T. E. Lawrence to Ernest Thurtle
Yes, I know Church End, having had friends in Windsor Road which is not far from you. It is quieter than the main Golders' Green part and has some views and greenery within reach: not that you will have time to see them!
Yesterday you were in the headlines as a Junior Lord. Odd, isn't
it, how things happen unbeknownst? Ten years ago Lords, senior and junior, were out of your reach and wish; now you take it as a commonplace. I hope it means that you are marked for office upon the next re-shuffle. Shuffle it generally is, by the way. I suggest your specialising upon a fighting service, preferably Air. There are fundamental changes in the status of 'other ranks' due and over-due. One resents the private opinion of the services being twenty years behind public opinion in all matters of common decency. An untramelled-by-social-prejudice-S. of S. could work a little revolution, for great good, in two years.
[2 lines omitted] In the R.A.F. there exists a jealous and ineradicable feeling against lighter-than-airships. We are so pinned to aircraft that we cannot hear a good word of gas-bags. Nor was R.101 a particularly good gas-bag. Yet her crash was an error of navigational control, I fear, and no direct fault of the ship. That re-filling the water ballast before Beauvais, coupled with a failure to allow for the weather influence upon the altimeters, killed her and the poor crew. It was not Lord T's fault; yet he was a bad Air Minister. We all liked Montague so much better.
I get no news of Afghanistan, so the last sentences of your letter remain obscure. But I would have you too contemptuous of the foreign policy of the Government of India to credit it with being either good or bad. It will be just fatuous. I do not think that Amanullah was in the least degree Russia-inclined, anyhow.
I continue in Plymouth, moderately quiet and immediately happy. If ever you see the artful Maxton, please give him my regards: and we will meet some day, either in Finchley or in London. Not in winter, though!
|Last revised:||31 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