Busy polishing our buttons…

[Passed by Censor 3983J
13.2.18 E.E.F.

My dear old Elsie
We are out of the line now and are in tents and dry ground near Ramleh – we have had some vile weather but now we have plenty of shelter and the sun is shining so we are ever so happy and comfortable.

And now we are busy polishing our buttons and cleaning up – it is a job to get rid of weeks & weeks accumulated mud  It is so nice to be doing a bit of peace time soldiering all in honour of H.R.H.1 – our band instruments and bugles which we haven’t seen for months have been sent up and it is such a treat to hear music again. It will be a great day for the Regiment I am on the best of terms with the General2 these days and dined with him last night and had a great time – our band played at dinner and afterwards we danced on the stone floor of the school house in which he lives –  its wonderful how childish a few men can be when they get together and the band tunes up No letters have come from you and we hear of at least two mail boats from home being lost at sea –  it is very sad Im longing to hear if my letters have ever reached you. I hope Mrs Brown is better now and that you can have more rest and Im  anxious to get further news of little Greta too

These are only a few lines to let you know I am well – I am very busy now with all these preparations and will try to send a longer letter in a few days – Best love dear girl
from Stan

1 Arthur, Duke of Connaught, 1850-1942, third son of Queen Victoria.
2 Brigadier-General Colston, GOC 233rd Brigade.

 

Next letter March 4th 2018
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a night never passes in quietness

[Passed by censor No. 39831
Feb 4 1918 E.E.F

My dear old Elsie
At last I have all your letters – many thanks dear girl – the last is dated Jan 4th but up to that time apparently none of mine had reached you but I find that all the EEF letters were held up and everybody is frightfully annoyed about it. But I hope you have heard from me long before this and that some of my descriptions of the fighting have reached you. Your letters were a great joy to me – I used to get a lot of letters but all my old friends ‘cept you have long ago forgotten me and never write now but I expect it’s my own fault for I get little time to write to them.

I told you in my last letters that I had been on leave in Cairo with Major Urwick – it did me a world of good and cheered me up no end but I still get horribly depressed now I’m back with the Regiment for I’m always thinking of the old days when I was surrounded by my pals who are nearly all killed or wounded and so my dearest girl I look forward more than ever to hearing from you and I only hope your busy life will never prevent you writing – I shall always remember how good you have been ever since I embarked on Oct 10 1914 – what ages that  seems away! I’m awfully sorry to hear Mrs Brown has been so ill again and can quite imagine how tied you are  – You musnt get too thin else there’ll be nothing left of you I get fatter and fatter in this mountain air and campaigning always seems to suit me – do you realize we are fighting in hills as high as Snowdon – so we ought to keep fit eh and are now quite accustomed to mountaineering but it’s real bad country for ones boots! Next week we go out of the line for two weeks rest and it will be a nice change – a night never passes in quietness – always there are wires coming thro’ and things to be done and an Adjutant’s life these times is a very restless one. Did I tell you our Colonel is home on leave now and Major Watson who came back from England a little while ago has gone to Cairo for a 6 weeks course so Urwick and I are running the Regiment again. I have told you I think that I hope to get home on leave about April – so do please save up a little of your holidays so that may see you either at Elm Grove or at Hale or anywhere else you like to fix up – I shall send you a cable as soon as ever I know I am really off – it all depends on the Colonel and the operations out here! If there is to be another big advance this Spring Im afraid I shall have to stay and of course I shouldn’t like to be away from the dear old Regiment when theres any heavy fighting after going through so much with them – but I hope for the best I think of little Gretchen every day and wonder how she is and I am anxiously awaiting news –  it seems a wonderfull thing to me that she should be a mother and I only hope her best dreams may be realized.

With best love to you dear girl and ever so many thanks again for your welcome letters.

Next letter February 13th 2018
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Had a delightful time in Cairo

28th Jan. 1918 E.E.F.

