T. E. Lawrence to B. H. Liddell Hart
Indeed I am a sinner: yet not so bad as you judge, for I wrote at length about your Foch. That was last year, in my last visit to Plymouth, between two spells in the boat-yard here. The R.A.F. needed to re-equip itself with new motor-boats, and chose me to test and tune the new boats, and to watch over their building.
Foch is too far behind me, now, for that letter to be re-written. The gist of it was that you left me with a better opinion of Foch, the man, than I had had. You demolish him thoroughly as a soldier: as a politician he needed no other evidence than his own to discredit him. But as a human being he came out well and honourably in what you wrote.
I met the old boy only in 1919, when he was only a frantic pair of moustaches. So I was glad to see the better side.
Surely I sent you the letter? Did it miscarry, to a wrong address - you are as nomadic as myself, and I never know where to imagine you - or did you get it and forget it? At least I remember writing it. Not a real critique: but enough to bring out my feelings. You touched on Colin, I think, too: but my memory is too full of chines, transoms and engine torques, which have driven all books out of it. Sherman, being more in perspective, made a rounder and firmer biography.
My Scotch visit was a 3-week affair only, to deliver one of the new boats to its station.
Mrs. L-H? This is her postscript. I hope she finds Geneva a little less dull than I remember it. Isn't there a Conference there, on Armaments? I faintly remember my friend Dawnay going from his cottage in the Forest here either to Geneva or Lausanne. Happy Swiss: they get all the conferences!
(P.S.) Do you 'Telegraph' yet? Is it happy on its new lines, and prosperous?
I should be here till late in June, I think.
|Last revised:||15 February 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