Research & Discussion
Fayez al-Ghussein and T. E. Lawrence
By Nadeem Elissa
Note on sources
Except where otherwise stated, this article consists of direct and paraphrased translations from Fayez al-Ghussein, Muthakarati 'An al-Thawrah al-'Arabiyyah [My Memoirs of the Arab Revolt] (2 vols. Damascus, Ibn Zaidoon Press, 1939/1970, cited hereafter as AGI and AGII). Other information also comes from these volumes.
Other sources quoted:
T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The Complete 1922 Text (Library Edition, Castle Hill press, 2003) cited as SP22
Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926 subscribers' abridgement, London, Jonathan Cape, 1935) cited as SP35
Hanna Abi Rashid, Jabal al-Druze [The Druze Mountain] (2nd ed. Beirut, Maktabat al-Fikr al-'Arabi, 1961) cited as HAR
Fayez al-Ghussein came from al-Lajjaah in Hawran (Syria). AG1 p.3. He was born in 1883 and died on 16 March 1968. AGII p.609. He attended the tribal school in Istanbul created by the Ottoman Turkish Government for the education of the sons of tribal sheikhs. This indicates that he belonged to an important Bedouin tribe. Before the beginning of the First World War he was a member of a secret society1 working towards the independence of the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire. A lawyer by profession, he was arrested by the Turks on 23 July 1915 and sent to a military prison in 'Aleyh (Lebanon). He was later exiled to Diar Bakr (Turkey) where he arrived on 12 August 1915. Six months later, on 27 February 1916, he fled.2
His route took him across the Syrian dessert through Kurdish and Bedouin Arab tribal territories in present-day Syria and Iraq. It took him seventy days to walk or ride from Diar Bakr to Basra. The first British officer he met was Captain Eady, at Nassiriyyah, who sent him on to Basra where he met Sir Percy Cox and Gertrude Bell. All where very kind to him and directed him to join the Arab Revolt together with other Arab officers and soldiers who were captured or defected from the Turkish army. He finally left Basra for Bombay on Monday 24 July 1916. AGI p.157. He states that he spent two months and six days in Basra.
He stayed in Bombay for forty-six days, leaving on Saturday 16 September AGI p.179, and arriving in Jeddah on Monday 25 September. He did not land in Jeddah but left the following day by ship for Rabegh, which he reached before sunset that evening. Here he met Emir 'Ali,3 Emir Zayd and Nouri al-Sa'id. He left Rabegh after three days and arrived back in Jeddah on Tuesday 3 October. AGI p.192.
On Friday 6 October he performed the Hajj ceremonies, and he left Mecca for Jeddah on Saturday 14 October. AGI p.228. On Tuesday 17 October he left Jeddah for Rabegh on board the British ship Lama, where he met Ronald Storrs and T.E. Lawrence. This is the first time he met Lawrence and mentioned him in his memoirs. As his memoirs were written in 1939, he described Lawrence as 'Mr. Lawrence the English leader [sic]' AGI p. 229.4
In Seven Pillars of Wisdom Lawrence mentions this meeting at Rabegh: 'Another friend at court was Faiz el Ghusein, a secretary. He was a Sulut Sheikh from the Hauran, and a former official of the Turkish Government, who had escaped across Armenia during the war and had eventually reached Miss Gertrude Bell in Basra. She had sent him on to me with a warm recommendation'. SP35 p.76. Lawrence is incorrect in this introductory description of Fayez al-Ghussein. He might have been a Sulut Sheikh, but he had not worked for the Turkish Government. He did travel from Diar Bakr to Basra across the Syrian Desert, but that area was not known as Armenia, though Armenians lived in parts of it. There may have been a letter of recommendation, but Fayez al-Ghussein does not mention it in his memoirs. These minor points are of no great importance.
It is hoped, however, that the wealth of specific dates mentioned by Fayez al-Ghussein can fill some gaps in the itinerary and chronology (which begin on Monday 1 January 1917) that Lawrence provides in Seven Pillars. SP35 p.664.
Fayez al-Ghussein is mentioned in the first published edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1935); specifically on pages 76, 122, 124, 146, 174, 222 and 379 5. Comparing these references to the complete 1922 text of Seven Pillars shows the differences indicated below.
|1926 subscribers' abridgement, (first published for general circulation in 1935)||The complete 1922 text (subscribers' library Edition, 2003; trade edition, 2004)|
|Chapter X, p. 76||same in Chapter 12, p. 59|
|Chapter XIX, p. 122||same in Chapter 21, p. 111|
|Chapter XIX, p. 124||same in Chapter 21, p. 113|
|Chapter XXIV, p. 146||same in Chapter 26, p. 140|
|[omitted]||Chapter 32, p. 176 'in 1915 he [Nuri] and Feisal had made an accord, by means of Faiz el Ghusein, then a Turkish official and Feisal's secret representative. When the Arab Revolt began...'|
|Chapter XXX, p. 174: 'Now, from Wejh, Faiz el Ghusein went up to him and on the way crossed ibn Dughmi...'||Chapter 32, p. 177: 'Now, early in February, Faiz el Ghusein went up to him with ibn Dakhil from Wejh, and on the way crossed ibn Dughmi..."|
|Chapter XXXVIII, p. 222: 'We were a cheerful party; Nasib, Faiz, Mohammed el Dheilan...||Chapter 40, p. 229: "We were a cheerful party, Nesib el Bekri, Faiz el Ghusein, Mohammed el Dheilan..."|
|Chapter LXX, p. 388: 'Faiz el Ghusein had gone into the Lejah to prepare for action against the Hauran Railway if the signal came"||Chapter 127, p. 434: 'Faiz el Ghusein had gone into the Leja to prepare his Sulut tribesmen (whose strategic position gave them a value quite disproportionate to their number) for action against the Hauran Railway if the signal came".|
|[omitted]||Chapter 133, p. 733: 'The teaching and preaching of Ali ibn el Husein, Nesib el Bekri, and Faiz el Ghusein, in Jebel Druse and elsewhere, was at last bearing fruit.'|
On arrival in Rabegh on Thursday morning 19 October 1916, Fayez al-Ghussein met Emir 'Ali and Emir Zayd and Nouri al-Sa'id. After the arrival of 'Aziz 'Ali al-Masri, 'they discussed the formation of the army and its divisions. From what was available, a whole Division was created complete with its officers, soldiers, artillery and machine guns with Tawfiq al-Hamawi in command of the 1st Battalion and [Sayyid] Rashid in command of the 2nd Battalion. Nouri al-Sa'id was appointed Chief of Staff.' AGI p.229. It is assumed that Lawrence was present in this meeting and took part in the discussions and decisions taken.
It is interesting to note the salary scale of the newly formed army. Fayez al-Ghussein gives it in the table below. All figures are in English sovereigns and assumed to be per month AGI p.230.:
|'Aziz 'Ali al-Masri Minister for War||80.00|
|Nouri al-Sa'id Chief of Staff||40.00|
|Divisional Commanders and old Captains||25.00|
|Captain [Yuz Bashi] and 1st Lieutenants||17.00|
|1st Lieutenant and 2nd Lieutenant||12.00|
|Cavalry officer [sic]||8.00|
On Tuesday 3 October 1916 a major altercation occurred between Emir 'Ali and the Arab officers, because of an insignificant incident in which a Bedouin soldier was put in detention for disobeying orders. He wrote a letter to Emir 'Ali who ordered his release. This action infuriated the Arab officers who submitted their resignations and requested their return to the countries where they had been recruited. To add to the complication, the British liaison officer Colonel Parker has sent Emir 'Ali a memorandum advising him to speed up the construction of the Rabegh defences as information received indicated a major Turkish offensive in this sector. The incident ended peacefully. AGI p.236.
On Thursday 2 November 1916 Sharif Hussein was proclaimed King of the Arabs. AGI p.232. The British did not recognize this title, and continued to refer to him as King of the Hijaz.
Fayez al-Ghussein wrote to Emir Faisal requesting to become his secretary. The reply, received on Saturday 4 November 1916, was an invitation to join Faisal's camp. AGI pp.239-240. He left Rabegh on Monday 6 November to join Emir Faisal, AGI p.240 arriving at Faisal's camp at Bir Sa'id on Wednesday 8 November. AGI p.245. He then began work as Faisal's secretary at Bir Sa'id.
