Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to the Hon Esmond Harmsworth
Dear Mr. Harmsworth,
I am presuming on a brief acquaintance of many years ago to approach you now (as Chairman of the N.P.A.) on a personal matter.
You may have heard that about a month ago I was discharged from the R.A.F. upon completion of my engagement for twelve years with the colours.
I take it this discharge marks the end of the active part of my life. I returned to this cottage, which has been mine for many years, with the intention of settling quietly in retirement.
Unfortunately, the quietude has been a complete failure. Reporters and press photographers have visited the place in some numbers, anxious to photograph it and me, or to ascertain my future intentions. This is a very simple district and their enquiries after me have given my country neighbours only too much to talk about. Their eagerness to find me drove me out: and after I had gone it led them to break the tiles of my roof, split the door and trample all over my patch of land in search of me. I have had to ask the local police to patrol the place, in my absence.
I am writing to you to ask if your association can help to relieve me of some of this attention? I quite realize that many of the visitors are freelances: but even these find their market in the biggest newspapers. It would be a great comfort to me if editors could generally deny me further space.
As I said at the beginning of this letter, my retirement is, I hope, for good. I am not under any further obligation to the Government. I am not looking for any employment. I am not writing, or intending to write, any other books: nor am I ever likely to go abroad again.
I have saved just enough money to keep me by myself in modest idleness, and I am very much looking forward to doing nothing. I think I can promise you never again to earn a paragraph, and if you can do anything to help keep me out of sight I shall be most grateful.
This address will find me always and I am ready to furnish (not for publication) any further information anyone of your members may want.
Note: N.P.A. - Newspaper Proprietors Association.
|Last revised:||7 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