My dear Father,
Many thanks for yours, Cecily’s & mother’s all received to-day.
As Cecily will understand, we saw Horace, looking rather ill I thought, but I told you about it in my previous efforts.
Since then he has come an almighty clump off his horse, but apparently he is getting better. Young Horace looked very flourishing & well fed, but the poor lad should never walk on such occasions, as he waddles like a duck.
The new C. O, Tringham by name & a D. S. O. from the 2nd Battln., turned up yesterday when in the trenches & should do us very well. He knows his job inside out. I knew him slightly before as he was adjt. of the 3rd Battln. just when I left. He is an O. C. so will appear in my register.
We were relieved last night & are now back in camp resting. The camp is a sea of mud exactly like Shoreham, but as it is raining hard, they can’t drag us forth to drill, so the men are actually getting a bit of rest which is more than I expected for them.
I pity the regiment who has relieved us as they must be sw – I mean perspiring like little beavers to hold the blooming place up. However their Hqrs are better off than us, as they have a table & chairs & I am perforce writing this by the light of a solitary candle while at full length on my valise. Hence the more than usually undecipherable words.
I am very glad the pram is in full working order. The other delicacies socks mittens or comforters have not yet arrived but I shall easily find a use for them when they do.
I know to-night that one of our Sergeants has got the D. C. M. for that Hulluch business. They have given 3 to the Brigade.
I must now cease, as dinner is ready & I have a Court Martial to run to-morrow & must study the particulars, & decide whether to hang draw or quarter the victims or only give them p. s. for life.
On the 31st the 8th Queen’s were relieved and came out of the trenches after a peaceful but soggy spell that was mostly spent repairing the collapsing walls of their muddy home. As Peirs indicates, the trenches, despite their efforts, remained in a sorry state. The men were, no doubt, happy to be pulled out on November 1st though they returned to a very muddy relief camp, which according to the war diary, had hot baths ready for weary and dirty soldiers.
Though he initially hoped to be put into command of his battalion, Peirs is happy with the choice of his new commanding officer Lt. Col. A.M. Tringham, D.S.O. with whom he seems to have confidence.
Two other points of interest. Peirs refers to one of their NCOs getting the DCM for ‘that Hulluch business’ or their fight on the second day of Loos. One gets the impression that he is pleased that one of their own is to be decorated, but that the battle is not being recalled positively in his memory. For past month he has tried to rebuild the battalion after it was mauled in their failed attack on September 26th, so the ‘Hulluch business’ has been on his mind daily since then as he arranged for new drafts to replace wounded and killed soldiers. He also mentions in this letter presiding over a court martial, which was a normal part of office life, particularly for a man with legal training.