, for many years after the war, Stanley and Elsie received from him an annual parcel containing asparagus and lilies of the valley.

Next letter Sep 25th 2018
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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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I was taken to see the House of Simon the Tanner

Sept 14 1918
no address

I am sending you another short letter to let you know I am safe and well
The last time I wrote I was on the Auja – I have since been to Jaffa and am now back with the old Regiment once again
Jaffa was very nice – I got a lovely bathe in the sea and what pleased me even more got some real fresh butter and a fresh egg – the first since last January!
The town & port are very much mined now but at one time it must have been a very fine place – of course I was taken to see the House of Simon the Tanner!1
I am so glad to be back with the battalion again and I hope I am fixed for a time – we are very busy with preparations for something I may not write about but you can probably guess by my letters and by my movements the last few weeks – Things are likely to be very strenuous and that is why I am writing a short letter when I can. No more has come from you since one dated July 28th – it is a shame and it makes me feel so cut off from the world and everybody
I do hope you keep well the news from France2 must thrill old England with joy – of course we are all delighted beyond words and we long for detailed news
Best love dear girl
from Stan

1 ‘And it came to pass that he [Peter] tarried many days in Joppa [JaffaJ with one Simon a Tanner. (Acts 9.43) whose house is by the sea side’ (Acts 10.6).
2 August 8th was the German ‘Black Day’ when the Allies launched their greatest and last offensive.

Next letter Sep 18th 2018
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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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in camp on the banks of the River Auja

Sept 9 1918
no address.

My dear old Elsie
When I wrote to you last a few days ago I had just returned from a tour of duty of reconnaissance Work – I was only with the Regiment a couple of days when off I went again on another joy ride for special work. I am now in camp on the banks of the River Auja1 – it is so strange to be in the plains again after about 10 months  spent in the Mountains We get a glorious bathe in the river before breakfast each morning and for the rest of the day I am in the saddle riding about over an entirely new country to me – it is all very interesting but these are hard days and I am very tired at the end of the day. I expect to be here 4 days then I have to go on to Jaffa for one day then back to the Regiment.
I hope my special work will soon be over as I dont like to be away from the Battalion so much as I have been lately – This part of Palestine is very much like the old Gaza district of a year ago it seems simply years and years ago when we were in those trenches. I wonder how you are and if you are safely back in Minchinhampton – the mails have been very lazy again – your last letter was the one dated July 28 which is 6 weeks ago – I am feeling better now but there is such a lot of sickness in this country now and a whole lot of our officers and men are in Hospital most people go down with sand fly fever but I think it is probably the Spanish Influenza which seems to be going the round of the World2\
I will write as often as I can but for abit my letters will be written under difficulties
Best love dear girl
from Stan

1 The River Auja flows into the Mediterranean just north of Jaffa.
2 This pandemic is believed to have killed more victims than the total number of casualties in the Great War.

Next letter Sep 14th 2018
These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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Just a few lines, I am better…

July 25 1918
EEF

My dear old Elsie
Just a few lines to let you know I am better and hope after all to keep out of Hospital – we go out of the line in a few days time and I shall be able to have more rest and a quiet time
I am tired of the summer – since March we have lived under a boiling sun and I think it gradually saps up ones energy and extra strength
A soldier is always grousing – we curse the wet & cold and then we curse the sun I wish it was all over! And I really think these latest events in France1 may  prove to be the turning point dont you? We only get very short telegrams & long for fuller particulars I am looking forward so much to your next letters – I get so fed up when no English mail arrives.
I do hope you will get really fine weather for your holidays and I am sure you will have many happy times With best love dear girl
From Stan

1 The Second Battle of the Marne, July 16th-18th. The Germans exhausted themselves without making any great breakthrough and with British and American help the French recovered some of the ground they had lost.

Next letter Sep 2nd 2018
These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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the pipe is a beauty…

July 18 1918
[Envelope readdressed to Gwynant, Park Rd., Hale, CheshireJ

My dear old Elsie
After waiting a long time I was delighted a few days ago to get three letters from you – the latest dated 25th June -many thanks dear girl for them -I also received the parcel quite safely it gave me the greatest possible pleasure to open it and the contents are lovely -the pipe is a beauty and I am smoking it hard already. The tins of things are a very welcome addition to our stores. I have been seedy the past ten days and on the verge of going into Hospital -the weather has been terribly hot and my old Mespot fever has turned up again – I have dosed myself with quinine and hope I shall get fit soon but I get a rotten temperature every night and get a sort of shivering ague I want to hold on for in about 2 weeks time we go into rest again for a short period – we have had a long trying time in the line now The Turk has been very active lately – he attacked us very stubbornly a few days ago – the Colonel was away on duty at Jaffa and Major Watson was still in hospital so I was left in command of the Regiment – It was very exciting for a few hours but our fellows did splendidly and the Turks did not succeed in getting further than our wire -considering that he fired more than 1600 heavy shells at us we had very few casualties.1 Major Watson is back now I am glad to say and is very well again – poor old Urwick is still at Alexandria – he has been away nearly 3 months now
You will soon be off for your holidays and I do hope you will have good weather and a real enjoyable time
I shall be thinking of you and wishing I was home on leave
Please write and tell me exactly how Gretchen is and little Christine too
With much love
From Stan