My dear old Elsie,
I have just returned from a weeks leave in Cairo with Major Urwick and have had a delightful time – I wrote you a long letter from the Turf Club there but I hear the mail boat was sunk. I sent you also some silk handkerchiefs with I’m afraid were in the same boat –  if these dont reach you please let me know for they were insured and I can get compensation. They were made by the Egyptian harem ladies and I wanted them to arrive somewhere about your birthday with my best love and good wishes!

We ran up to Alexandria for a couple of days to see Milsom and our other woundeds – we were lucky to arrive just in time to see Milsom on his hospital ship, for he had already embarked and by this time is well on his way home. He looked very well though still in pain and unable to walk but I quite envied him his trip to England and it made me quite home-sick. I am afraid he will never come back to us and as he, Banes and I were always inseparable, it makes me very unhappy. I hope to go to Jerusalem next month for two days and shalt climb up that mountain overlooking the city and plant a few of the wonderful spring flowers which are growing up everywhere here round Banes’ grave. I was so looking forward to finding some letters from you on my return yesterday but nothing has come and it makes me very fed up but today a wonderful parcel came from you of baccy soap – a memo book and all sorts of useful things – so many thanks dear girl and a big hug! But I want so much to get your letters and to know what you think of all our fighting and the doings of the dear old Somersets  – I wonder if you got my letters describing those terrible times? Cairo was very gay and amusing but I think I enjoyed my two hot baths a day more than anything and as I had slept in my boots and clothes every since I was in Cairo last October you can imagine how delightful it was to get into pyjamas again. There are no signs of food controllers and rations in Cairo and with its perfect climate I can’t imagine a more perfect spot to live in in these awful times. Lady Allenby is simply charming and does everything possible to give officers on leave a good time – she gives ‘At Homes’ and small dances1 – I actually had a one step and a waltz and it made me feel quite young again. Sheppheards Hotel where we stayed is the acme of luxury and some of the menus we tackled were wonderful – to celebrate the Majors D.S.O. he gave me a dinner which included a large bottle of Irroy 1906 and from the hors d’oeuvre to the savoury I think was the best and most expensive dinner any city in the world could produce at the present time. The feelings and joys of short leave can only be experienced by those who have been ‘through it’ as we did last November! I saw quite a lot of Karl who is very fit but still a ‘B’ man on account of his rheumatism2. ft is horrid to be back in the line – I found the Regiment in  the same old spot and its raining hard and very cold and cheerless –  the Colonel has gone home on leave for a month – I envy him too and hope my turn will come soon – my great fear is that by the time the C.O. is back it will be necessary for us to begin another advance and then of course I shan’t be able to get away however I shall hope for the best. I am always thinking of Gretchen these days and wondering how she is getting through what I imagine is a very terrible yet very wonderful time of a girls life – I am hoping to hear all is well soon. I have much arrears of office work to tackle so cannot scribble anymore now  – if this reaches you near your birthday please accept a birthday kiss and my most loving wishes – it is too depressing to think it is nearly 4 years ago since I last saw you and the damned old war is more complicated and awful than ever – Ive come to the conclusion it will fizzle out and one day we shall wake up & suddenly find Peace has been declared and we can go home –  may it be very soon – Best of love dear girl
from Stan

1 ‘Allenby obtained with some difficulty permission for Lady Allenby to go to Egypt. She arrived in October 1917 and went to the Villa Heller at Gezira. Her influence in the English community in Egypt was, in its way, as great as Allenby’s at the front. She took part in the direction of the Red Cross, working in finding occupation and interests for the convalescents, and for officers and men on leave, and similar activities.’ AP Wavell Allenby op. cit. p.196.
2 Karl Jones was appointed Cypher Officer at EQ EEF in 1918, 0/c Cyphers EEF 1919.

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Did you hear of fighting?

