Peirse was a British Air Marshal who served as Deputy Chief of Air Staff at the beginning of World War II, becoming ViceChief in 1940. In the same year he succeeded PORTAL as Commander in Chief of RAF Bomber Command but inadequate radar equipment, lack of crew training, and a high casualty rate which resulted from night operations under such conditions led to his leaving the post in January 1942.
He was subsequently appointed Air Officer Commanding in India where his initial task was to plan the reorganization and expansion of his units. A new Bengal Command was established to facilitate operations in Northeast India. On his return from the Washington Conference in May 1943, he speeded up preparations for the China airlift in Assam. In November 1943 he was appointed Allied Air Commander in Chief of Southeast Asia Command and coordinated air transport and supplies for the British offensive to retake Burma. He retired in November 1944.