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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Group-Captain Sydney Smith


Mount Batten

4.XI.31

Dear Group-Captain Smith,

I should have answered your letter of October 29, but I'm in my usual state of a flooded table and few stamps. It is very nice of you to say these things: but I have thoroughly enjoyed these last 2½ years at Mount Batten, so that no thanks are due. Incidentally, you will be glad to hear that things are still comfortable.

As for my going to Manston - I realized early on that it was unlikely: and therefore I couldn't well suggest it or press it. It's bad tactics to have a request refused: but of course it didn't matter Biffy's being refused. I think Calshot is about the nearest I could get to the London area, at present. It is not the fault of the C.A.S. but directions about me are on my documents, and he cannot be expected to bother the government for permission to shift me, without strong service cause.

Wing-Commander Burling has had a letter from you, making the arrangements foreshadowed in Mrs. Smith's letter. I'll be at 14, Barton Street by 5 p.m. on Friday week, the 13th, unless I hear to the contrary. You must really return me on the Monday, this time! I mustn't overstay my leave too often.

The fishermen from Barbican send their respects, and S/Ldr. Lloyd some hate! S/Ldr. Jones will tell you about the Iris-Buzzard developments. It has been too rough here for the smaller aircraft lately. The Biscuit is serviceable again, after a week of waiting for a distributor part. But she will not run yet awhile. I have been using the bike quite a little, and reading a lot.

I told Sergt. Pitt that you were intending to try for him soon. He hopes that the transfer will include a hope of married quarters, and is very keen on the move.

S/M Furner is warned for Iraq. So soon there will be not a shred of the old Workshops remaining. He goes in January.

Yours sincerely,

T.E.S.

Source: GR 171-2
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 2 July 2006


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