At this point, a word of explanation might be in order. The dated entries that follow began when Fayez al-Ghussein joined Faisal's camp and became his secretary. These entries are generally a few paragraphs long, but in some cases a few pages. They contain a varied amount of information, most of which might be very interesting, but perhaps not of particular interest to the reader of this article. It was therefore necessary to make a judgement about what to include.
Whenever a specific date and place is mentioned in the memoirs it is noted, if only to fix that date and place in the general itinerary of al-Ghussein, Lawrence, Faisal or other well known figures in the Arab Revolt such as Nouri al-Sai'd, Rasim Saradast, Storrs, Wilson, Newcombe, 'Aziz 'Ali al-Masri, and Emir 'Abdallah.
Where al-Ghussein mentions a particularly interesting incident, the reference has been paraphrased and translated and attached to the relevant date. Directly translated passages are reproduced within quotation marks.
Square brackets [ ] have been used where further explanation seemed useful, or to draw attention to specific points. This alternative to footnotes breaks the monotony of successive date listings, while maintaining the sequence of information. Square brackets are also used for the name of the day of the week or the Christian date if the writer gave only the Hijri date.
Towards the end of the article, especially where Lawrence features more prominently, a few major headings used by al-Ghussein in his memoirs have been retained.
9 November 1916. [Thursday]. [Bir Sa'id]. With Mawlud Mukhlis and Rasheed al-Madfa'i to visit the Egyptian officers. AGI p.252.
10 November 1916. Friday. Few Turkish prisoners brought in. AGI p.253.
11 November 1916. [Saturday]. Letters written to 'Abd al-Rahman Shahbandar and Ibrahim Thabit in answer to letters received. AGI p.253.
12 November 1916. [Sunday]. With Mawlud [Mukhlis] and Rasheed [al-Madfa'i]. More Turkish prisoners brought in with intelligence. AGI p.254.
13 November 1916. [Monday]. Bedouin leaders and their men come to pay fealty to Faisal. This day was also consecrated to pay homage to Sharif Hussein and proclaim him King of the Arabs. AGI p.254.
14 November 1916. Tuesday. Travelled with Emir Faisal from Bir Sa'id to Yanbo' [al-Bahr]. AGI p.255.
15 November 1916. Wednesday. Arrived at Yanbo' [al-Bahr]. Met Major Garland who came to Yanbo' to teach the Arabs and the army the use of dynamite to blow bridges and trains moving between Damascus and Medina. He has most of the credit in teaching the Arabs [meaning Bedouins and regular Arab soldiers in Faisal's Arab Army] and others in the use of dynamite AGI p. 256.6
15 November 1916. [Wednesday]. Boarded British ship Sikosia, the cleanest ship I ever saw. AGI p.257.
16 November 1916. [Thursday]. Arrived at Rabegh after sunrise. Three British and three French ships at Rabegh. Emir Faisal and Emir 'Ali met and the Arab army was paraded. AGI p.258.
17 November 1916. Friday. Boarded British ship Suva and sailed to Yanbo' al-Bahr. Arrived the same day after sunset. AGI pp.259-60.
[18 November 1916. Saturday]. Stayed in Yanbo' al-Bahr. One British and one French ships were in Yanbo' al-Bahr. AGI p.261.
20 November 1916. Sunday. [Actually it was Monday]. Moved with Emir Faisal after sunrise from Yanbo' al-Bahr to Bir Sa'id. AGI p.262.
21 November 1916. [Tuesday]. In Bir Sa'id. Met by Emir Zayd accompanied by Dr. Hassan Sharaf and officer Salim al-Madfa'i. AGI p.262.
22 November 1916. [Wednesday]. [Bir Sa'id]. Many Bedouin tribes came to join Faisal's army and pay homage. Emir Faisal ordered the Egyptian force to go ahead to Yanbo' al-Nakhl. Rasheed al-Madfa'i returned to Rabegh. AGI p.262.
24 November 1916. [Friday]. Moved from Bir Sa'id to Wasit. Stayed for a while and moved towards Yanbo' al-Nakhl (a wadi with numerous villages, springs, date trees) and slept the night at Bir Jabr. AGI p.263.
25 November 1916. Friday. [Actually it is Saturday]. Moved from Bir Jabr and arrived about noon at Umm al-Njeel and continued to al-Suwayqah al-Harbiyyah and reached it in the afternoon. This area belongs to the tribe of Juhainnah extending from Yanbo' al-Bahr to Medina. AGI pp.263-4.
25 November 1916. Saturday. Camels taken from the Turks were brought in and confirmation of victory near Medina. Emir Faisal used to give one English pound for a captured enemy rifle, two pounds for a killed Turk and half a pound for a pistol. The Bedouins were coming daily to bring in their captured booty and claim their reward. AGI p.265.
27 November 1916. [Monday]. More Bedouin tribes come to pay homage to Faisal. Moved to Khaif Hassan, village in wadi Yanbo' al-Nakhl. Spent the night. AGI p.267.
28 November 1916. Tuesday. [Khaif Hassan]. News of military activities and intelligence reports coming to Emir Faisal's camp. AGI p.270.
29 November 1916. [Wednesday]. [Khaif Hassan]. Letter arrived from Sharif Nasir advising that Suleiman bin Rifadah colluded with the Turks against the Sharif [Nasir] and that he is arming the Bedouins. AGI p.270.
30 November 1916. Thursday. [Khaif Hassan]. Battle took place between Bani 'Amr and the Turks in Wadi al-Safra (a day's march from Bir Sa'id). Mawlud Mukhlis returned from Yanbo' and artillery officer Rasim Saradast came with him together with his artillery. AGI p.271.
The first volume ends abruptly, with probably a page missing from the end. The page numbering of the second volume confirms this. Al-Ghussein's daughter in Damascus published the second volume of his memoirs posthumously in 1970. The contents of Volume II had been serialized during her father's lifetime in al-Qabas newspaper in Damascus. AGI p.608. After providing an introduction summarizing the first volume, the story continues along the same lines as the first volume, starting with page number 274.
The first entry in Volume II of al-Ghussein's memoirs is dated 5 December 1916. Lawrence is mentioned more frequently in this volume. Paragraphs that either mention him directly or give an indication of important dates have been translated.
5 December 1916. [Tuesday]. [Nakhl Mbarak]. General fear of a Turkish attack. It appears from intelligence reports that the Turks have attacked and taken over Bir Sa'id, but did not stay there. Fakhri Pasha sent threatening letters to Bedouin tribal leaders to join the Turks, but all answered showing their loyalty to the Arab Revolt. AGII p.275.
6 December 1916. Wednesday. [Nakhl Mbarak]. There was a general alert of a Turkish attack. The camp was mobilised. Sharif 'Abd al-Mun'im and officer 'Abdallah al-Dulaimi arrived with Maxim machine guns sent by the English to Sharif Faisal's army. AGII p.277.
7 December 1916. [Thursday]. [Nakhl Mbarak]. News from Medina that a Turkish plane flew over the town and crashed. A report confirmed that the Turks advanced on our positions and stopped two hours from us at Mreikh. AGII p.278. Officers of the Egyptian Force, artillery officer Rasim Saradast, machine gun officer 'Abdallah al-Dulaimi and Mawlud [Mukhlis] met to consider the situation. Went with a scouting mission but was ordered back by Faisal. AGII p.281.
8 December 1916. [Friday]. [Nakhl Mbarak]. The Turks advanced on our positions from Mreikh and a major battle ensued all day. In the evening Faisal ordered the army to retreat to Yanbo' [al-Bahr]. AGII pp.283-6.
9 December 1916. [Saturday]. [Yanbo' al-Bahr]. Entered Yanbo' al-Bahr after marching part of last night. AGII p.290.
10 December 1916. [Sunday]. [Yanbo']. Aerial reconnaissance showed that the Turks were advancing on Yanbo'. In spite of all preparations, great fear was still felt in the camp. British ships lying anchored in the roadstead opposite Yanbo' al-Bahr. AGII p.291.
11 December 1916. [Monday]. [Yanbo']. Preparations made for the defence of Yanbo'. Our planes bombed the Turkish forces. News coming from Europe that Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria died. AGII p.293.
