My dear Mother,
Many thanks for your letter of the 6th also for a further copy of the Autocar, & for a large parcel from the J. A. & N. C. S. L. containing eatables. I have not seen K. of K. about here though I shouldn’t be surprised if he turned up to see if there is a 24th Division & if so what it is doing. They say he has gone to Russia. I saw the wireless news yesterday & it was very encouraging about Serbia. there is a wireless station close to our Brigade office & they pick it up there every night at midnight when it is sent out from Poldhu, so in this way we are kept up to date.
We were relieved last night & I got back about 2 a. m. & so to bed, a perfect night for a ride only a trifle cold but the stars were magnificent. Of course this morn. more rain, which we have had to-day plus a S. E. wind so the camp is getting back into its former condition & we really hoped it was beginning to get dry.
It was rather a fine effect as we came back as we had to ride parallel to the line only about 3 miles behind it & all the way along the star lights, which the Bosches send up continuously, made the place like a Brocks benefit for our partic-ular edification.
By the way if you get a chance you ought to have a run in the pram to St. Martha’s Guildford. They have planted trees in pots all over the roof & all round it so that the Zepps can’t find it & the effect is ludicrous from the sketch I have seen.
You allude to the 17th as going East. I don’t know whether you mean Brigade or Division, but the 17th Division is in this village & have only rumours at present, as have among others including us, that they are going I don’t myself believe that any of them will be going & I certainly hope not as there will be all the more for us to do.
You would not expect to meet many new people in the trenches but it is extraordinary how people crop up. What with the Trench Mortar Man & Brigade Bombing Officers & other officials Gunner Observation Officers there is a constant stream of strangers in & out. Yesterday I found a new sort, viz. a motor machine gun officer, who having nothing else to do has been told off to strafe the Huns from eligible points behind our lines. The trench mortar man is not popular, as he only deals in things about 20 lbs in weight & having worked his works he packs up & goes off and in about 1/2 hours he is answered by numerous
[illegible] 100 lb. bombs which we have to put up with.
I am told that the average Trench Mortar Man is the most dismal being in the neighbourhood, as we all hate him so. All these officials of course are in addition to the ordinary routine of Brigade Divisional & Corps Brass hats, all of whom have something of their own to recommend. One of them told me the other day that it was curious how everyone regarded them as an inevitable nuisance, when they are only too anxious to help.
Peirs wrote two letters home on Nov 9, 1915. One was to his father and it pertained to a specific matter of purchasing a wedding gift for a friend. This letter (above), to his mother, has a bit of grousing in it and is much more personal. Like most of us, Peirs had a different relationship with his mother than his father, and he seems to reserve a good bit of his sense of humor for her.
In this letter he responds to her letters where she inquires about specific troop movements and reports of Kitchener visiting the front lines. We don’t have her letter (Peirs burned his family’s letters when he got them in the trenches), but we can get this much out it from his response.
Peirs had a difficult week. He had to move the battalion out of the line (in terrible conditions) and into a new rest area and make sure everything was sorted. In the process of doing so, he kept running into staff officers and commanders (brass hats), whom he finds a nuisance to getting his job done.
He also had disparaging things to say about trench mortar officers who set up their mortars, fire off their rounds, and then clear up and leave. When the Germans retaliate against the mortars, they do so on the infantry who don’t have the luxury of leaving their post. Hence why Peirs describes the trench mortar men as ‘the most dismal men in the neighborhood’.