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T. E. Lawrence to Sir Hugh Trenchard



Dear Sir Hugh,

I knew you'd consider the Empty Desert idea: I hope it will be in your time. Philip Sassoon would have helped it, with his imagination. I don't know your present team.

I spoke about it to G.B.S. and said if he met Lord T. would he urge it on him? Unfortunately he wrote to him, instead. Writing isn't so supple an appeal. Also he seems to have mentioned me, which of course disquiets the civilians. I wanted the job considered on scientific grounds. It is the last piece of exploration on earth. Doing it completes our knowledge of the globe. It can only be done safely, cheaply and quickly by an airship. I want the doing it to be an Air Ministry deed, without press warning or pressure, beforehand. Let us* get the credit: and for the Lord's sake do it quietly. If I am of the crew, I'll get the credit: the press loves that sort of cheap personal touch. It would be much better if your maps staff officer went, and your best navigator, and a draughtsman and an intelligence man, to write something plainly official.

Yours sincerely,

T.E. Shaw

* Us is the R.A.F., in case you don't know!

Source: DG 666
Checked: dn/
Last revised: 8 March 2006

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