Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Sydney Cockerell
March 27th, 1930
I have taken a fortnight to reply: and that is not bad for me, as letters go. Somehow I just can't write to people outside. Often I wish the world ended at the camp gates: indeed it usually does, for me. Now-a-days I hardly ever voluntarily go out.
About this drawing. Actually its copyright belongs to Augustus John, of course: but it has been published, so he will probably not care. I shall not care at all. It's a silly letter the girl wrote.
Coming to Cambridge, you ask. I do not know: not unless my mind changes. I think that I would like not to go out again.
Mrs Shaw sent me the book of the Bacchae: and I read it carefully. It's a bit weak, like all the so-called works of Euripides, but curious, and has bits of vitality in it, here and there: only vitality grows old, being thereby inferior to poetry, which stays the age of its creation.
My R.A.F. notes aren't really a book, but a loose collection of memoranda jotted down at Uxbridge in 1922. I meant them to make a book of my life in the Air Force (or of life in the R.A.F. which is a bigger idea) and was preparing notes to refresh my memories. Only I was thrown out in 1923, and thus the project flopped, never (I think) to be taken up again.
As they exist the notes are purely technical. They interest people like Wavell and Dawnay, who are still serving officers, with the duty of commanding soldiers. To them the psychology of the ranks is important. But outsiders wouldn't get through the crust to the real stuff inside. For that reason I suppressed them. They give people an unfavourable, and therefore wrong impression of the R.A.F.
Some day I'll meet you and we will talk wider upon this.
|Last revised:||1 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