T. E. Lawrence to Clare Sydney Smith
How the weeks lengthen out. I came in the end of November.
My Notes of the 200 Class are finished: a small book of about 40 pages, I expect: and they may appear as an Air Ministry Publication. That will make me laugh, if it does. I am revising them now, for submission to the Publication Department, and preparing an index. Ever so dull, the notes, and entirely impersonal. Nobody could guess that anybody had written them. They seem just to have collected themselves.
Now we are testing these 16 boats: and hope by Easter to have passed them all out. Easter is the first possible date for finishing. It means one every day, and two on some days, I hope, but do not feel too sure of managing so much.
After Easter there are 9 dinghies to test : and one of them the refuelling dinghy, to be exhaustively tested in all weathers. I see myself getting wet again.
After that, in April, there are two target boats to test. That is a new proposition and should be curious and perhaps exciting.
After that there is nothing at all, and I hope for Plymouth. Not the Biscuit, particularly. I shall be half-dead of motor-boating, and longing for books and armchairs and fleshpots.
A queer mixed life mine is.
You will see how difficult it is for me to say anything definite about Manston for the moment. After Easter... yes I think after Easter. I should get at least a week-end. But until the 16 boats are passed, not a day or hardly an hour.
The irony was that I lately spent 5 days in London, and did nothing - saw nobody. All the time I was in E.6 typing these blessed Notes on the etc. and answering questions about them and other boats.
I become learned about boats, and meanwhile, there are no books, no music, no easements. But George Brough have swapped my bike for a new one, a beauty; if only I had time to ride it.
Lately I nearly sent you two Turkish rugs: but had mercy. They were so dirty, and so threadbare. Even Leo would have found them stringy under-paw. Please give them a double ration of coffee sugar to-morrow night. They will have forgotten me before I come.
My regards to the Squawk: I hope Manston is growing more like a home for its airmen. By the way, did you get poor Sergt. Pitt along?
|Last revised:||3 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