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T.E.Lawrence

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Maureene
6 hours ago, pudsey63 said:

Currently reading Bray’s ‘Shifting Sands’; a fascinating alternative view of Lawrence by a contemporary. 

Found that this is available online:

Shifting Sands by  Major N N E Bray ( Norman Napier Evelyn). 1934. Archive.org.

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.77401/page/n5/mode/2up

 

I have only read the first few chapters, but I felt I was reading an adventure thriller.

 

Cheers

Maureen

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pudsey63
4 hours ago, Maureene said:

Found that this is available online:

Shifting Sands by  Major N N E Bray ( Norman Napier Evelyn). 1934. Archive.org.

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.77401/page/n5/mode/2up

 

I have only read the first few chapters, but I felt I was reading an adventure thriller.

 

Cheers

Maureen


I found this original clipping (among others) pasted into an old copy of ‘Lawrence and the Arabs’. Whoever owned the book back in the 1930’s was also intrigued. Coincidentally, I was halfway through Shifting Sands when I stumbled across this in the bookshop. A bargain at £5! 
 

A9A458C9-F6E1-451E-84B6-DC50FBF168FB.jpeg

Edited by pudsey63

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maxi

Had a quick read of the chapter entitled 'Lawrence', pages 155 to 166. 

Made me think that the Major was perhaps jealous of T E's exploits? Having not read the rest of the book maybe that is unfair.

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pudsey63
1 hour ago, maxi said:

Had a quick read of the chapter entitled 'Lawrence', pages 155 to 166. 

Made me think that the Major was perhaps jealous of T E's exploits? Having not read the rest of the book maybe that is unfair.


I suppose we’ll never know his motives, but it’s just possible that he was telling the truth as he saw it. Speaking of professional jealousy, Lawrence certainly went out of his way to trash the reputation of Leachman. Maybe he couldn’t stand the competition from a dead man? 

 

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David Filsell

Just a thought, and for fun at a difficult time 

My edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom (Book Club Associates - 1973  contains some interesting claims from TEL in its preface.

To the best of my knowledge and my ten or so volume library on works on or by TEL I do not think anyone has examined the question of the Reading Station Mystery (the film of which would need ideally a short actor with tall thin head rather than a Plenty O’Toole).

TEL claims to have lost all but the introduction and drafts of books (ie chapters) 9 and 10 of his work at Reading Station. He writes that had the work been completed it would have been about 250,000 words long

He also claimed  that he began rewrite what he claimed to remember from the first text”. The lost work he then claimed to have re -written in less than 3 months. Let us be generous and allow 30 days for the work “… doing many thousands of words at a time, in long sittings”

The result - he claimed - came to over 400,000 words – although set up for printing he cut it; removing one chapter totally, to some 280,00 words.  How long would the editing out of 14,000 words take an experienced writer.

A rough word count of my edition of Seven Pillars indicates 12 words per line and 34 lines per page. Thus 408 words per page. The page count of my edition is 664 pages. Thus the total word count – in the way that we used to do it pre-word for Windows - is 270,912

Accepting that TEL claims to have lost all but the introduction and drafts of books 9 and 10 of Seven Pillars at Reading Station (how did he manage to keep them and loose the others) for the writing editing and correcting of the final edition my calculations are interesting.

I calculate therefore that he claims to have written/rewritten and corrected/rewritten or corrected some 3,100 words a day. Even if we allow him 15 hours of writing a day for 90 days such writing, rewriting and 10 or so volumes of TEL editing is unbelievable effort. (But only totally)

If he fabricated facts of a this matter -  so unimportant to anyone other than the gods of posterity, lasting image, and ego -  how much else did he fabricate. I short I believe he was definitely a man “who backed into the limelight” and then built his own searchlights.

Lawrentian's thought would  be interesting - as would any corrections to my rough arithmetic- and obviously his!