12 December 1916. [Tuesday]. [Yanbo' al-Bahr]. Aziz 'Ali al-Masri came from Egypt to assess the situation. A telegram was sent to Sharif 'Ali to move two stages towards Medina to threaten Fakhri Pasha's army from the rear. I handed this telegram to Major Garland to be sent by the ship's wireless. 'Aziz 'Ali al-Masri left in the afternoon by sea to Rabegh. AGII p.294.
13 December 1916. [Wednesday]. [Yanbo' al-Bahr]. Storrs came to Yanbo and met Emir Faisal for a long time. He left the same day for Egypt. It was rumoured that Fakhri Pasha came to [Nakhl] Mbarak to organize the attack on Yanbo' [al-Bahr]. The situation is very critical. AGII p.295.
14 Dec. 1916. [Thursday]. [Yanbo' al-Bahr]. News came that the Turks started to retreat from Wadi Yanbo' [al-Nakhl]. AGII p.296.
16 December 1916. [Saturday]. [Yanbo' al-Bahr]. Two planes reconnoitre the Turkish positions. The Turks retreated towards Wadi al-Hamra. Fifty Turkish soldiers remained at Bir Sa'id. AGII p.297. Captain Lawrence arrived from Egypt. Strong rumours that the Turks are about to attack. Preparations made. AGII p.298.
17 December 1916. [Sunday]. [Yanbo' al-Bahr]. A serious fight erupted between the 'Uqail and the 'Utaibah. AGII p.299.
18 December 1916. [Monday]. [Yanbo' al-Bahr]. Intelligence received that the Turks left Wadi Yanbo' completely and are now concentrated at Bir Sa'id. AGII pp.300-301.
19 December 1916. [Tuesday]. [Yanbo' al-Bahr]. Confirmed reports received that the Turks withdrew from Wadi Yanbo' and Bir Sa'id and from Wadi al-Hamra towards Medina. AGII p.303.
20 December 1916. [Wednesday]. [Yanbo' al-Bahr]. Accompanied Major Gorland [he probably means Garland] on the British ship Dafishin [he probably means Dufferin]. The ship was on its way to Rabegh and Jeddah. AGII p.304.7
21 December 1916. [Thursday]. [Rabegh]. Reached Rabegh with Major Garland and went to meet Col. Wilson [Pasha], British Agent in Jeddah. Took French frigate Buto directly to Suez without passing Jeddah. AGII p.305.
22 December 1916. [Friday]. On our way to Suez, the ship stopped for target practice. AGII p.306.
23 December 1916. [Saturday]. [Suez]. Arrived at Suez at 6:00 p.m. AGII p.306.
24 December 1916. [Sunday]. [Suez and Cairo]. Took the train from Suez to Cairo. Reached Cairo after sunset. Stayed at York House and met 'Abd al-Rahman Shahbandar, Salah al-Deen al-'Athm and Jamil Mardam. AGII p.307.
25 December 1916. [Monday]. [Cairo]. Visited al-Manar [Newspaper] and met Rasheed Rida. AGII p.308.
[Fayez al-Ghussein states that he stayed in Cairo over twenty days. He visited the Savoy Hotel and met Cornwallis and General Clayton who asked him to go to el-'Arish to meet Bedouin tribal sheikhs. He requested permission from Emir Faisal who sent him the necessary authorization. AGII p.309.
He stayed at el-'Arish for fifteen days. He did not meet any of the Bedouin sheikhs and the British were unable to arrange his going any further into the Sinai. German planes were constantly dropping bombs on them during the fifteen days he was there. AGII p.313.
The reason Fayez al-Ghussein gives for his visit to Egypt was to take a vacation and at the same time arrange for printing his tract on the Armenian massacres, written in Basra at the request of Sir Percy Cox and Gertrude Bell.
He returned from el-'Arish to Cairo on Thursday 1 February 1917 and arrived in the evening, staying at the Khidaywi Hotel. He found that his tract on the Armenian massacres had been published and reviewed in al-Manar Newspaper. AGII p.314.]
3 February 1917. [Saturday]. [Cairo]. Visited Cornwallis to arrange sending me back to the Hijaz. Stayed in Cairo a few days until arrangements were made. AGII p.314.
7 February 1917. [Wednesday]. [Cairo]. A meeting took place with Syrian Arabs and Cornwallis and other British officers to arrange sending me to Syria. AGII p.315.
[Another attempt was made by the Syrian Arabs and Cornwallis to send Fayez al-Ghussein to meet the tribal sheikhs in Syria, to urge them to rise in revolt against the Turks. He declined to accept this mission without specific instructions from Emir Faisal. Besides, he had just returned from such a mission. Three others were delegated and went, but returned without doing anything. AGII p.316.
The next dated entry in al-Ghussein's diary is Thursday 1 March 1917, when he was still in Cairo. He does not give any explanation for the time between 7 February 1917 and 1 March 1917, nor does it reconcile with his earlier remark that he stayed in Cairo for twenty days. According to his diary he must have spent 67 days on his Egyptian trip, out of which he spent 15 days at el-'Arish].
1 March 1917. [Thursday]. [Cairo and Port Tewfik]. I left Cairo to Port Tewfik. Then took the British ship Lama. Spent the night and Friday morning [2 March 1917] on the way to the Red Sea. AGII p.316.
[3 March 1917. Saturday]. Arrived at Dibba [a small port on the Red Sea] in the morning and went ashore. Wilson Pasha and Captain Lawrence, Sheikh Fuad al-Khatib and two other British officers also went ashore. We stayed there for two hours and then continued to Wejh. Arrived at sunset. AGII p.317.
[4 March 1917. Sunday]. [Wejh]. News came in that Sharif Abdullah's forces destroyed the railway between al-'Ullah and Medina, which are separated by six stations. AGII p.318.
[5 March 1917. Monday]. [Wejh]. 'Abdallah bin Mhanna came to visit Emir Faisal. AGII p.318.
9 March 1917. [Friday]. [Wejh]. Letters were sent to Auda Abu Tayeh to join the Arab army. British staff officers came and met Faisal with Lawrence. They stayed with Faisal over two hours. Then the officers left. It transpired that the British deciphered a Turkish telegram from Enver Pasha [Minister for War in Turkey] to Fakhri Pasha [Turkish Commander at Medina] ordering him to evacuate the city and retreat with his army to the north. The British officers came to tell Faisal this news and ask him to prepare to attack the retreating Turkish armies and disable these armies all along the railway. Preparations were made and Lawrence personally went to give the good news to Sharif 'Abdallah and cooperate with him to bring or prepare the forces required to destroy the railway and attack the retreating [Turkish] forces. AGII pp.321-322.
12 March 1917. [Monday]. [Wejh]. Two boats arrived carrying war materiel. News came that Baghdad had fallen to the British. AGII p.324.
13 March 1917. [Tuesday]. [Wejh]. British aeroplanes arrived after an airstrip was prepared. AGII p.325.
14 March 1917. [Wednesday]. [Wejh]. Col. Newcombe preparing a party to dynamite the railway. AGII p.326.
15 March 1917. [Thursday]. [Wejh]. Newcombe's party left today. AGII p.326.
17 March 1917. [Saturday]. [Wejh]. Huweitat came to Faisal offering their loyalty. AGII p.327.
18 March 1917. [Sunday]. [Wejh]. Answer came from Ibn Rasheed saying that he cannot leave the Turks [and join Arab Revolt]. AGII p.330.
19 March 1917. [Monday]. [Wejh]. Emir Faisal asked me to prepare myself for a mission to the Jouf to meet Emir Nawwaf al-Sha'lan and urge him to join the Arab Revolt. AGII p.331.
[No more dates are mentioned in Fayez al-Ghussein's diary until 25 March 1917].
25 March 1917. [Sunday]. [On the road to Jouf. AGII p.340.]
26 March 1917. [Monday]. [On the road to Jouf. AGII p.342.]
27 March 1917. [Tuesday]. [On the road to Jouf]. Crossed the railway at daybreak between Khsheim San'a and al-Mu'ath-tham Stations. AGII p.343.
