In his March 21st letter Peirs mentions that he might have to go up to the front lines for a day or so. This is the beginning of his role in the defense and retreat from Le Verguier. We have been studying the military action at Le Verguier for the past week on the ground in France. You can access video and learn the details in our Facebook and Twitter feeds.
The few days following that letter on March 21 were grueling long days with very little sleep, high rates of causalities among the Queen’s. Many who survived were no doubt troubled by the experience in which they had just gone through where so many of their comrades were killed and captured at Le Verguier. They were also tired; in their retreat, the Battalion marched around 50 miles between the early morning of March 21 and March 26. Their much-depleted force retreated under repeated attack, changing orders, and with very little rest.
On March 25 the Queen’s were ordered to support a French attack along the Somme. The attack never took place and while another British division was retreating through their lines, the 8th attempted to stay in position and defend the town of Omiecourt. They fought in the open—fired on by machine guns from the front while a heavy bombardment fell behind them – and the situation was desperate.
Peirs was shot in the left forearm, but stayed at his post and helped to organize the retreat through Omiecourt under heavy shelling. The telegram here informed his parents he was wounded in the line of duty.
To follow the retreat from Le Verguier and the route that Peirs took from Omiecourt to the hospital at Camiers and finally to London to recuperate from his wound visit our interactive 1918 map.