T. E. Lawrence to S. L. Newcombe
Dear Monster, Yes: you shall have your R.A.F. badge: not just yet, for our Q.M. Store is stocktaking. (Your father will tell you the limping one-eyed measly beast a Q.M. is: and what a fuss it makes over stocktaking).
I am glad you like Alexandria. The poor thing about it, I found, was that the ‘Groppie’ in Alexandria had no great treefilled garden at the back of the shop: so there seemed no place in Alexandria where an officer in uniform could drink his iced coffee in peaceful comfort. Whereas Cairo was just invented and furnished for people such as I used to be. It would not do now, though. I have not enough piastres to satisfy my thirst with coffee. So I drink water, always. That would be all right if an ass didn’t keep on putting overdoses of chlorine in it. So little chlorine goes so long a way with me. The other day I got dysentery too, in spite of all their drugs! One to me, I think.
The Air Force are going to let me come home in the spring of 1930. You will be at Oxford then, off & on, won’t you? Expect a loud roaring outside the school gates. That will be my motor bike. The school-masters will not let you talk to ordinary men in uniform: but when they hear the roaring of my bike they will say ‘That is not an ordinary airman: that is an extraordinary machine’. So it will be all right.
Otherwise nothing happens: nothing will happen till 1930, probably. Perfect peace.
Loud snores to you, Monster, especially at night. Wake the whole place up.
|Last revised:||? 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