Best regards – stay well

David

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pudsey63

 a man “who backed into the limelight” and then built his own searchlights

 

I couldn’t have put it better myself. 👏. I’m no mathematician but you make a very good argument David. 

 

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seaJane
On 26/03/2020 at 18:39, David Filsell said:

3,100 words a day

 

When I'm really going I can write 1,000 words an hour, but I have to have no other pressures and someone else to supply food.

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David Filsell

SJ

1,000 words and hour is very good going. If under pressure even harder to achieve

As an ex journalist I know it is simply impossible to write with the degree of literary skill that TEL enjoyed so swiftly - or indeed to continue writing for as long as generously gave him!

The question remains was he writing that much and was he writing for periods as long as have suggested - and in a type writer - or by hand?

Its just not credible - or believable.

best regards

|David  

Edited by David Filsell

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seaJane

I'll have to test myself some time :)

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david murdoch
On 26/03/2020 at 12:33, pudsey63 said:


I suppose we’ll never know his motives, but it’s just possible that he was telling the truth as he saw it. Speaking of professional jealousy, Lawrence certainly went out of his way to trash the reputation of Leachman. Maybe he couldn’t stand the competition from a dead man? 

 

I don't think many professional soldiers would have been jealous of Lawrence and certainly not many would have much respect for him. Given his mouthings while British soldiers were still fighting and dying in the region after he was back home and referring to Mesopotamia as "a country of fourth raters" when his operation was in reality a side show to the main campaigns  probably did not go down well. Obviously he was not considered reliable for any  position of importance and services no longer required. His pro Arab stance  was seen by many in the military as siding with the enemy. Rightly or wrongly at the time the “arabs” and the Kurds in particular were our enemies.  As for his (and his publishers/promoter's) blatant attempts to block publications on Leachman's exploits - unfortunately for Lawrence, Leachman was the real deal with the experience and credentials  which Lawrence could never hope to match, so he stooped to personal attack on the man's character after he was dead.  The letter below was published very shortly after Leachman had been murdered and the insurrection was in full swing so I think he was probably wise not to name any names.  

World War I, Report on Mesopotamia by T.E. Lawrence 22 August, 1920

A Report on Mesopotamia by T.E. Lawrence

Ex.-Lieut.-Col. T.E. Lawrence,

The Sunday Times, 22 August 1920

[Mr. Lawrence, whose organization and direction of the Hedjaz against the Turks

was one of the outstanding romances of the war, has written this article at our

request in order that the public may be fully informed of our Mesopotamian

commitments.]

The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it

will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it

by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated,

insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our

administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a

disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary

cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster.

The sins of commission are those of the British civil authorities in Mesopotamia

(especially of three 'colonels') who were given a free hand by London. They are

controlled from no Department of State, but from the empty space which divides

the Foreign Office from the India Office. They availed themselves of the

necessary discretion of war-time to carry over their dangerous independence into

times of peace. They contest every suggestion of real self- government sent them

from home. A recent proclamation about autonomy circulated with unction from

Baghdad was drafted and published out there in a hurry, to forestall a more

liberal statement in preparation in London, 'Self-determination papers'

favourable to England were extorted in Mesopotamia in 1919 by official pressure,

by aeroplane demonstrations, by deportations to India.

The Cabinet cannot disclaim all responsibility. They receive little more news

than the public: they should have insisted on more, and better. they have sent

draft after draft of reinforcements, without enquiry. When conditions became too

bad to endure longer, they decided to send out as High commissioner the original

author of the present system, with a conciliatory message to the Arabs that his

heart and policy have completely changed.*

Yet our published policy has not changed, and does not need changing. It is that

there has been a deplorable contrast between our profession and our practice. We

said we went to Mesopotamia to defeat Turkey. We said we stayed to deliver the

Arabs from the oppression of the Turkish Government, and to make available for

the world its resources of corn and oil. We spent nearly a million men and

nearly a thousand million of money to these ends. This year we are spending

ninety-two thousand men and fifty millions of money on the same objects.