Jan 11 1917 [sic] EEF

My dear old Elsie,
Every day we look out for our mails but nothing ever comes, and I haven’t had any letters for ages. The truth is we are having some very severe weather and torrents of rain – I think our old railway has been washed away in places and you’ve no idea how difficult it is to get limbers and animals along in bad weather in a country without roads – it is as much as the supply people can do just to get our rations up and until better times come I guess we shall have to wait for our letters.  I have written you several letters quite recently and I hope some of them reach you – they have been rather sad affairs Im afraid but Im feeling a bit more cheerful now –  things are straightening out a bit in the Regiment now and we’re getting a few officers and men so that makes me happier. Major Urwick as been given the D.S.O. – isnt that great news and a fine honour no[t] only for himself but for the Regiment as well – he is a very proud man of course – Major Watson1 and Duke2 who went home on leave in Sept. are in the country again and as soon as they rejoin Major Urwick and I are going down to Cairo for a weeks holiday – the General has already sanctioned it – so we shall have a royal time Im sure we are still in the line but the Turk is very quiet and keeps his distance – in spite of the weather the men are in wonderful spirits – one cheery soul outside my dug out is singing now ‘I tiddle dy Ity take me back to Blighty’ – Im sure thems  my sentiments too.

Im longing to hear what you think of all our fighting and the capture of Jerusalem – I havent been to the Holy city yet but Ive been to Jaffa Ramleh and Ludd which are ever so interesting – German banks – hotels & buildings predominate everywhere. Im afraid poor Milsom is still very ill  – Im sorry for his missus who is in New Zealand – she is such a good sort and was ever so good in India. I do hate this war. I think of little Gretchen3 every day and wonder how  she is getting on -I shall have quite a lot of new nephews & nieces to get to know when I do reach home once more.

No more news just now and its getting too dark to write and there are no candles or oil nowadays – so goodnight dear old girl with my very best love.
from Stan

1 Major DS Watson was Mentioned in Dispatches and won the DSO. He joined the Regiment as Lieutenant on April1st 1908 and left with the rank of Lt-Col on August 28th 1923 (BoR pp.73, 74, 120).
2 Capt J Duke was with the Regiment when they left for India in October 1914 and was awarded the Order of the Nile 4th Class from Egypt, and the Order of the Crown of Italy [Chevalier] (BoR pp.l3, 75).
3 Gretchen (Greta Goodland 1889-1968). Her first child was expected in January and there are several references to this event before Stanley received the news. Christine Hyde was born January 8th 1918.

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Background to the 1918 letters

The background to the war in 1918

Allenby’s capture of Jaffa and Jerusalem had met the expectations of those like Lloyd George who believed that on the path to eventual victory there must be an alternative to the attritional slaughter of the Western Front; but there were many imponderables in the first months of 1918. Bolshevik Russia was keen to sue for peace, allowing the Germans to transfer armies from the Eastern Front to France and Belgium and it was not yet clear when the arrival of United States’ forces would introduce a significant new factor to the Western Front. In March 1918 the Germans struck hard and as soon as the massive scale of this offensive was appreciated Allenby was warned that he might be required to spare some of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force for service in France; in the event two divisions left in April and eleven more British battalions and other units in May, a total of nearly 60,000 men. To replace them Allenby was sent an Indian division from Mesopotamia and many more Indian units recently recruited and lacking in battle experience. Much reorganisation and training was now needed to make the depleted E.E.F. capable of launching a full-scale offensive against a tenacious enemy defending well-prepared positions. Not that Allenby allowed the two Corps of the E.E.E to remain inactive. In late March and in late April XX Corps launched major raids to cut the railway at Amman and to convince Liman von Sanders – the hero of Gallipoli who had replaced von Falkenhayn – that when Allenby was ready his main thrust would be East of Jordan. Between the two Transjordan raids XXI Corps, whose left flank guarded the coast, planned an operation in the foothills East of Lydda designed to tear a gap in the enemy’s defences through which the cavalry would pour encircling his front line and capturing Tul Karm, the headquarters and railhead of the Turkish Eighth Army. The ‘Action of Berukin’ as the Official History austerely calls it1, was fought on April 9th, 10th and 11th. The 75th Division, crossing a wide no-man’s land,  advanced against an entrenched enemy defending a country of ravines and steep hills. Two German infantry battalions supported by their own artillery, mortars and machine guns, as well as determined Turkish units, contested every metre of ground; any gains were fiercely counter-attacked before they could be consolidated. A few villages and hilltops were taken and held but the looked-for breakthrough did not materialise and the action was called off; the 75th Division had suffered a total of 1500 casualties.2