28 March 1917. [Wednesday]. [On the road to Jouf. AGII p.343.]
29 March 1917. [Thursday]. [On the road to Jouf. AGII p.345.]
30 March 1917. [Friday]. [On the road to Jouf]. Crossed al-Nefuth desert. AGII p.346.
3 April 1917. [Tuesday]. [Jouf]. Arrived at Jouf before noon. We heard that the United States joined the war against Germany. AGII p.348.
[Fayez al-Ghussein spent 14 days on the road between Wejh and Jouf].
4 April 1917. [Wednesday]. [Jouf]. In the evening we met privately with Nouri al-Sha'lan. We gave him the letters from Emir Faisal and I wrote his answer. AGII pp.358-9.
[He stayed in Jouf six days].
10 April 1917. [Tuesday]. Left Jouf on the road back to Wejh. AGII p.362.
13 April 1917. [Friday]. [On the road back to Wejh. AGII p.363.]
17 April 1917. [Tuesday]. [On the road back to Wejh]. We approached the railway to cross between Khsheim San'a and Mu'ath-tham [Station]. We heard loud explosions. We were intercepted by a machine gun company commanded by Sharif Nasir with another artillery company commanded by Rasim [Saradast], who were blowing up the railway. AGII p.366.
19 April 1917. [Thursday]. [On the road back to Wejh]. We arrived at Wejh after dinner. I met Emir Faisal and gave him my report. Auda Abu Tayeh came to Wejh 2-3 days before our return. He [Auda] met Sharif Faisal, Wilson Pasha and Captain Lawrence. They decided to send Auda, Sharif Nasir, Nasib al-Bakri and Captain Lawrence to Wadi al-Sarhan to meet Nouri al-Sha'lan then go to Jabal al-Druze and on their return, Auda promised to take Aqaba. AGII p.371.
They decided to consult Sharif 'Abdallah. They brought three cars "automobile" in which Sharif Faisal, Wilson Pasha and their retinue embarked They took Auda with them. They met Sharif 'Abdallah at al-Faqir and discussed with him the military situation. AGII pp.371-2.
22 April 1917. [Sunday]. [Wejh]. The Sykes-Picot Agreement was rumoured. A lot of confusion and discussions took place as to the position of Syria after the war. Sharif Faisal was still with Sharif 'Abdallah. Captain Lawrence came back and left immediately to Wadi al-Hamd, because the aeroplane that was at the camp and had gone to reconnoitre the railway did not return. It was understood it had engine failure and landed at Wadi al-Hamd, and so Lawrence went with some of the English and Bedou to help the pilot and bring back the aeroplane. AGII p.373.
27 April 1917. [Friday]. [Wejh]. Emir Faisal, Wilson Pasha and Auda Abu Tayeh returned to Wejh. It was decided that the regular army should proceed to al-'Ullah [Station] and attack it. AGII p.374.
1 May 1917. [Tuesday]. [Wejh]. Wilson Pasha and Major Joyce came to Faisal's camp. Wilson Pasha told Emir Faisal that Mark Sykes would be coming to Wejh tomorrow to meet him. AGII p.375.
A discussion took place between Captain Lawrence and Wilson Pasha on one hand and Sharif Faisal and Auda Abu Tayeh on the other hand about occupying Aqaba. It was decided that Aqaba must be taken, and Auda promised to do that. It was decided that the attacking force will be commanded by Sharif Nasir with Lawrence and Nasib al-Bakri and Zaki al-Drubi and Auda Abu Tayeh will be commanders of the attacking force. AGII p.376.
2 May 1917. [Wednesday]. [Wejh]. Sharif Faisal went to the town of Wejh to meet Wilson Pasha and we knew that Mark Sykes arrived at Wejh and he met Sharif Faisal accompanied by Dr. Hassan Sharaf. AGII p.376-7.
3 May 1917. [Thursday]. [Wejh].
4 May 1917. [Friday]. [Wejh].
5 May 1917. [Saturday]. [Wejh]. Emir Faisal returned from Dabba on the frigate Sea Gull. Mark Sykes returned from Jeddah on frigate Lama.8 They met at length on the frigate. Emir Faisal delayed the force9 from moving to the north, as it was not ready. News of a conference in Jeddah consisting of His Majesty King Hussein, Mark Sykes, Wilson Pasha and the French politician Picot to discuss the situation in Syria and its fate, created a negative effect in the camp. AGII p.382.
9 May 1917. [Wednesday]. [Wejh]. Sharif Nasir, Auda Abu Tayeh, Nasib al-Bakri, Zaki al-Drubi, Lawrence, Mahmoud al-Dheilan, Za'al bin Mutlaq, Huwaymel Abu Tayeh and Juwai'id bin Sa'id left on their trip north. Faisal gave Auda Abu Tayeh an Arab flag and seven thousand pounds as a worthy salary for the Huweitat. AGII pp.382-3.
11 May 1917. [Friday]. [Wejh]. More Syrian Bedouin sheikhs came to offer their loyalty to Sharif Faisal. This made the whole of the Syrian Desert accessible to the Sharif's armies who are now welcomed everywhere. AGII p.384.
12 May 1917. [Saturday]. [Wejh]. Major Garland left for Emir 'Abdallah's camp to activate the demolition of the railway. Newcombe returned from Abu Raakah. A telegram arrived from Sharif Hussein from Jeddah asking Emir Faisal to attend the Jeddah Conference to discuss the future of Syria. AGII p.385.
17 May 1917. [Thursday]. [Wejh]. Emir Faisal and Colonel Newcombe left for Jeddah. AGII p.389.
23 May 1917. [Wednesday]. [Wejh].
25 May 1917. [Friday]. [Wejh]. Sharif Faisal returned from Jeddah on Lama. We got to know that the result of the Jeddah Conference was that Sharif Hussein authorised the English to sort out the Arab question, including that of Syria, on his behalf, as they saw fit. AGII p.391.10
27 May 1917. [Sunday]. [Wejh].
30 May 1917. [Wednesday]. [Wejh]. Celebrations took place for the one-year anniversary of the Arab Revolt. AGII p.395.
1 June 1917. [Friday]. [Wejh].
2 June 1917. [Saturday]. [Wejh].
3 June 1917. [Sunday]. [Wejh]. Ja'far Pasha a-'Askari came to Wejh. AGII p.399.
7 June 1917. [Thursday]. [Wejh]. Five hundred soldiers arrived from Mecca. Sharif Sharaf and Colonel Newcombe returned from their raid. AGII p.405.
10 June 1917. [Sunday]. [Wejh].
14 June 1917. [Thursday]. [Wejh]. I went on a trip with one of the English by car to Abu Qzaz and Wadi al-Sirr. There was also another car with more Englishmen. One of them told me that an agreement in principle has been reached whereby inner Syria (that is, Damascus, Aleppo, Hums and Hamma and Mousil and other territories which he did not disclose) will be independent. The Syrian coast from Iskandaroon and Tripoli will be given to France. He, personally, will endeavour and wishes, that the Sharif will move forward and occupy Syria before the entry of the Allied troops, in order that Sharif Faisal will have the right to rule over these territories. When I inquired about Palestine, he answered that it was not decided yet. AGII pp.406-7.
18 June 1917. [Monday]. [Wejh]. Dufferin came to Wejh. AGII p.408.
20 June 1917. [Wednesday]. [Wejh]. Sharif Faisal went to Jeedah by car to reconnoitre its position and whether it is suitable for an attack against the railway from al-'Ullah [Station]. He came back the following day. News came that three English officers lost their way on their way to Jeedah. They found their way the following day and returned. AGII p.409.
26 June 1917. [Tuesday]. [Wejh]. The Egyptian force under the command of Major Joyce left for Jeedah. I was instructed by Sharif Faisal to prepare myself to move to al-Karak, to carry letters to the tribal sheikhs. AGII p.410
3 July 1917. [Tuesday]. Left Wejh to the north. AGII p.411
4 July 1917. [Wednesday]. [On the road to the north]. AGII p.411
6 July 1917. [Friday]. [On the road to the north]. [This is the day that Lawrence mentions as the day he entered Aqaba SP35 p.312.] Reached al-Khareetah in the evening. AGII p.415
11 July 1917. [Wednesday]. [Al-Khareetah]. Stayed in al-Khareetah for three days. News received that Aqaba was taken by Sharif Nasir and Auda Abu Tayeh and that Lawrence was with them. AGII p.417.