Our government is worse than the old Turkish system. They kept fourteen thousand

local conscripts embodied, and killed a yearly average of two hundred Arabs in

maintaining peace. We keep ninety thousand men, with aeroplanes, armoured cars,

gunboats, and armoured trains. We have killed about ten thousand Arabs in this

rising this summer. We cannot hope to maintain such an average: it is a poor

country, sparsely peopled; but Abd el Hamid would applaud his masters, if he saw

us working. We are told the object of the rising was political, we are not told

what the local people want. It may be what the Cabinet has promised them. A

Minister in the House of Lords said that we must have so many troops because the

local people will not enlist. On Friday the Government announce the death of

some local levies defending their British officers, and say that the services of

these men have not yet been sufficiently recognized because they are too few

(adding the characteristic Baghdad touch that they are men of bad character).

There are seven thousand of them, just half the old Turkish force of occupation.

Properly officered and distributed, they would relieve half our army there.

Cromer controlled Egypt's six million people with five thousand British troops;

Colonel Wilson fails to control Mesopotamia's three million people with ninety

thousand troops.

We have not reached the limit of our military commitments. Four weeks ago the

staff in Mesopotamia drew up a memorandum asking for four more divisions. I

believe it was forwarded to the War Office, which has now sent three brigades

from India. If the North-West Frontier cannot be further denuded, where is the

balance to come from? Meanwhile, our unfortunate troops, Indian and British,

under hard conditions of climate and supply, are policing an immense area,

paying dearly every day in lives for the wilfully wrong policy of the civil

administration in Baghdad. General Dyer was relieved of his command in India for

a much smaller error, but the responsibility in this case is not on the Army,

which has acted only at the request of the civil authorities. The War Office has

made every effort to reduce our forces, but the decisions of the Cabinet have

been against them.

The Government in Baghdad have been hanging Arabs in that town for political

offences, which they call rebellion. The Arabs are not at war with us. Are these

illegal executions to provoke the Arabs to reprisals on the three hundred

British prisoners they hold? And, if so, is it that their punishment may be more

severe, or is it to persuade our other troops to fight to the last?

We say we are in Mesopotamia to develop it for the benefit of the world. all

experts say that the labour supply is the ruling factor in its development. How

far will the killing of ten thousand villagers and townspeople this summer

hinder the production of wheat, cotton, and oil? How long will we permit

millions of pounds, thousands of Imperial troops, and tens of thousands of Arabs

to be sacrificed on behalf of colonial administration which can benefit nobody

but its administrators?

Edited by david murdoch

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pudsey63
38 minutes ago, david murdoch said:

 As for his (and his publishers/promoter's) blatant attempts to block publications on Leachman's exploits - unfortunately for Lawrence, Leachman was the real deal with the experience and credentials  which Lawrence could never hope to match, so he stooped to personal attack on the man's character after he was dead.  The letter below was published very shortly after Leachman had been murdered and the insurrection was in full swing so I think he wasprobably wise not to name any names.  


David, quite so! I was due to give a talk here in Leachman’s hometown to raise awareness of our local forgotten hero on the centenary of his murder. Like everything else it has had to be postponed for now. 

Edited by pudsey63

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david murdoch
1 hour ago, pudsey63 said:


David, quite so! I was due to give a talk here in Leachman’s hometown to raise awareness of our local forgotten hero on the centenary of his murder. Like everything else it has had to be postponed for now. 