 

Over the summer, while his army was re-grouping, Allenby matured his grand strategy. Setting his sights on Damascus, Beirut and Aleppo he intended to clear the enemy not only from Palestine but also from Syria. The lesson of the ‘Action  of Berukin’ was learnt; there would be no more attacks involving only one division. Allenby planned to strike the Turks on the coastal plain with such overwhelming force that there could be no doubt of the breakthrough which would enable the cavalry to rush north up the Plain of Sharon, over the range of hills which runs from south-east to north-west and ends at Mount Carmel overlooking Haifa and so down into the Plain of Esdraelon – all this to be accomplished in a ride of at least fifty miles in twenty-four hours. A series of elaborate deceptions confirmed Liman von Sanders in the belief that Allenby would attack in and to the  East of the Jordan Valley, but with the concentration of his forces near the coast undetected, the onslaught Allenby launched in the early hours of September 19th, initiating what is officially named the Battle of Megiddo, achieved complete surprise. The following morning von Sanders himself was lucky not to have been made prisoner when, unaware of the depth and speed of the British advance he escaped, in his pyjamas, from his headquarters in Nazareth, on the northern side of the Plain of Esdraelon, which had been entered by a troop of Gloucester Hussars.

In France the Allies had recovered the ground surrendered in the Spring and, as the Germans retreated, reached country behind the front-line areas which had not been devastated by four years of trench warfare. In the Balkans the Bulgarians crumpled on the Salonika front and sued for peace on September 29th. Meanwhile Allenby’s cavalry ranged further northwards; Haifa was entered on September 23rd, Damascus a week later, Beirut on October 8th and Aleppo on the 26th. In less than six weeks Allenby’s men had advanced 350 miles – many units covering much greater distances – and taken at least 75,000 prisoners. Threatened by invasion from both the South and the Balkans and aware of Germany’s imminent collapse, Turkey capitulated on October 30th. The political consequences of Allenby’s victory were complex and far-reaching but these were not the concern of the majority of the men under his command, the volunteers and conscripts whose duty had been done and who now longed to return home to India, Australia, the West Indies and the United Kingdom.

Stanley Goodland in 1918: Palestine & Egypt.

From January to April 1918 the 75th Division held its place in the front line due East of Jaffa and North East of Lydda (Ludd). Each infantry battalion took its turn at the front, where no man’s land was wide and activity was confined to patrolling. The 1/5 Somersets gradually returned to full strength, though there were gaps which reinforcements and the returning wounded, now restored to health, could not fill. Stanley Goodland felt deeply the loss of his friends Gerald Banes Walker, killed in the battle for El Jib, and Harry Milsom, wounded and invalided home.

The visit of H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught provided a welcome exception to the routine of divisional duties. Stanley commanded the one hundred strong Guard of Honour at the parade on March 16th at Ramleh (now Ramla). The Duke presented medals to officers and men of the 1/5 Somersets. Major Frank Urwick received the DSO for his distinguished leadership at El Mesmiyeh in November. Captains Goodland and Timms received their MCs, RSM Windows was presented with the Distinguished Conduct Medal, Sgt Collard with the Military Medal and Bar, and Privates Cridland, Greedy, Petvin and Rowseti with Military Medals.3

