19. 8. 1916.
My dear Mother,
Several days post has arrived in one & I have letters from you & Cecily to acknowledge also some papers.
I am glad to hear you talking about a holiday as I am sure you & Father both need one & now the family is away you have got a chance. Will you take the pram or isnt it worth while. I hear that if you put in 1/5th of paraffin to 4/5th petrol it makes no difference except in smell & goes further, so it
might be worth a trial. The weather is fine but the nights are getting a bit chilly. Things are fairly busy just now.
Love to all
In this letter, Peirs continues to fret about the family car. He does not indicate any information of military importance. We simply don’t know at all what he has been up to since his last letter, which was also pretty sparse, so his family has little idea as to how he is faring on the Somme front.
So what does he mean that things are fairly busy at the moment?
The 8th Queen’s were in trenches near Talus Boisee. From August 11th to the 14th they were subjected to significant shelling and took 86 casualties out of a total trench strength of 382 men. They were then pulled into a new position along the same line in support of the 9th East Surreys, who attacked a German strong point which they failed to capture.
So Peirs and his men were moving around in rotation in the trenches and under bombardment from the 11th onwards. This explains the brevity of the letter, but also, why he doesn’t relay any information to his mother as they were actively moving from trench to trench in support of other battalions who were either planning or initiating attacks.
From our science consultant: Adding paraffin to petrol probably would have worked to stretch the pram’s fuel supply. Paraffin has more energy stored in it than petrol and at only 20% of the mixture, would dissolve into the fuel.