Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to H. S. Ede
No: the address is not spoof. I have been here for some months doing my last R.A.F. job, overseeing the refit of ten of our boats in a great garage in the (empty) town. A summer seaside resort is an uncanny place in mid-winter.
The refit is due to be completed by the end of February; and early in March I 'get my ticket'. It's like a blank wall beyond which I cannot even imagine. Exactly what leisure is like, whether it will madden me or suit me, what it means to wake up every day and know there is no compulsion to get out of bed... it's no good. When it comes, I shall try to deal with it; but now, beforehand, I can only say that 1 wish it had not to be.
The assets are my cottage in Dorsetshire (Clouds Hill, Moreton, Dorset... you have the address just right) 25s. a week, a bike. If to that I find myself in possession of a quiet mind, then I shall be fortunate. I think 1 have to 'draw' this mind when I draw my discharge; and dare only hope to find it full and quiet.
. . .
Yes, we must meet this year. I shall trip up the stairs some fine or wet day and discover you sitting by a veiled fish; with five Kit Woods for background as though I had never left the Air Force. But I shall try not to come till my feet are steady again.
Isn't it odd that a sober man should feel so, merely because his term of service has run out? I have passed all these twelve years hoping that an end would not come.
Thank you for the renewed diary: but after March, time will be just one of the things for which I have no use. Space, now; space still keeps its meaning
|Last revised:||7 January 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