Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Lieutenant Robin White R.N.
I will never be a sailor, I'm afraid: born too late, though my father had yachts and used to take me with him from my fourth year: but my attempted accomplishment is motor-boating, a very different art, and as difficult. Sailing has only wind and water, and the two-party system is simply to work. With power all manner of complications enter and the art becomes exquisite, and subtler. Only it isn't sailing!
Last week we ran down from Southampton here in 7 hours in one of the new R.A.F. boats: and this morning (it being most rough and horrid). We chased the Keppel out beyond Rame Head, till she took over too much water for 20 m.p.h. and turned back to the Sound. We turned back, willingly, and kept station till within the breakwater: then home: but the poor Keppel has to wait out there.
My own boat is in the shed, till I finish these R.A.F. tests. Almost sick of speed boating, I am, now.
What is the Viscount? It sounds like an unarmoured ship, and should not be the smallest of its class, or rank, or shouldn't it be the Viscountess? "She" says the incarnate sailor, stroking the gangway of the Iron Duke, "can be a perfect bitch in a cross-sea." "He surely" I suggest, but incarnate deny it. What can a mere airman say?
T. E. Shaw
I should, properly, have the honour to be, Sir,
your obedient Servant: but proprieties have been observed with the Lieut
at the top. Unless you are a Commander now. I hope so.
|Last revised:||28 November 2008|
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