Herbert Samuel and Emir Abdullah in Transjordan. T.E. Lawrence is in the background. Circa 1921.
In the first chapter of his book The Mint, T.E.Lawrence details his enlistment into the R.A.F. (Royal Air Force) under his pseudonym John Hume Ross.
All smooth so far. They are gentle-spoken to us, almost sorry. Won’t you walk into my parlour? Wait upstairs for medical exam? ‘Righto!’ This sodden pyramid of clothes upon the floor is a sign of a dirtier man than me in front. My go next? Everything off? (Naked we come into the R.A.F.) Ross? ‘Yes, that’s me.’
Officers, two of them…
Not much, Sir.
'Well, cut it out. See?'
Six months back, it was, my last cigarette. However, no use giving myself away.
'Nerves like a rabbit.' The scotch-voiced doctor's hard fingers go hammer, hammer, hammer over the loud box of my ribs. I must be pretty hollow.
'Turn over: get up: stand under here: make yourself as tall as you can: he'll just do five foot six, Mac: chest—say 34. Expansion—by Jove, 38. That'll do. Now jump: higher: lift your right leg: hold it there: cough: all right: on your toes: arms straight in front of you: open your fingers wide: hold them so: turn round: bend over. Hullo, what the hell's those marks? Punishment? 'No Sir, more like persuasion Sir, I think.' Face, neck, chest, getting hot.
'H…m … m … m …, that would account for the nerves.' His voice sounds softer. 'Don't put them down, Mac. Say two parallel scars on ribs. What were they, boy?’
Superficial wounds, Sir.
'Answer my question.'
A barbed-wire tear, over a fence.
'H… m … m … and how long have you been short of food?'
(O Lord, I never thought he’d spot that. Since April I’ve been taking off my friends what meals I dared, all that my shame would let me take. I’d haunt the Duke of York steps at lunch-time, so as to turn back with someone to his club for the food whose necessity nearly choked me. Put a good face on it; better.)
Gone a bit short the last three months, Sir. How my throat burns!
'More like six'… came back in a growl. The worst of telling lies naked is that the red shows all the way down. A long pause, me shivering in disgrace. He stares so gravely, and my eyes are watering. (Oh, it hurts: I wish I hadn't taken this job on.)
|—||T.E. Lawrence in The Mint|
Thanks to everyone who entered the T.E. Lawrence book giveaway! The lucky winner is user nightblink!
T.E. Lawrence was only kicked out of the R.A.F. and he left the Tank Corps willingly when he was allowed to reenlist in the R.A.F. for a second time.
He was kicked out of the R.A.F. in 1923 when his true identity was revealed. He had enlisted under the pseudonym John Hume Ross. At the time, due to Lowell Thomas’s travelogue, “Lawrence of Arabia” was still a household name. He then joined the Royal Tanks Corps a few months later under the name T.E. Shaw. In 1925 he was allowed to reenlist in the R.A.F. and was sent to Cranwell, then Karachi in India, and finally Miranshah near Afghanistan. Then there was more trouble. False rumors were spread that he was there spying for the British military. His identity was again revealed and he was sent back to England until his retirement in 1935, two months before his death.
A hand-tinted photograph of T.E. Lawrence with Emir Abdullah and Gertrude Bell (in the back left), April 1921.
And remember, there’s still time for Americans to message me to be entered in a Lawrence book giveaway!
“T. E. Lawrence as Aircraftman T.E. Shaw on the aerodrome at Miranshah Fort in Waziristan, India (on the North West Frontier) during his service in the Royal Air Force. Lawrence was employed as a clerk in the wireless station at Miranshah. He is seen nursing his wrist which he had broken at RAF Cranwell in 1926. Lawrence wrote that the wrist ‘hurt for so long that nursing it became a habit.’”
Hey guys, I have some exciting news! This blog has now reached over 300 followers and I want to celebrate by giving back to the community. I am going to give away three Lawrence books to one lucky person who messages me by Monday - November 25th, 12:00 pm EST. Just mention that you wish to be entered in the giveaway in your message.
It includes a 1964 paperback copy of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, a 1927 hardcover edition of Revolt in the Desert (abridged version of Seven Pillars of Wisdom) and a paperback copy of The Golden Warrior: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Lawrence James.
The books are all used and the copy of Revolt in the Desert is in a fragile condition.
1. You must be at least 18 years old.
2. If you win, you must be willing to share your name and contact information with me so that I can mail the books to you. You will giving this information to me, and not Tumblr.
3. You must reside in the US as per Tumblr’s contest guidelines. Sorry international followers. :(
4. You must submit an entry by sending me a message! Anonymous messages will be invalid.
Your messages will be assigned a number and I will draw a number at random to select the winner. I will announce the winner on Tuesday - November 26th! Good luck!
Disclaimer: This giveaway is not sponsored by Tumblr.
Sir Herbert Samuel’s second visit to Transjordan. T.E. Lawrence in a Bristol F.2B fighter airplane ready for a flight to el-Azrak, April 17, 1921.