Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Group-Captain Sydney Smith
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.
|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