13 July 1917. [Friday]. Left al-Khareetah to the north. AGII p.423-4.
14 July 1917. [Saturday]. On the road to Aqabah. He reached Muwayleh [in Wadi Muwayleh] on the Red Sea coast. AGII p. 417.
15 July 1917. [Sunday]. Reached Khraibeh, a small village on the Red Sea coast. AGII p.418.
[16 July 1917. Monday]. Remained at Khraibeh to rest. AGII p.420.
[17 July 1917. Tuesday]. Left Khraibeh and reached Bida', also a small village on the Red Sea Coast. Hired 10 Bedouins to accompany him to the north. Spent four days in their company. AGII pp.420-23.
Arrival At Aqaba
[20 July 1917. Friday]. 1st Shawwal (1st day of Eid al-Fitr) we arrived at Aqaba, and found it a run down village except for three or four recently built houses. On entering the town we found Turkish prisoners guarded by Sharifian soldiers in several places in the town. The Sharif's army was camped to the east of the town. On enquiring about the Sharif's Headquarters, we were directed to a recently built house where we found the Emir. We exchanged greetings and he inquired about Sharif Faisal and all the officers, the armies and friends. I informed him of everything. AGII pp.423-4.
Effect of Aqaba's Occupation
There is no doubt that the occupation of Aqaba was due to Emir Faisal's determination to send a force to attack Aqaba after Auda Abu Tayeh came to offer his services for the independence of the Arab nation and offering himself and his tribe for this purpose. Of course, Emir Faisal took the opinion of his English allies who considered the idea as very good, and perhaps the idea was initially mooted by them to effect a connection between the Arab and English armies, and make the [the Arab army] a strong flank to the British force advancing on Jerusalem and Damascus after occupying part of Palestine. AGII p.425-6.
[Fayez al-Ghussein then relates the story that Sharif Nasir told him of the movements of the force that occupied Aqaba].
I got to know from Emir Nasir that the force (hamlah) was under his command and marched under the flag of Auda Abu Tayeh. Among the leaders of the force were Nasib al-Bakri, to go to Jabal al-Druze with officer Zaki Drubi; and Lawrence to accompany the force as an advisor to make use of his military and political opinions.
The force left the town of Wejh on the 18th of Rajab [Wednesday 9 May 1917].
Sharif Nasir told us: After leaving Wejh, we sped our camels in the direction of the Huweitat Arabs, the tribe of Auda Abu Tayeh who were camped in Wadi al-Sarhan. I had with me thirty-five camel riders of the 'Aqeel under the command of Sharif Nasir bin Dghayther. Approximately ten days after leaving Wejh, and after destroying a section of the railway when crossing it, we arrived at Wadi al-Sarhan. Our force consisted of thirty camel riders in addition to those accompanying Nasib al-Bakri and Lawrence of about twenty camel riders. On arrival at Wadi al-Sarhan, we pitched our tents close to those of the Huweitat, and remained there for a few days to rest and forget the rigors of travel.
It was decided by all of us that Auda Abu Tayeh was to take the amount of six thousand English sovereigns and deliver them to Nouri bin Sha'lan, and get his opinion about what is to be done. Auda left for this purpose. After a few days he returned and told us that Nouri wishes to meet us. We went to meet him somewhere close to al-Jawf. After greetings he promised his assistance and we returned to Wadi al-Sarhan and communicated with the Huweitat sub-sections. After Auda facilitated matters, Nasib al-Bakri left for Jabal al-Druze to perform the duty delegated to him, which is to spread the information in al-Jabal [Druze], and attempt to instil the spirit of the revolt and the rise against the Turkish government there.
We left with Auda Abu Tayeh and his men and Lawrence, and after the Huweitat gathered at Bayer we headed (with God's blessings) in the direction of Abi al-Lassan with the intention of attacking the Turkish force there. When we came close to Abi al-Lassan we came under heavy artillery and machine gun fire, but this hardly affected the brave Huweitat men. They raided the defended position, and after a few hours you could see three hundred bodies strewn on the ground, others fled while we captured about two hundred soldiers. AGII pp.423-427.
The effect of the victory on the tribes.
On seeing our victory over Abi al-Lassan, we were joined by most of the tribes in the area, who attacked all the fortified positions at Quweirah and its neighbourhood...
When the Aqaba garrison saw all these people surrounding the fort, we sent them a letter advising what happened at Abi al-Lassan and Quweirah. They did not submit and responded with artillery and machine gun fire. But they did not withstand the valiant and daring attacks of the Huweitat, and surrendered after a three days' siege. We entered Aqaba with over seven hundred Turkish soldiers prisoner and thirty officers, among them a German officer. An almost equal number was killed while only a few bedu died. About thirty riding camels were killed. AGII, pp.427-8.11
Lawrence in Egypt
When I asked about Lawrence he said that he went to Egypt by land to send ammunition, as their stocks have finished, also they had no food to eat or feed their prisoners. He said Nasib al-Bakri did not come back from the mountain [Jabal al-Druze]. The truth was that the condition of the prisoners was pathetic, as the Arabs [Bedouins] have taken even their clothes.
They were all famished due to lack of food and provisions in general at Aqaba. Sharif Nasir did not also have funds to buy flour for the prisoners and Bedou who came to visit the Sharif. Add to this the fear of the Turks lest they send a force to recapture areas occupied by Sharif Nasir and Auda Abu Tayeh including Aqaba.... AGII, pp.428-9.
[Fayez al-Ghussein left Aqaba by sea on board the British ship Northbrook on Monday 23 July 1917. He reached Wejh on Tuesday 24 July and Faisal's camp at Jeedah on Friday 27 July. Emir Faisal asked about Sharif Nasir, Lawrence and Nasib al-Bakri. He gave him all the news and told him that Lawrence went to Egypt through the Sinai desert as soon as he reached Aqaba, to send provisions for the army and the prisoners in Aqaba]. AGII, p.430-1.
28 July 1917. [Saturday]. Left Jeedah in the evening back to Wejh. AGII, p.437.
30 July 1917. [Monday]. [10 Shawwal]. Arrived at Wejh and left it on board Harding. [Fayez al-Ghussein does not specify the date they left Wejh on board Harding.] AGII p.438. Also on board were Col. Wilson, Lawrence, Khalid al-Hakim and officer 'Ali Jawdat and other officers.
4 August 1917. [15 Shawwal]. Reached Aqaba. Lawrence left to Quweirah to meet Auda Abu Tayeh, and after giving him a sum of money returned and went to Egypt on board the same ship. AGII p. 438.
1 September 1917. [Saturday]. [Aqaba]. General Clayton and Major Cornwallis arrived in Aqaba on board Harding. They are high ranking Englishmen and of their nobility who sincerely love the Arabs. AGII p.445.
5 September 1917. [Wednesday]. [Aqaba]. Emir 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza'iri arrived in Aqaba. AGII p.446.
20 September 1917. [Thursday]. [Aqaba]. News came that the Huweitat Arabs [Bedou] who went with Lawrence towards Mudawwara Station blew up two trains and destroyed their locomotives, wheels and freight wagons. The Bedou took large quantities of booty and killed several soldiers [Turkish]. Among the passengers were several women who were brought to Aqaba. As they were Arab women, they were sent to Mecca by order of Sharif Faisal. The force destroyed Mudawwara Station and with Lawrence were two English explosives experts who did an excellent job in placing the explosives at the right time. AGII p.456.
23 September 1917. Sunday. [Aqaba]. Lawrence came with the two English officers we mentioned in the Mudawwara Station action. AGII p.457.
7 October 1917. Sunday. [Aqaba]. News came that Lawrence and some Huweitat Arabs [Bedou] blew up a train going in the direction of Medina. Several Turkish soldiers were killed and many were taken prisoner including ten officers, in addition to a lot of provisions, rifles and ammunition that were on their way to Ibn Rashid. AGII pp.461-42.
9 October 1917. [Tuesday]. [Aqaba]. Lawrence came back from his raid accompanied by Fayez al-Mu'ayyed, Badri al-'Athm and Lutfi al-'Asali who were practising the use of dynamite and blowing up trains. AGII p.462.
