My dear Family,
I am much obliged for letters from Mother Cecily & Olive received on Sunday or Monday.
I think I wrote last on Sunday, since when things have run a normal course. On Sunday we fired our tie in the Tile competition against the 1st. I. V. Staffs, but they were much too good for our blokes & in addition were firing on their own range.
On Monday we had a route march
Yesterday we got up a cross country run about 1 ½ miles to select a team to go in for an inter. battalion show later on. We got about 150 to start & about a half finished. I started them & kept with them & came in first, but as I had the sense to go on horse-back it didn’t count.
To-day we had some rather dull lectures on machine guns, but they didn’t tell us anything new
One of the Divisional Staff was worth watching, as he went obviously to sleep & then woke up with a start, hastily made a note in a large book & then went to sleep again. The Staff surpass themselves sometimes. We have lately dug some trenches here which are copies of a German trench somewhere & are supposed to be typical – the idea being that when dug we should practise attacking them. As time is limited we have only dug them about 2 ft. deep & of course it is no use practicing an attack when you can see what everyone else is doing, to practicing one in trenches 8 ft. deep when you can see nothing. So the staff brilliantly suggest that the men should pull their caps over their eyes and be
told put on their honour not to look around them. I think this is the G. O. C.’s brilliant idea & having given birth to it, he has gone on leave to recover & I don’t blame him.
Peter Bye has returned to-night so I shall resume my normal function’s to-morrow, when we are going to be gassed in a trench to see what its like
Lets hope my helmet tube gas G. S. No 1 hasn’t got a hole in it
Love to all
This is an interesting glimpse of the various things that a battalion did when training out of the lines. Peirs mentions a number of different activities: a shooting competition with a neighboring battalion, a cross-country run (of only 1.5 miles distance, which his men clearly had trouble completing, not Peirs though as he was on horseback), lectures, and the digging of a mock German trench. Peirs’s sense of humor comes through in the way in which he describes the staff and the ridiculous image of men pulling their caps over their eyes and with the curt way he ends the letter:
to-morrow … we are going to be gassed in a trench to see what its like. Lets hope my helmet tube gas G. S. No 1 hasn’t got a hole in it
Let’s hope so too.