The 1/5 Somersets were heavily involved in the ‘Action of Berukin,’ which began on April 9th. By 0530 hrs no 4 Company had achieved its objective, the occupation of Rafat and by 0730 nos 1 & 3 Companies had seized the ridge between Rafat and Arara. Arara is ‘a rugged hill, devoid of all vegetation …  it stands out a landmark for miles around, and was a position of great natural strength.’ ‘The prominent ridge [is] fashioned principally from solid rock interspersed with enormous boulders.’ The ridge was taken ‘in the face of heavy M.G. fire, a hostile M.G. being captured by 2/Lt Franks and used to repel a counter-attack.’4 Attempts to capture the South-East peak of Arara were frustrated by the fire of three machine guns on the North-West peak and by enfilading fire from the right. Casualties were heavy. Two subalterns were killed, as were five other ranks. Among the wounded were six officers and seventy-five men.5 Elsewhere along the 75th Division front there were similar stories of merely limited objectives obtained, frequent counter-attacks by a stubborn defence which included two battalions of the German ‘Pasha II’ contingent and severe losses inflicted by well-directed machine gun, mortar and artillery fire.

When the battle was resumed early on April 10th the enemy had been reinforced and had at least six machine guns in position making the Rafat-Arara ridge untenable, so a withdrawal was made that night. On the 11th the Corps Commander, Lt Gen. Bulfin and his Chief of Staff visited the 75th Division and, having seen for themselves that no immediate breakthrough was possible ordered further offensive operations to be postponed.6

The British possession of Rafat, El Kefr and Berukin was still bitterly disputed and desultory fighting continued until September. Through the scorching summer the Somersets were either holding the forward outposts or were bivouacked in ‘rest’ areas, from which large working parties were employed in road building and the construction of a second line of defence. Artillery bombardment caused casualties. For instance at El Kefr on April 30th three men were killed and three more wounded; two more were wounded when the same village was shelled on May 27th. Night patrols were sent out, some leaving propaganda material in places the enemy was known to visit. In July the Battalion was at Deir Ballut where, on the 13th, when Stanley was temporarily in command, an estimated 600 shells were directed onto the area it occupied but the enemy’s attack on Rafat from Arara failed because ‘they were prevented by our artillery from reaching the wire’ 7 In late August the Battalion occupied the Berukin area, remaining there until September 12th, a week before Allenby’s offensive began.

Stanley’s surviving letters provide only a sketchy account of these months of hard campaigning. German and Austrian submarines continued to sink Allied ships in the Mediterranean till the end of the war; letters were damaged or lost.8 There is no reference in the War Diary to Stanley’s reconnaissance work in August but he must have been minutely examining the area in which the 233rd Infantry Brigade would be deployed in the operations on Z Day, September 19th.

Marching only by night, forbidden to light fires, moving to concealed bivouacs in orange groves, the Battalion prepared for Allenby’s greatest ‘stunt’. Two Companies were attached to the 234th Infantry Brigade with the specific task of capturing an advanced Turkish outpost covering Tabsor, about five miles inland from the coast. This mission was speedily accomplished without loss, though two men were killed and five wounded later in the day. By nightfall the re-united Battalion had advanced five miles and become part of Corps reserve.

While the British and Imperial cavalry surged North following Allenby’s spectacular breakthrough the men of the 233rd Infantry Brigade were engaged in maintaining the railway and roads in the Kalkilieh (Qalqilye) area. The most common War Diary entry for October is: ‘The Battalion continued training and bathing’. Stanley Goodland’s departure for temporary duty on the Divisional staff is duly noted, as is his return on November 9th, by which time the Battalion had moved South to Hadithe where it had spent the bedraggled Christmas of 19179. Here the news was received by wire of the German Armistice of November 11th. A party of five officers and fifteen other ranks went to Rafat-Arara to make a cemetery for those killed in the battle there. Sickness was prevalent. The Roll of Honour prints the names of twelve private soldiers who died in the last three months of 1918.10

On December 6th the Battalion was transported by train to Kantara, in the Canal Zone near to Port Said. It was one stage towards home but for Stanley, the Adjutant, the processing of demobilisation papers made for a busy Christmas.

1 Guided by Turkish nomenclature: Cyril Falls, op. cit. Part II, p.350.
2 ibid. p.357.
3 BoR, p.58.
4 2/Lt Franks was awarded the MC. Bn War Diary 22/5/1918.
5 At some stage of this campaign Major Urwick suffered a shrapnel wound. Bn War Diary for  9/4/1918, PRO WO 95 4690.
6 Falls, op. cit. part II, p.356.
7 Bn War Diary 13/7/1918.
8 28 German U-Boats were still operating in the Mediterranean in August 1918: see Halpern, op. cit. p.400.
9 see his letters, 29/10/1918, 31/10/1918 and 4/11/1918
10 BoR, pp. v-ix.

