I recently discovered in the papers of my great grandfather, Corporal John Goode variously of the 48th, 54th and 41st Foot a poem about the massacre of the Brits in 1841/2 together with an account of the wanderings of his regiment from Belgaum to Upper Seinde until they finally became part of the Army of Retribution which laid waste villages and the Bazaar in Kabul, returned via the Khyber Pass and on their return to England marched through Canterbury on 19th October 1843. John was illiterate and therefore couldn't have written this himself. he also didn't participate in the Retribution because he came back to England and was discharged as medically unfit in 1842.So I'm intrigued as to how this original account and poem came to be in his possession.
My first question is whether the poem is well known -I assume so. It begins Now gather round all you Brtons bold / while I relate a tale/which will your stout hearts fill with grief/and make your cheeks grow pale. Would there have been scribes who reproduced this in the absence of copying machines? The long account of the campaign begins I now take up my pen to write an account of my travels in Seinde and Afghanistan and starts from receiving instructions on 26 September 1840 to move from Belgaum to Seinde. As I mentioned John Goode was probably there in the early stages during 1841 but was in in Bombay from the beginning of 1842 prior to his return to UK. Is it likely that accounts of this kind circulated widely or is this one likely to be unique.
I 'd welcome any information from the experienced guys on this site which might help me understand how these documents came to be in John Goode 's possession.