Emir 'Abd al-Qadir and Lawrence
25 October 1917. Thursday. [Aqaba]. Sharif 'Ali bin al-Hussein al-Harithi and Lawrence left. The next day they were followed by Emir 'Abd al-Qadir, the intention being that they should raid and destroy Hijaz Railway bridges between Tel Shihaab and Palestine. If the Turkish Army retreats from the vicinity of Jerusalem and those areas, they will not be able to return to Damascus using the railway, and will remain captive in the hands of the English armies. Emir 'Abd al-Qadir said that these parts are under his influence and that of his relatives, which could be useful. The Emir ['Abd al-Qadir] did not seem comfortable and his face showed expressions of unease. He was not happy for the presence of Lawrence, as if he wanted to say that the Arabs should do their Revolt on their own without any foreign interference. He forgot that the Arabs are unable to prosecute their Revolt against a powerful country... and they are weak in every respect. AGII pp.465-6.
As we will understand later, Emir 'Abd al-Qadir's joining [the Revolt] was not good for the Revolt and for himself, as after he went for a few days with Sharif 'Ali bin al-Hussein [al-Harithi] and Lawrence, he left them without a word and went in the direction of Jabal al-Druze, then to Dera'a and Damascus where he told the Turkish authorities of the Sharif's and Lawrence's trip and ruined their work. This was the reason for the animosity that appeared later and resulted in his death while he was very young. AGII p.466-7.
19 November 1917. [Monday]. [Aqaba]. It was confirmed that Lawrence with Sharif al-Harithi blew up another train carrying Jamal Pasha [the minor]. AGII p.476.
24 November 1917. [Saturday]. [Aqaba]. One of the soldiers accompanying
Lawrence [Lt. Wood] came back with a letter from Sharif 'Ali [al-Harithi] to Sharif
Faisal saying that after he left Aqaba with Lawrence and Emir 'Abd
al-Qadir al-Jaza'iri, he [Emir 'Abd al-Qadir] left them and went to
Jabal al-Druze. After seeing what Emir 'Abd al-Qadir has done they were
not able to reach the big bridge they intended to blow up, but placed
dynamite under a bridge close to Tel Shihaab and this they also were not
able to blow up. They returned without completing their job, as
circumstances did not help. They placed the dynamite under the railway
and waited for one day and one night, and on the following day they
exploded the dynamite under a passing train, throwing the locomotive in
the air and destroying most of the wagons.
Arrival of Lawrence
25 November 1917. [Sunday]. [Aqaba]. Lawrence arrived and confirmed the destruction of a train by him and Sharif 'Ali [al-Harithi]. Jamal [Pasha the minor] was in the train accompanied by a turbaned person whom they initially thought as As'ad al-Shuqairi, but it was later understood that he was an imam of the column accompanying the train. AGII p.479.
[Note: This mention of Lawrence is a second paragraph beneath the date 25 November 1917. According to Lawrence's diary and Seven Pillars, he returned to Akaba late in the evening of November 26. It is possible that Al-Ghussein continued his narrative here without specifying that he was talking about the following day.]
The Arab Army at Azraq
Emir Faisal has ordered Sharif 'Ali bin al-Hussein al-Harithi to stay in Azraq after destroying the bridge with the assistance of Lawrence. We saw that he failed to destroy the bridge but blew up a train with Lawrence on their way back. After they completed this operation, Sharif 'Ali went to Azraq... and Lawrence returned to Aqaba. AGII p. 481.
[Fayez al-Ghussein requested permission from Emir Faisal to accompany the army moving north. He left Aqaba on Sunday 9 December 1917, giving a detailed description of the move with a rare glimpse of the costs of running the army as far as the Bedouins were concerned. He arrived at Azraq on Friday 4 January 1918. He describes his stay with Sharif 'Ali al-Harithi in Azraq and gives details about the various notables and tribal chiefs who came to visit. He mentions great shortages in food for themselves and fodder for the animals, which was provided by the Druze from Jabal al-Druze until provisions arrived from Aqaba. He finally left Azraq on Tuesday 12 March to accompany some dignitaries on their way to Aqaba. On the sixth day they arrived at Waheedah then to Abi al-Lassan. After lunch they left and met Lawrence on their way who told them that he was on his way to al-Tafeelah to join Sharif Zayd and arrange with the commanders their how to recapture Tafeelah]. AGII pp.494-525.
[He left Aqaba again on Thursday 28 March 1918 and reached al-Quweirah on Saturday 30 March about sunset. He left al-Quweirah on 1 April heading towards Azraq as he asked Emir Faisal's permission to visit al-Lajjaah and visit his family. The following day they went up al-Naqab,12 and after climbing it they reached Abi al-Lassan where they found Lawrence who was there ahead of them and had camped there. They left the following day with Lawrence and camped at Waheedah with Mawlud [Mukhlis]. Lawrence told them that advance parties of the English Army destroyed eight kilometres of the railway close to al-Laban... and that the [British] army will enter 'Amman that day]. AGII p.535.
3 April 1918. Wednesday. [Waheedah]. About one o'clock we left Waheedah. Lawrence went ahead of us with Bani Sakhr sheikhs. After a while we caught up with Lawrence who was accompanied by Sheikhs from Bani Sakhr and we kept with them until after sunset when we camped and slept in the open after making coffee and tea and cooking our supper. We rose after midnight and crossed the railway north of Umm al-Jurthaan Station. The Turks played their electric searchlights on us but did not come near nor did they fire at us. We separated from Lawrence, then joined up with him after he and his companions wanted to destroy the railway and we were heading to Azraq then Jabal al-Druze and al-Lajjaah. On Friday 5 April we [barracked] our camels with Lawrence [and several of his companions] at Shu'aib al-Msheish. After lunch we bade each other farewell and each went his separate way. We arrived at Sharif 'Ali bin al-Hussein al-Harithi's camp [at Al-Shomary 'Uwaynid close to Azraq] on Sunday 7 April 1918. AGII pp.535-6.
[During this time Fayez al-Ghussein spent some time with his family in al-Lajjaah and Jabal al-Druze rallying the tribes for the cause of the Arab Revolt].
25 May 1918. [Al-Lajjaah]. Saturday. In the evening I was visited by Emir 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza'iri, who passed on the salaams of his brother Emir Sa'id [al-Jaza'iri], and his uncle Emir 'Abdallah [al-Jaza'iri]. He said he came to pass his greetings and respect to Sharif Faisal and the Sharifian family, and that they are all still loyal and wish the Revolt every success; that the Arabs should rise in this world and gain their independence at the hands of the Sharifs and that English hands should not touch this independence and fritter away the effort... The Turkish rule, no matter how oppressive is better than English colonization. I answered him that I shall pass his message to my Lord Sharif Faisal, and then took him to task for leaving Sharif 'Ali al-Harithi and Lawrence and his return to Damascus and his telling Jamal Pasha about the preparations for blowing up the bridge [al-Majami'] AGII p.557.13 He answered that his conscience did not permit him to betray his co-religionists for the sake of the English. I told him that he was not serving the English but his oppressed nation; and the Turks were and still are the cause of its decline. We are a weak nation and if we do not seek the help of a strong nation such as the English we will never gain what we are after and will remain forever under the dictatorial Turkish rule. He did not answer me and kept insisting that he will not serve the English. AGII p.557.14
[The above conversation between the author of the memoirs and 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza'iri is ample cause for the animosity between Lawrence and 'Abd al-Qadir. Lawrence must have sensed this attitude from 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza'iri during the brief period they spent together in Aqaba and for a few days when they travelled together, let alone when 'Abd al-Qadir betrayed them to Jamal Pasha. It made him fiercely adamant that 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza'iri should not appoint himself the head of an interim government in Damascus immediately after its occupation and pending the arrival of Sharif Faisal].
25 June 1918. Tuesday. Left home at al-Lajjaah on his way south to meet Sharif Faisal in Aqaba. AGII p.567.
8 July 1918. Monday. Left Waheedah Sunday evening [7 July]. Arrived at Abi al-Lassan at one o'clock after midnight and found Sharif Faisal still up so we met him. AGII p.576.
