“I want to pull them all together, & to roll up Syria by way of the Hedjaz in the name of the Sherif. You know how big his repute is in Syria … Won’t the French be mad if we win through? Don’t talk of it yet.”
T. E. Lawrence to David Hogarth (The Letters of T. E. Lawrence, edited by David Garnett, published by Jonathan Cape, 1938).
A series of uncensored letters Lawrence wrote to Hogarth at this time reveal the strategy he was developing for the war. This letter
of March 22 is picked out by David Garnett, the editor of his letters, as “probably the most remarkable document Lawrence ever wrote. It shows that he had already planned the campaign which he was to carry to a victorious conclusion three years later.”
“Don’t come back to England. The horrible boredom of having nothing to do, & getting news about once a week, and hearing all the rumours and theories and anxieties of everybody all round you gets on all our nerves. And you couldn’t do anything. The Govt. is very well prepared for our present needs, and is not inviting volunteer aid … There is nothing to do but wait, and waiting is very hard.”
T. E. Lawrence to Mrs Rieder (The Letters of T. E. Lawrence, edited by David Garnett, published by Jonathan Cape, 1938).
In early June 1914, Lawrence had left Carchemish – the ancient
Hittite site where he had worked as an archaeologist since 1911 – for the last time. He was back in Oxford, working in the Bodleian
Library on his contribution to The Wilderness of Zin, when war
was declared in August 1914. Thus, to his friend Mrs Rieder,
he described the first few weeks of the war while he awaited his call-up to Military Intelligence. The waiting was to continue until