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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

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Xmas day most uncomfortable…

26.12.1917
[censor stamp illegible)

My dear old Elsie
A few days ago I wrote you a very miserable letter and I have regretted it ever since but I do feel most horribly depressed these days and shall have to pull myself together. We spent Xmas day under most uncomfortable circumstances Two days ago the Turks cleared right away from our front and we imagined we should have a nice peaceful Xmas –  but it has simply rained & rained and blown a hurricane – it has really been too wretched for words – we could not get any fires to burn so had no Xmas dinner – today we have moved on again and are just settled in – the sky is just clearing and we long for a fine day tomorrow to dry our soaking blankets  I was thinking of you yesterday and wondering what you were doing and wishing to Goodness the damned old war would stop and allow us to get back to our peaceful life of ages ago again,
Best love dear girl and heaps of good wishes for the New Year

from Stan

 

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these judean hills are bitterly cold

[postmark dated 23 Dec. passed by censor No. 3983)
Dec.21 1917
E.E.F

My dear old Elsie
Many thanks dear girl for your last letter dated Nov. 20th and the Winters Pie and the little book called The Power House which I hope soon to read

I enjoyed the last book you sent me ever so much – the Thirty-Nine Steps – it is so amusing and Major Urwick loved it too The parcel you speak of hasnt turned up yet and I am looking forward to it so much – nothing gives me more pleasure out here as letters and parcels. Well dear we are up in the line again among the noise and horridness of it all and its more hateful than ever – I think I am getting horribly depressed and not at all Xmasy – the losses of the Regiment get on my mind sometimes and make me very fed up – I think I want a change now and shall try to get a week in Cairo again as soon as things are quieter  I have heard from all our wounded officers and they are in hospitals in Cairo and Alexandria  Poor Milsom is having a rotten time and I am feeling very anxious about him he is in Alex and perhaps I shall go there for my leave when I can get it I am always thinking of poor old Banes – he was a real white man and you would have loved him

Winter has set in with a vengeance and it pours with rain most days and the wind in these Judean hills is bitterly cold – thank goodness it only lasts about six weeks and then I expect we shall be cursing the heat again. Since we have been so busy fighting we have had very little news from the outside world – but we hear vague rumours of trouble in Italy1 and still more hopeful rumours of a possible peace – I suppose that’s too good to be true.

I think I wont write any more – Im feeling very sad and Im sure you wont enjoy this letter very much

Best love dear girl

from Stan

1 There were serious anti-war riots in August 1917 and in late October the Italian defeat at Caporetto was followed by a change of Government and High Command.

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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

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Nov. 1st 1917
no address

My dear old Elsie
Very many thanks dear girl for your two nice letters received today. You don’t seem to get many of mine – Im sure Ive written you every week for the last two months and I sent you a cable too when I was on leave in Cairo Theres nothing I want for Xmas dear you have sent me so much that you mustnt really spend any more money on me The book Thirtynine Steps1 came today and Im sure I shall enjoy it when I have time

At present we are all excitement the third great battle of Gaza has already begun – and in a few days time Im sure old England will be ringing with the good news from Palestine. This will probably be the last letter I shall be able to send you dear girl for a little while but I hope you wont worry too much about me Everyone tells me Im a lucky soldier and Ive a sort of feeling that Ill get back safe & sound and well meet again in the glad days which will follow this awful war we [have] been going through some thrilling experiences these past few days and I shall have heaps & heaps new excitements to tell you all about when we do meet again.

We are all full of confidence in our C in C & are looking forward to our advance up through the promised Land Goodbye dear girl with best love
from Stan

1 The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan, published 1915.

Next letter 17th November 2017
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
Available from http://twigabooks.co.uk/ or Amazon