10 July 1918. [Wednesday]. [Abi al-Lassan]. Wednesday. Ramadan Eid. AGII p.580.
[Went to Aqaba in the company of the Armenians who came with him from al-Lajjaah to be given provisions and arrange for their transport to Egypt].
21 July 1918. Sunday. Left Aqaba back to Abi al-Lassan. Several English planes flew over and bombed Ma'an. AGII p.583-4.
26 July 1918. Friday. [Abi al-Lassan]. Enemy planes bombed our forces at al-Tahouneh. AGII p.584.
29 July 1918. Monday. [Abi al-Lassan]. All those who came with us from the north left back to their country, including all the Druze and al-Suradiyyah. Lawrence arrived from Egypt after passing on his way by Jeddah. He met Sharif Faisal at length and discussed with him military operations to be made from now on. Lawrence was getting his orders from General Allenby and passing them to Sharif Faisal, commander of the Arab armies, considered by the English General [Allenby] as two military divisions, provisioned by food, arms and clothes on this basis. AGII p.586.
Sharif Faisal and Lawrence went by car to al-Tahouneh to inspect the army there and returned in the evening. AGII p.586.
31 July 1918. Wednesday. [Abi al-Lassan]. Rwalah riders came with a letter from Nouri [al-Sha'lan] and that he will be with Sharif Faisal. AGII p.586.
1 August 1918. Thursday. [Abi al-Lassan]. Four enemy planes dropped bombs on al-Tahouneh and killed four soldiers. AGII p.586.
6 August 1918. Tuesday. [Abi al-Lassan]. Two of our planes flew towards the railway and Ma'an for reconnaissance. AGII p.587.
7 August 1918. Wednesday. [Abi al-Lassan]. Sharif Faisal returned from meeting Nouri al-Sha'lan. With him was Emir Zayd and Emir Nasir, Auda Abu Tayeh, Col. Joyce, Nouri al-Sha'lan, Trad al-Sha'lan and Faris al-Sha'lan. They all came by cars. AGII p. 588.
11 August 1918. Sunday. [Abi al-Lassan]. Salih al-Smaadi came with a letter from Dr. Ahmad Qadri to Sharif Faisal about the Turkish army positions and strength in the Palestine front and al-Salt. AGII pp.589-90.
12 August 1918. Monday. [Abi al-Lassan]. Lawrence and Col. Joyce left by cars to Bayer then to Azraq to choose landing sites for planes as Sharif Faisal was planning to move his headquarters closer to al-Jabal [Druze] and Liwa of Hawran, and probably the headquarters would be at Azraq or close by. AGII pp.589-90.
13 August 1918. Tuesday. [Abi al-Lassan]. Sharif Faisal ordered a car to be prepared for him and told me to be ready to travel with him. We left together with Sharif Zayd on the road to Waheedah and after a while we stopped outside the tent of Nouri al-Sa'id. Inside we found Emir Sa'id al-Jaza'iri... who after a while handed Sharif Faisal a letter. He read it, gave it to his brother Sharif Zayd to read... It was from Jamal Pasha [al-Marsini] who took over the forces [Turkish] in Syria and Palestine after the dismissal of Jamal Pasha [al-Saffaah].
He then ordered me to write an answer, which he dictated to me in Turkish as follows:
"... I received your letter and understood its contents, and I had already received a letter from your predecessor Jamal Pasha, commander of the 4th Army who also pointed out to us what we should do as Muslims belonging to the Prophet's lineage. I had answered him at length and explained to him the reasons which led us to take up arms against the Government, no need to go into now again for no reason. He did not answer us, which indicates that he did not intend by his letter but to sedate us and make use of such correspondence to create suspicion in the minds of our allies. We now tell you that we are very careful not to sow discord among the Muslims, but as we suggested in the past, we were not the ones who started this. We see now that you are very late by this person whom you delegated, when the English Army is at the doors of Syria and has overwhelmed your armies, and victory has become assured for it. If you sincerely love the Arabs, you only have to withdraw your armies and declare the independence of the Arab countries and thus prove your good intentions towards the Arabs before others declare it and become a fait accompli in spite of your wishes."
After dictating the letter, I made a final draft that Sharif Faisal signed and handed to Emir Sa'id. The conversation went on between Sharif Faisal and Emir Sa'id during which he [Sharif Faisal] entrusted him [Emir Sa'id] to raise the Arab flag on government offices when the Turkish Army and employees withdraw from Damascus, and an interim government be formed in the name of His Majesty Sharif Hussein, King of the Arabs, and the flag to be raised before the arrival of the Allied Armies. Emir Sa'id promised Sharif Faisal to do all what he [Sharif Faisal] has entrusted him.
Emir Sa'id stayed the rest of the day and returned to Ma'an accompanied by Sharifian forces to the limits of Ma'an.
After Emir Sa'id left, I returned to Abi al-Lassan in the company of Sharif Faisal and Sharif Zayd. AGII pp.590-91.
20 August 1918. Tuesday. [Abi al-Lassan]. A thousand Druze came with Ahmad [Hamad (15)] al-Barbour, Sayyah al-Atrash and 'Abdallah al-'Abdallah [al-Atrash] fully armed. Paraded by Sharif Faisal who was very pleased. Nouri al-Sha'lan left today after Sharif Faisal has been very generous to him. He took loads of English rifles, sugar, rice, coffee and thousands of gold sovereigns. Sharif Faisal went with him up to Waheedah. AGII pp.593-94.
Lawrence and Joyce returned from Azraq after making a choice for a landing site. AGII p.595.
29 August 1918. Thursday. [Abi al-Lassan]. Al-Qiblah Newspaper arrived with a news item that Ja'far al-'Askari was not the commander of the Northern Army but one of the officers. Also a telegram came to Sharif Faisal from Sharif Hussein to this effect. This created a lot of disturbance within the army and surprise among the Arab officers and the English and even the Bedou.
Sharif Faisal resigned, and his resignation was accepted by his father [Sharif Hussein]. Lawrence knew of this and told General Allenby and requested that he should intervene. He did, and things went back to normal. AGII pp.597-98.
In two or three days preparations were made for the armies to move north. AGII p.598.
30 August 1918. Friday. [Abi al-Lassan]. Dr. Ahmad Qadri arrived from Damascus. He was one of the founders of the Souriyyah al-Fatat [one of the secret societies]. He used to write frequently to Sharif Faisal explaining the general conditions prevailing in Syria in general and Damascus in particular, explaining the political situation and that of the army. He got his information from fellow members of the Society [Souriyyah al-Fatat] who were officers. AGII p.599.
6 September 1918. Friday. [Abi al-Lassan]. Sharif Nasir left accompanied by Lawrence in a car. They took with them Assad al-Atrash and Ibrahim al-Atrash, and they left towards Azraq to supervise the condition of the advancing armies and prepare its reception and appoint its disposition. On Monday the Turks attacked in force the well-defended position of Simnah. AGII p.601.
10 September 1918. Tuesday. [Abi al-Lassan]. Sharif Faisal ordered a move towards the north and Syria. The only positions remained with soldiers were the positions of Simnah, Waheedah and al-Tahouneh. AGII pp.601-2. We rode that day and the following day about five in the afternoon we crossed the railway. On the third day of leaving Abi al-Lassan we reached al-Jafer, were we found Sharif Faisal who arrived ahead of us by car. AGII p.602.
20 September 1918. Friday. [On the move to the north]. Lawrence who was accompanying Sharif Nasir, Nouri al-Sha'lan, Auda Abu Tayeh and Nouri al-Sa'id, returned and advised that the army under the command of Sharif Nasir has destroyed the railway north and south of Dera'a and pulled rails from Naseet [probably meant Nasseeb] to Khirbet al-Samra. They also destroyed Mzeireeb Station. AGII p.604.
21 September 1918. Saturday. News came that the English took Nablus, Tulkarim and Nazareth after a fierce battle. AGII p.604.
22 September 1918. Sunday. [On the move to the north]. Lawrence left by plane to Jerusalem to meet General Allenby. He returned the following day and confirmed the news of the fall of Nablus, Tulkarim and Nazareth. Lawrence also said that General Allenby ordered the advance of all of Sharif Faisal's armies towards and north of Dera'a. So Sharif Faisal, Nouri al-Sha'lan (who recently returned), together with Lawrence left to al-Mta'iyyah. He [Sharif Faisal] ordered that all the Bedou should advance, so all of them and the 'Aqeel companies moved to al-Mta'iyyah. AGII p.605.
