Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to his family
Here I am in Cairo again. At Tafileh I had a difference of opinion with Sherif Zeid, the 4th son of the old man of Mecca, and left him for Beersheba. This was about the 22nd. I then went to Jerusalem, Ramleh, Jerusalem, Beersheba, Ismailia, Cairo, Suez, Akaba, Guweira, Akaba, Suez, and got back here last night. I hope to be here four nights.
This year promises to be more of a run about than last year even! As for coming back - no, not possible now. The situation has changed since I came over, and I'm to go back till June at least. One rather expected that, I'm afraid. I thought I had told you that Newcombe had left the Sherifian forces before he was captured? He never came to Akaba at all, but went to Palestine with the British.
No letters from you lately, except a November unit which I picked up at Akaba. By the way after this note don't expect any other from me till about the middle of April, for I'm going up country for a month, on an inspection trip.
They have now given me a D.S.O. It's a pity all this good stuff is not sent to someone who would use it! Also apparently I'm a colonel of sorts. Don't make any change in my address of course. I wonder if you remember Young, an Indian Army officer who came to Carcheniish while Will was there? He has just come over to help our thing forward, I hope. He should be the right sort of man: the work is curious, and demands a sort of twisted tact, which many people do not seem to possess. We are very short-handed, and it will make things much easier if he fits in well. Hugh Whitelocke has just joined the Egyptian Army I hear. They say he is somewhere in Cairo, so I may see him, but it is only a chance, as on these flying visits I rush about all day and do very little ordinary speech. It will be a comfort when this gipsy mode of life comes to an end.
However thank goodness the worst of the winter is over. I had one very bad night out in the hills when my camel broke down in the snow drifts, and I had to dig a path out for it and lead it for miles down slippery snow-slopes. One's usual airy sort of white shirt and bare feet are better in summer than in winter. Of course the hill country east of the Dead Sea is very high, and one gets what frost and snow there is, anyhow.
There, I can’t think of anything else cheerful to tell you about - except perhaps that three of my camels have had babies in the last few weeks. That makes me about thirty riding camels of my own, but then my bodyguard of servants is about 25, so there are not so many spare. I never have any baggage camels with me... we carry what we need on our own animals.
Here by good fortune are some new photographs just to hand.
|Last revised:||13 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