Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Clare Sydney Smith
I am sorry to be so slow in answering. First there was the uncertainty about myself, which turned me into a wandering Jew for some days and then the feeling that after all I might press my roots in again.
The reason I would not ask to move was because I knew it would be refused. There is a definite instruction laid down (by S. of S.) against my posting to any station in the London district. Kent counts, I think, as a home county, Margate being a seaside branch of London. I have been told that I may go to Leuchars, if I like. I do not like.
Since life is all growing roots and tearing them up every time I reach a new station, I vow that I will not put down roots, to save pain - but the things grow in the dark, all unknowing.
You will even like Manston in time, without (I hope) ceasing to regret Mount Batten.
This place seems to have lost something. We go about as usual, but there is no sense of direction or effort. In your day, it was so happy and contented.
The Biscuit is in her shed. She will not run much now, for reasons of money. For that I am glad that I stay here. Manston would have cost me more than I have. [possible omission] These next few years are going to be scraping times for people with fixed incomes. I think my bike. [sic]
The next week-end must fall through. Wing Commander Burling is away in London. He went days ago, before I could ask him, and is not yet back. They think he will be here on Thursday, which is too late to put in for it. Will you try again (or ask the G/C to try again) later? Remember that passes and leaves are not so sensible here as they were. The absence of the cat has let the mice make rules.
I've been twice to Barbican to see your fisherman, but without luck. The fleet is out for herrings, probably that is why.
Acland has two dog combs of yours. Sergeant Pitt would very much like that exchange, or posting to Manston, if it can be worked. Stacey is very grateful for his reference.
I wish the old state could be restored. I shall always remember Mount Batten.
Please regard me to Squark, to Leo and to William; and again to Leo. I hope he is burrless now.
It will be a great pleasure to fly down to you sometime. S/L Jones has promised me a lift in the first Iris to go; but that will be summer time, I suppose.
|Last revised:||2 July 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