25 September 1918. Wednesday. [Al-Mta'iyyah]. Col. Joyce returned with his armoured cars after reconnoitring the Dera'a area. News came that the English Armies reached Tel Shihaab and the Supreme Commander [Allenby] sent a telegram to Sharif Faisal to stop destroying the railway between Dera'a and Damascus as the English Army is now in control, and thinks that occupying Damascus and environs is a near possibility, and destroying the railway will be counter productive. News also in that the English cavalry occupied Mafraq Station. A plane dropped letters today from General Headquarters which carried the news that Ma'an was taken by the army of Sharif Zayd, that al-Salt finally fell to the English, that the British [this is the first time the word British appears in the book] armies took Samakh and its forward units are racing towards Athri'aat. Auda Abu Tayeh returned from his raid with Sharif Nasir and reached al-Mta'iyyah where Sharif Faisal has his headquarters. AGII pp.605-6.
[Sultan Pasha al-Atrash, the paramount Druze chieftain, together with [Ahmad] al-Barbour attacked and occupied Busra Eski Sham under the Sharifian flag on 25 September 1918 [Wednesday]. From there they moved to Sheikh Meskin where they met Sharif Nasir [al-Harithi], Nouri al-Sha'lan and Auda Abu Tayeh. The latter handed him [al-Atrash] a letter from Emir Faisal. HAR p.136.
They moved towards Damascus, where near Deir 'Ali [three hours distance from Damascus], they met Turkish forces under the command of Rida Pasha al-Rikabi. A major battle ensued where the army under the command of Sultan Pasha al-Atrash took 21 guns from the Turks with a large amount of ammunition. They all entered Damascus on Sunday 29 September 1918]. HAR pp.137-8.
26 September 1918. Thursday. The English took 'Amman. Sharif Faisal returned after a trip by car to reconnoitre the situation close to Dera'a. AGII pp. 606-7.
27 September 1918. Friday. News came in that Sharif Nasir took Dera'a, and that Sharif Faisal left al-Mta'iyyah with Dera'a as his destination. AGII p.607.
28 September 1918. Saturday. We left Umm al-Maqabir with Mihjem al-Sha'lan and his people, and on Monday 30 September we reached Dera'a where we found Sharif Faisal had reached it before us. It [Dera'a] was occupied by Sharif Nasir, Lawrence, Nouri al-Sa'id, Nouri al-Sha'lan and Auda Abu Tayeh. AGII p.607.
[Emir Sa'id [al-Jaza'iri] declared the independence of the country and sent telegrams to all the Syrian areas to this effect on 29 September 1918. His brother 'Abd al-Qadir raised the Arab flag over Government House in Damascus on the same day]. HAR p.138.
At this point the memoirs end abruptly. Fayez al-Ghussein's daughter explains that this was what her father had published in al-Qabas [newspaper] before his death. She did ask her cousin Badr, who accompanied his uncle at this stage, to give her some further details. He said: "When we left Dera'a we reached al-Mismiyyeh were we stayed the night to see the family and left for Damascus. The Arab Army had already reached Damascus and raised the Arab flag there. After three nights Sharif Faisal left Damascus for Aleppo, accompanied by Fayez al-Ghussein. AGII pp.608-09.
Fortunately, in Volume I of his memoirs Fayez al-Ghussein does mention the trip he made with Emir Faisal to the Peace Conference in Paris. He used the occasion of meeting Emir Faisal for the first time in Bir Sa'id to give a brief physical description of the Emir, his general characteristics and manners, and goes on to describe the address he gave at a dinner given by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and the sensation he created. Lawrence is not mentioned as attending this particular dinner. Here is al-Ghussein's story beginning with a brief description of Emir Faisal.
'Sharif Faisal is of moderate height, white faced with a reddish beard, piercing hazel-coloured eyes, good looking face, smiling and cheerful... He speaks classical Arabic with a Hijazi accent... He smokes incessantly... I have never seen a more patient person in my life. In the three years I accompanied him, I saw him angry only once when he slapped a slave on the face... He eats little and drinks tea and coffee sparingly... He is a born statesman... I remember his brief address at the Quai d'Orsey in Paris. This came about after he entered Damascus victorious and left for Aleppo with myself in his company, as I was his private secretary and cipher writer. After reaching Aleppo he received a telegram from his father requesting his travel to Paris to attend the Peace Conference to represent His Majesty his father in this august High Court made up of the heads of state and its important personalities. He travelled to the West after passing by Damascus and Beirut and I accompanied him from Aleppo to Paris. On the following day to his arrival, M. Pichon the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, invited him for dinner. We had dinner at the special dining room at the Quai d'Orsay, and after dinner M. Pichon gave an impromptu address in which he thanked His Majesty King Hussein, and Emir Faisal for the help they gave the allied governments. He ended by raising a toast to Emir Faisal. All the ambassadors of the countries were present.
'Sharif Faisal stood up, filled a glass with pure water, and gave an
impromptu answer in which he... thanked the Allies for their invaluable
help to the Arab Army and sending what was needed in money and
arms... and that he will await that they complete their favours by
enabling the Arabs to reach their aim of independence. If they do that,
they would have completed their favours to the end. He said: My religion
forbids me to drink alcoholic drinks, and prefer to toast those present
with this pure water devoid of any sedition. Mr. Kaddour bin Ghibreet
was translating his speech word for word.
1. He does not specify the name of this society in his memoirs, except to say that a third society was established by 'Abd al-Ghani al-'Araysi. It is possible that Fayez al-Ghussein was a member of Souriyyah al-Fatat, one of the main nationalist secret societies established at that time. (back)
2. The author gives some of the dates as a mixture between the Christian and Hijri years; for example: 24 July 1333 A.H. I have substituted the Hijri year to the corresponding Christian year. This presentation has been followed throughout this article for ease of reference. If the day the week was not given, it is added within square brackets. (back)
3. Al-Ghussein uses the titles Emir and Sharif interchangeably as titles for Hussein, 'Ali, Faisal, 'Abdallah. (back)
4. The actual word used by Fayez al-Ghussein was "al-Za'im al-Inklizi". According to Hans Wehr's dictionary the word Za'im means leader and could also mean a military rank of colonel (used in Iraq 1922), and brigadier general (used formerly in Syria). (back)
5. This last entry was mistakenly entered as page 376 in the 1935 edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom. It should have been page 386. (back)
6. Apparently the author of the memoirs became friendly with Major Garland and discussed the general political situation with him. (back)
7. Al-Ghussein mentions that the Dufferin was a small ship prepared to transport merchandise, and not passengers. They spent their time on deck, and Major Garland was very kind and attentive. (back)
8. The name of the ship was misprinted in the memoirs as Laha. Also, the Lama is not a frigate but a converted liner. (back)
9. This is the force intended to take Aqaba and headed by Sharif Nasir and accompanied by Lawrence and Auda Abu Tayeh. (back)
10. This is typical of Sharif Hussein's lack of attention to detail and his complete trust in the British. Unfortunately, such a cavalier attitude to serious matters created for the Arabs, Sharif Hussein himself and the British a lot of misunderstanding in the days to come. (back)
11. It is not clear whether the writer of the memoirs intended to say that they took seven hundred Turkish soldiers prisoner when they captured Aqaba, or that they brought them with them before they took Aqaba. Lawrence clarifies this point in Seven Pillars that they brought them with them before they took Aqaba. (back)
12. Al-Naqab is a gorge-like pass, which rises between Wadi Rumm and the plateau of Ma'an. It is tortuous and steep. (back)
13. Jisr [bridge] al-Majami' is on the River Jordan in the Jordan Valley and not on the Yarmouk River. The author must have made a mistake in naming the bridge that was supposed to be blown up by Lawrence and his party. (back)
14. It is interesting to note that throughout the whole memoirs, the author always referred to the English [al-Inkleez] and not the British. It is only after the Second World War that the word British [Bareetania and al-Bareetaniyyin] became more commonly used. (back)
T. E. Lawrence chronology
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset