25 March 1916 – To Odile

Peirs_Le_1916-03-25_Odile_01 Peirs_Le_1916-03-25_Odile_02


8th Queens
B. E. F.
25. 3. 1916.

My dear Odd,

It was so good to see your fist again. Thanks so much, dearie, for writing, as you write such a lot that I wonder you have time to do anything else. Also please thank Mother for an Autocar & Cecily for some periodicals & Mrs. Barrow for a pair of socks. A cake arrived to-day also for which I offer my best thanks, but it is of the currant & almond variety & not sponge to which you refer, so I daresay yours are on the way, unless perchance they are the real cause of the sinking of the Sussex in mid-channel, being so solid. However I will wait & see. I have been sitting on the seat of justice to-day, [illegible] on a Court Martial & dole out varying terms of oakum picking, floggings, & in one case a bath of boiling oil. To-morrow I am going up to look at our new positions & the day after we go in

I gather that the district is quite pleasant & you can be out & bask in the sun even 30 yards behind the front line & at the back you can do exactly as you like except on the rare days when the Hun gets busy when you retire below & meditate.

This is the last page of my writing block, so I cant write any more, which is a better excuse for ceasing to write than you can give, my fair one.

I hope D. W., W. P., & if there is no exceptional strafing & the leave boats are running & I don’t get torpedoed in the channel, to meet you all on Saturday next – I trust it will not prove an April fool. anyhow wd. someone mind taking an appointment with G. Hern Esq. during the week following & I want to see Caroline & A Kiss for Cinderella somehow. Will someone get me a ticket or two for these. I will stand the racket & take you all to both if you will come.

Love to all



In many of his letters to his three sisters, Peirs adopts a more lighthearted and humorous tone than the informational one he often uses when writing to his parents. He is particularly apt to joke in his correspondence to his sister Odile, with whom he enjoyed an especially close relationship. Nicknames were popular among the Peirs siblings, and Jack often addresses his sister by the family nickname “Odd,” as in this letter of 25 March 1916. The letter contains several gentle jibes at the infrequency of her letters to him, as well as a self-deprecating account of his own pretensions as an officer of Court Marital. His cheerful attitude is likely motivated by not only his desire to reassure his sister of his safety but also the prospect of approaching leave, as he anticipates meeting the family “on Saturday next.”

In characteristic fashion, Peirs uses light treatment of a serious subject in order to deter his family’s potential worries. In this case, he cracks a joke at his sister’s expense while acknowledging the German sinking of the French ferry the Sussex in the English Channel. He quickly moves on to a more exciting topic, providing a humorous report on his current station and signifying that while he is aware of recent events, he feels no qualms about returning home by ship. He clearly looks forward to seeing his family, making plans to attend several shows and wryly promising to “stand the racket & take you all to both if you will come.”

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