18. Nov. 1915
My dear Family
Thank you very much for all your letters. Mothers, Fathers Cecily’s, & Odds & also for copies of G’s & for an excellent ham. Also for ordering the stick for Tommy. I am sorry I forgot his address. Also for London Opinion from Cecily, this on several occasions & the Autocar from Mother.
We are still in the trenches and are to remain now till Monday when I believe the Division is going back into reserve for a short time, but this is why the present intent is & will probably be altered dozens of times before the day.
The weather is cold but there is a little less rain & we are beginning to get the trenches into some sort of order again. I have been round once or twice lately by night & before dawn & it has been perfect as we are in the top of a slight rise & as the moon has been very bright there has been a fine view.
By day one gets a very good view from behind our trenches over a very large expanse of that country.
I am v. glad to hear G&W are coming home, as they ought to have a respite from their uncivilized existence for a bit.
We get all the sandbags we want now & the only difficulty is to fill them as the only ingredients we have are mud & water or ice according as they are filled by day or night.
I enclose a letter from G. which explains how she got fever & I hope you will strafe her according. I am afraid Father is having a bad time with all his clerks away. I hope the female element are coming up to the scratch.
There is nothing much doing here at the moment they are stirring up the Hun with all the machine guns we have in the neighbourhood. I doubt it is of any use & we shall probably get some infernal machines thrown back at us in return, but by that time the Brigade Machine Gun officer who arranged the show will have gone back to bed. We shall have to institute a rule that these officials who do these things stay on in the trenches for an hour or two after they have finished to see what
sho sort of gifts are sent us in return. As a matter of fact they have just started shelling the front lines somewhere up our way & I hope they are near the B.M.G.O
Love from Jack.
P.S. G. appears to want a photo of me. Is there one she can have?
In the three days between his letters, the battalion has taken twelve casualties. Eleven were from shell-fire and one was an N.C.O. shot by a sniper. Peirs does not talk much of casualties, his focus instead on the routine they have formed in the trenches, and trying to make their day-to-day struggles known to his family. He makes the distinction between the uncivilized front and civilized home front, a one made more apparent when he describes the strange life he has made for himself underground. Middle class civilians like his family would have known nothing of the difficulties of bracing trench walls, saps, or filling sandbags with nothing more stable then mud. Peirs was their lens to this world.
Peirs has a sharp sense of humor, one that is growing somewhat darker with his service. His frustration about the Brigade Machine Gun Officer (BMGO) comes through in his sarcasm about him stirring up the Germans to retaliate against their lines. His first concern is the minimizing of casualties and he clearly sees no purpose in instigating a bombardment upon their lines.