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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to his family

Cairo, Savoy Hotel


Post is going tomorrow, so I'm going to write now. Nothing to say, as usual. Newcombe is back in Cairo for a few days: he may be going back to the W.O. for a few days, though I shouldn't think so. He will probably be made a Colonel shortly. We are changing office tonight, so that everything is in a royal disorder. Each time we change we get more and more rooms: here is the Savoy Hotel, which is Headquarters at present, we now have 15 rooms, not counting little rooms. I have now got quite a decent room to myself, and have decorated it with a map of the Caucasus about 15 feet long (the largest map I have ever seen) one of Syria, about 12 feet high, and the beginnings of one on Egypt, bigger than either of these. It is rather amusing work publishing and drawing maps. We are up to l,000,000 now, actual sheets, (mostly Gallipoli) of a total of about 600 different maps. The Egyptian Government handed over its Survey Department to us - or rather Dowson, Director General of Surveys, handed it over to us, and the Government agreed - so that there are about 1,000 workmen and a very large plant (second only to Southampton) at our disposal. The cost has not been what one would expect: paper etc. about £28,000: and expenses of staff etc. about £75,000. Egypt pays the second, War Office the first. There is a very great deal in hand just now. I wish I could send Arnie some of them. However you got the Gallipoli, which was a very pretty map. I have a lovely little 500,000 of the Turkish Empire in hand just now. It will take about six months to do. Also an Arabia (two months) which will be an important thing. I wish there was some news to tell you: there is heaps as a matter of fact just now, but it is not for publication. We seem to be fixed for ever in Cairo: all efforts now are directed to organizing the office so that it continues after the War on its present scale. They will have to find a substitute for me!  We have got a little man called Deedes in our office now: he is an ex-Turkish Gendarmerie instructor, captain in the English Army, and a very excellent man. I like him best of the bunch.  I'm going to bed now.


Source: HL 314
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 2 January 2006

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