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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to C. E. Wilson


[Yenbo]

22.12.16

Dear Colonel Wilson

Many thanks for the supply note. I cannot suggest anything to add or subtract. I only hope they will accept it in Egypt and act on it. I am sure that the thing to avoid is multiplying the British Staff and activities in the Hedjaz.

I got your wire last night, that you will be here probably on the25th or 26th. I will arrange to meet you, but I hope, if there will be any profit in doing so, to run up first to Feisul and so put you au fait with his intentions.

The strategical centre of the Turk anti-Feisul operations is Bir Said. They threaten his rear and his base from it, and he cannot cut Wadi Safra or go for the Railway in any sort of security, until he has either contained or captured it. He has no troops capable of containing anything - so he must operate against it.

If he takes Bir Said the Turks at Hamra will, I think, have to draw back. On the other hand his troops are still quite unfit for work, and he estimates it will take him a week to get the Juheina and Northern Harb at work again. He is only going forward now because he is intensely nervous of a Turkish concentration against Ali.

I keep Captain Boyle up in all my information, and he will probably be able to explain what is happening here. The situation is to my mind hopeful, if the Turks have not got a strong force in Wadi Safra. If they have we will have a cataclysm shortly. Feisul says he cannot get spies into the Wadi, but I hope he will take some informative prisoners, and we may find out that way.

The information from the deserter enclosed would be of value to Cairo, (Arbur) if it can be got through to them soon. There is no ship in sight just yet, though. I have no copy but could reproduce the matter easily for my notes.

I am hoping great things from [8 words omitted*]. We sent him an elaborate list of points on which information is required.

As for money, I have £50 in gold, which I am using for my own expenses and for any intelligence needs. It will last me for months at the present rate!

I am glad you approve of the Egyptian volunteers. I was afraid I was rather exceeding my commission in countenancing it!

Will you please wire for

4 locks complete for
           Gun Maxim Converted Mark II

to be sent to Yenbo? The guns are out of order (two of them) and there are no spare locks in hand. The two British armourers are invaluable.

The Hardinge has got the feed block of one of the E[gyptian] A[rmy] German Maxims which is going down to Rabegh today. They took it off for repair.

I have asked for telegrams after today to be sent up in ship's cipher, as I may be inland, and if the news is of importance Abd el Kader will send it after me.

Yours sincerely

T.E. Lawrence

* The omitted words identify a spy.


Source: DG 213-4
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 2 January 2006


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