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Updated July 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Corporal W. Bradbury

B.P B. Co.


Dear B.,

Your letter to-day. Norrington spoke to Personnel about you some months ago, and it was on the strength of what they agreed that I made that remark to F/S Pitt.

Now that it's come to the point (it is seldom possible to do anything before, in the R.A.F.!) N. is unfortunately away, at Gardeners for a week and then on leave for a week.

So I've given your note to B-G who will see the P[ersonnel] man and try to smooth your path. B.G. will do his best. I would have preferred N. as he is a serving officer and knows his men better. There should be no particular difficulty, however. Please let me know as soon as you know anything.

It's in my mind to try and ease you into my place, when I go in March next. Keep this to yourself and do not bank too much on it. I think it may come off, if my successor is to be a serving airman: but other powers far senior to me are suggesting that the Boat Department will need two Technical Officers (civilians) as overseers when I go.

I feel flattered but not convinced. There is plenty for one whole-time, but certainly not enough for two. The fitting side of it (metal-work and engines) is the leading job, and any bright fitters would soon mug up the allied-trade accessories, such as hulls and lay-outs and equipment generally. However we shall see. I'm rather hoping that Treasury will say the civvies cost too much.

At the moment we are all up to the teeth in 5 more target boats. Three or four are [to] formate from here to Bridlington in ten days time. We may spend the first night in Ramsgate and refuel from Manston. If you hear of us, come down and look at the fleet. Target boats are fearful and wonderful things.

After that come 6 bomb-loading dinghies, difficult and not very satisfactory craft. Meanwhile the new four-cylinder Gardner 60bhp light Diesel is having its gear box fitted for test in 159 hull. Probably Charlie Butters will instal at Northam and watch over the first trials. We have also a Lion installed in a 50 mph hull awaiting S-P’s return from the Baltic to O.K. her for test. It might do more than fifty, too!

As you see, I've bitten off more than I can finish by March. There will be many loose ends for the next man - The Junkers Diesel (500 hp), Monel and Tungum propellers, the new cruiser-pinnaces, an armed 45-footer for the Chinese Customs, fast targets and tugs for the War Office. All these things are afoot. I reckon two years programme all laid out and filled.

Best of luck to your theory test next week. I altogether agree with your verdict upon the course - yet in such an eyewash job as this of mine, the power to sling the gab would be very helpful. If I could drop a farad or an aspect ratio occasionally they would let me walk over their bellies.

As I say, let me know what happens, good or bad, with yourself. And if you do get to Batten, for the love of Mike, get me back the remains of my tool-kit. A new bike coming, and not a spanner except I borrow it from Leonard's bag.



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Source: DG 805-6
Checked: mv/
Last revised: 7 March 2006


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