Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Colonel C. E. Wilson
Dear Colonel Wilson,
Please excuse what is going to be a hurried note. MacRury got here this morning, and his news is rather sudden. 1 hoped to get it up to Newcombe, but cannot, as he is coming in, without saying by what road. Fitzmaurice very kindly offered me a sailor volunteer messenger to him - but that’s off.
In the circumstances, and as MacRury is not going to Yenbo or Rabegh I got Feisul to take action. In spite of General Clayton's orders I told him something of the situation. It would have been impossible for me to have done anything myself on the necessary scale. One must inform one's G.O.C.!
He has written to Sherif Ali to send the Eastern Juheina and Harb direct to Bowat-Muheit as soon as possible. Letter leaves by River Fisher this afternoon for Yenbo. F. says nothing in his letter to give away our knowledge but the note is urgent enough to impel Ali to action, I think.
A messenger has left for Abdulla telling him, at the risk of losing ¾ of his force to smash and cut and attack everything animate or material from Bowat up to Hedia.
Saad el Ghoneim has left for Fagair in W. Hamdh, to attack the line temporarily till we reach him. I am off tomorrow with a 2.95 gun, a machine-gun company and perhaps Gillman with his gunners, to try and hold up one of the water reservoirs and smash it.
The Mule M[ounted]-I[nfantry] is being sent, probably to Abdulla, to make way against the new Turkish Camel Corps. They are 160 strong, with 2 machine guns, and are good. They proceed first to Fagair, and if in time, will join Abdulla. If not, they will go for the Turks wherever they are.
Sherif Ali ibn Hussein has gone to Jeida, with 16 dynamite experts, to interrupt the line from El Ula down to Toweira.
Abdulla ibn Muhanna has gone towards Medain Salih, to capture 1400 camels sent there by Ibn Rashid. Feisul will send the Rifaa and other troops to a point near El Ula, with a 2.95 gun and some machine guns, to try and take action against the Turks there, and in any case to dynamite the line.
Sherif Nasir and Newcombe will be sent back North as soon as they get into touch with us. A squad of dynamiters is going N. there to occupy the Turks till they return.
Dynamite leaves tonight with experts for Dhaba, and Mohammed Ali el Beidawi will push them out to the Railway near Tebuk.
The plan (spur of the moment, I wish one had more notice) is to get something going at once against the water arrangements, to give time for concentration. For this purpose these light advance parties are going up, to risk anything to gain time. Then when the camels come, and Ali has moved, the main forces of the 3 brothers will be from Medina to El Ula along the line, and the Turks will find movement most difficult. That will, I think, take ten days, supposing the camels get here by the 15th. I think the weak part of the Turk plan lies in the trains of water and food. If we can cut the line on such a scale that they cannot repair it, or smash their locomotives the force will come to standstill. They must have little repair material in Medina - and will not be able to transport that much besides food and water. If only we can hold them up for ten days. I'm afraid it will be touch and go.
I am taking some Garland mines with me, if I can find instantaneous fuse, and if there is time, will set them, as near Medina as possible: it is partly for this reason that I am going up myself, and partly with a view to smashing Hedia, if it can anyhow be done.
Feisal will do everything he can. Only it's fearfully short notice.
T. E. Lawrence
|Last revised:||9 January 2008|
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