Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to D. G. Hogarth
War Office, Cairo
There aren't going to be any nice schemes anytime, I believe: at least everything boils up gloriously, and one is told to be ready to start by the Thursday in next week - and then it never becomes the Thursday of this week. Finally the Med-Ex. came out, beastly ill-prepared, with no knowledge of where it was going, or what it would meet, or what it was going to do. So we took pity on it, and said that we would be its Intelligence Base, and its map base and so we'll be here till the end of it. Lloyd and Herbert went off with it, to help it, and Newcombe and I are left. Woolley is in Port Said, controlling the French Navy, and taking prize ships. It's very dull: but of course I haven't any training as a field officer, and I don't know that I want to go fighting up to Constantinople. It would be bad form, I think. The only place worth visiting is A. and they are all afraid of going there, for fear of hurting the feelings of our allies.
The Canal is still holding out, and we are forgetting all about it. Turkey, if she is wise, will raid it from time to time, and annoy the garrison there, which is huge, and lumbersome, and creaks so loudly in the joints that you hear them eight hours before they move. So it's quite easy to run down and chuck a bomb at it, and run away again without being caught.
Everything is going to sleep, and today is 90° in the room, and one feels rather limp and bored.
I bought you a seal the other day. It's probably the only one you'll get from us this year, which is almost its only virtue. One wouldn't have bought it anywhere else, but in Cairo it was refreshing.
For Leeds, I am sending a mediaeval dagger pommel - or piece of horse-trapping - bought in Jerusalem lately.
Poor old Turkey is only hanging together. People always talk of the splendid show she has made lately, but it really is too pitiful for words. Everything about her is very very sick, and almost I think it will be good to make an end of her, though it will be very inconvenient to ourselves. I only hope that Aleppo and Damascus will escape a little the fate that has come upon Cairo. Anything fouler than the town buildings, or its beastly people, can't be:- and I shouldn't have believed in them six months back. Carchemish is a village inhabited by the cleanest and most intelligent angels.
I expected to find you on the staff of the Med Ex! however they hadn't anybody particular, except one Deedes (v. good at Turkish) and Colonel Hawker, who was deservedly in the Ottoman Gendarmerie: The expedition came out with two copies of some ¼" maps of European Turkey as their sole supply. I hope you get me some of Butler's N. Syrian maps. Tell him the 1905 ones are ROTTEN.
|Last revised:||1 January 2006|
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