T. E. Lawrence to his mother
I've been waiting for sure news before writing to you: but the Air Force authorities drag too slowly. So here it is. I'm to go to India this winter: perhaps in September, perhaps in November, perhaps in February. It's the ordinary overseas draft, of the R.A.F. pattern. Most airmen do a turn abroad in their seven years' service. The Mesopotamian term is 2 years, the climate being bad. Egypt is 5 years: India is 5 years. I'm glad I'm not going to Egypt, for there is the risk of trouble there.
In a way I'd rather have stayed in England: but the warmth, if there is any, will be welcome: and it is good to be out of England when Cape brings out that abridgement of my Arabian book. I made the abridgement myself, and it is a severely plain one, but to sell it Cape must advertise it, and his best way of doing that will be to rake up all the old silly stories about me. I shall be glad this autumn when the real book is finished and distributed. All the work of the little book is done, already: a good thing, for with this uncertainty about going abroad I do not want more liabilities than I can help. Your cheque turned up: many thanks for it: but it is bigger, I fancy, than the money I have spent.
Florence wrote to me some while ago that you might come home with Bob in 1929. I hope so: and not go out again!
They wanted me to go out on a Commission of Enquiry to China, the other day! I told them I was happily engaged in the R.A.F.
|Last revised:||9 February 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