1 One officer and three other ranks were wounded in this bombardment which consisted of ‘1600’ shells (Stanley’s letter) or ‘600’ shells (Battalion War Diary)

Next letter July 25th 2018
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a lovely lot of letters from you

Also salvaged, date missing

My dear old Elsie

I had a lovely lot of letters from you this month, thanks ever so much dear –  the last is dated feb.18th. Im back with the old Regiment again at last – I was away 10 days and it seemed ages – I hate to be away really. It was a long march from the Rest Camp 20 miles all through most wonderful hills. We are going to advance gradually still further and my letters in the near future may be irregular again but Ill send a few lines whenever I can. We have received many congratulations over the Guard of Honour stunt and it’s nice to feel everyone is pleased. The position we are in now is almost indescribable – I thought nothing in the World could beat Switzerland but this seems grander and more vast – you would love the wild flowers I wish I could send you a bunch – outside my dug out arum lilies, black & white tulips – orchids and 20 other kinds and colours I cant name – its a glorious sight. Im awfully fit and couldnt be other wise in this hill air.

This is only a short letter this time –  best love dear girl

From Stan

Next letter April 7th 2018
These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
Twiga Books, ISBN 978 09528625 2 9 £9.50 + p&p
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Complimented on a fine body of men

This OHMS envelope has written on it: “Salved from Submerged Mail” and is addressed to:
Miss Elsie Hyde
“Highcroft”
Minchinhampton
Glos.

The next two letters have clearly been wet and are difficult to read. They were written in ink, which has run. The letter starts in pencil but continues in ink after the first half page; the pencil is obscured by the ink seepage, but the rest of the letter is possible to read:

17 March 1918

My dear old Elsie
I little thought a few years ago that I should be taking part in such an historic ceremony. The weather yesterday unfortunately was stormy and at the last moment it was decided to adjourn to the large building in Ramleh town known as the Convent It was rather a pity as the whole thing would have looked better in the open air. The Duke drove up in a car with the Commander in Chief and we gave him a “Royal Salute” and then he came over to the Guard of Honour and I was introduced to him and to the Commander in Chief. He then inspected the men and chatted away the whole time asking questions about the Regiment and he stopped and spoke to many of the men –  Afterwards he shook hands with me and complimented me on a very fine body of men. And really they did look well & our band of 48 men and buglers were paraded with us and created quite an impression.

The next thing was the presentation of decorations and there were such a great many of General Staff Officers and all the brass of the Army in Palestine –  I had to march up to have my Military Cross  pinned on and it is such a handsome thing – Im having it engraved and sent home for the Pater to keep for me for Im sure I should lose it out here. We now have a long trek back to the Regiment all through the hills – just before we left we advanced about 6 miles on our front but thanks to our artillery we met with little opposition – I suppose we shall keep on slowly advancing but where our final objective out here is Im sure I dont know. The Colonel is still on home leave but is really due back now – I wish he would come for Im anxious to get my application for home leave sent in. Im longing to see you again dear girl and it cheers me up no end to have something to look forward to. I heard last night that Geoffrey Clarke2  has won an M.C. – he commanded my old company in the fighting last November and did most wonderfully well. Many thanks dear girl for your letters which come fairly regularly now – I hear there has been another home mail since we left the Regiment and Im hoping there will be something waiting for me Im awfully fit & the wonderful hill air suits me well and I think Im getting more cheerful than I have been lately. Goodbye dear girl.
Best love
from Stan

1 General Allenby – Sir Edmund Allenby (1861-1936) assumed command of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force at midnight June 28/29th 1917 at Cairo GHQ and within a week of assuming command had ‘departed on a visit to the front, leaving behind a slightly shaken staff.’ (Wavell, Allenby, op. cit. p.188) Later promoted Field Marshall and ennobled as First Viscount Allenby of Megiddo GCB, GCMG, GCVO, KCB, etc and numerous foreign honours.
2 Lt GP Clarke gazetted to Battalion December 4th 1914, won the MC for his part in the action before El Jib (BoR, p.74)

 

Next letter March 30 2018
These letters have been published as
Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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We are a fine regiment now…

Mar 4 1918 EEF

My dear old Elsie
We are off again tomorrow and are full of bustle today packing up and getting ready – we have had 3 delightful weeks of comparative comfort here and I shall be sorry to leave my tent and olive grove and many other comforts which we don’t get when fighting the Turk in those stoney hills yonder. We are a fine Regiment again now and are stronger in officers & men than we have ever been –  most of our wounded have rejoined. The Dukes visit is put off for a few weeks and I hope we shan’t be altogether disappointed for we have had a very busy time smartening up & cleaning everything since weve been out of the line – H.R.H. is going to  present the decorations recently won on this front and I expect he will give me my Military Cross so I shall have to practice pushing my chest out. Ive  just had 2 letters from you dear girl- the last dated Jan 29th many thanks they do cheer me  up no end – I expect the excitement of battle again will make me forget for a time all those horrible times of last November and December. We dined our General last night and gave him a wonderful dinner – he is a topper and got ever so cheery – Ill enclose the Menu Card and also the song we sang to the tune of “another little drink wouldn’t do us any harm” The Padre composed it!

I’ll write whenever I can – best love dear girl

from Stan

 

Next letter March 17th 2018
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Engaged in War – the Letters of Stanley Goodland 1914 – 1919
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