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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Rupert de la Bère

13 Birmingham Street,


Dear Prof

Yours is the unkindest cut of all! What has happened is briefly this:-

Twelve years ago I wrote some notes on the R.A.F. Depot... and in 1925 I added a word on Cranwell and sent it to Trenchard. A 'book' of 80,000 words, only notes: no continuity or development. To Trenchard I faithfully promised that it should not be published.

Various people have read it (Sir John Salmond holds it now): one chapter was sent by me to your Journal - an innocuous chapter. An Irishman is lent the script by a friend of his to whom a friend of mine had without telling me lent it... sub-loan upon sub-loan. 'Hot stuff' says the Irishman and copies... how much of it? God knows... but the Legion Journal is then sent a précis of the last three chapters by him, and comes out with a mash of it as an article by me.

Thunder from the Commissioner of Police: from the Air Ministry... my head astonished but unbowed. The Legion Journal apologises next month. The Irishman has left his rooms - no address - and is laughing, probably. I am the poorer by three chapters, a visit to London, seven stamps (no, eight now) and three telegrams.

So the R.A.F. College Journal will not reprint it. In its mangled form it does not appeal to its author! Conceit, that is. Probably it is better in petto.

Has Dunn told you he has found a publisher? Good for him. Garnett called the stuff pretty good. I saw D. in his Squadron at Lympne: very amusing. He was like a slightly irascible bantam-cock in a large harem of hens - who looked up or down to him with vast fluttering respect. From the officers I gathered that he keeps them in order, too. Only the adjutant escapes criticism, so long as he gives D. dual and plenty of it!



Philip Sassoon, Eva Charteris and I spent a giddy afternoon in the cellars of the Tate Gallery, choosing pictures for Cranwell. Chamber of horrors, littered with worse pictures than those on show! We got to twenty, (it must be a large college) and then felt faint. I hope you don't get them all. We nearly sent you one of myself in blue uniform, looking very bad-tempered. You could have labelled it 'Cadet College 1925-1926'!

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Source: DG 780-81
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 21 January 2006


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