Very interesting. My own research is in the Machine Gun Corps (Motors) and armoured cars. So I have an interest in both the Hejaz cars and in the L.A.M.B units in Mesopotamia. My grandfather served with 8th L.A.M.B in Mesopotamia and Kurdistan to the end of 1919. Just recently posted on another forum regarding Leachman's reburial in Baghdad in 1921 and doing some research on the officer Lt Goring (mention mentioned in OC Desert) who recovered his body two days after his murder. The car HMAC Harvester used to transport his body back to Baghdad in 1921 was the same one belonging to 6th L.A.M.B which had recovered his body the previous year. On the side behind the oil drum can be seen the diamond insignia of the L.A.M.B Brigade. Research shows the L.A.M.B brigade in Mesopotamia were carrying out similar activities (during the war years) - blowing up the Berlin to Baghdad railway, getting behind enemy lines and destroying telegraph lines, rescuing downed airmen ect. The cars in what became  the Hejaz section  were the minimum that were spared for the operation sourced from other locations and not diverted from the effort in Mesopotamia. They were considered to divert Turkish resources from the  Palestine and Mesopotamia. It's obvious that the armoured cars and other armed vehicles used by Lawrence were the real teeth of his operation and the MGC men (and their ASC drivers) were in fact corps troops and with their own officers. They were in Lawrence's immediate control but their chain of command went far higher than him.

Also researching the newspaper archives it's actually surprising how little was actually published about Lawrence at the time (searching under all the usual keywords) only into the mid 1930s do you see a real spike -  well after the fact and obviously due to publicity and then his untimely death.  The other attachment from the press in 1934 in regards Major N N E Bray states his position and this likely reflects the opinion of professional military men to Lawrence's self publicising. He also was talking through experience. Lawrence's  remarks about Leachman in 1929 are pretty pathetic and frankly at odds with the facts and Leachman's far greater experience in the region. Obviously the two were polar opposites and never likely to get along.

 

Lawrence’s opinion of Leachman was not favourable. Describing Leachman in a letter (written in 1929) as "a thin jumpy nervous long fellow, with a plucked face and neck. He was full of courage and hard as French nails. He had an abiding contempt for everything native .... this made him inconsiderate, harsh, overbearing towards his servants and subjects: and there was, I stake my oath, no justification for the airs he took. ... I should call him a man too little sensitive to be aware of other points of view other than his own; too little fine to see degrees of greatness, degrees of rightness in others. He was blunt and outspoken to a degree. Such is a good point in a preacher, a bad point in a diplomat. It makes a bullying judge too. I think he was first and foremost a bully: .... For his few days with us in Hejaz we were not prepared. “Leachman”, it was a great name and repute in Mesopotamia (a land of fourth-raters) and we thought to find a colleague in him. After less than a week we had to return him on board ship, not for anything he said, though he spoke sourly always, but because he used to chase his servant so unmercifully that our camp took scandal to it. …" 
 

leachman funeral.jpg

bray.jpg

Leachman.jpg

4605086-6218243-image-m-44_1538129589215.jpg

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pudsey63

Thanks for all that David. I confess Leachman has been a bit of an obsession since I first read Lawrence’s opinion of him and realised he was born locally. His reputation is in need of rehabilitation, and virtually no-one here has ever heard of him. I came across the picture of Harvester in the newspaper archive but they wanted £70 to use it in my PowerPoint! 
Can you tell me who/what the last photo shows? It’s such a clear image. 
Our local museum was due to reopen in the autumn after a massive rebuild, but obviously it is all on hold now. There will however be a display of some rather interesting Leachman artefacts when the time comes. 

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david murdoch

The last photo is part of Hejaz section. Three of the armoured cars  - the MGC/ASC contingent was under the command of Captain Gilman.The Talbot lorries were Royal Field Artillery under command of Captain Brodie. Two of those (seen here) transported 10 pdr mountain guns, another with Maxim pom pom for anti aircraft defence. As well as these they had regular trucks for carrying equipment and ammunition.  Interestingly just about everyone in this photo is in regular uniform but wearing shemaghs for practical reasons. Another interesting detail is the wind sock in the back ground. They were in constant air communication  with their chain of command and also had air resupply - in one case they managed to fly in a complete Rolls Royce back axle. Given the value of these vehicles, though they were operating more remotely than most units they were under the same MGC "Principals of the Employment of Armoured Cars" followed by other L.A.M.B units. For sure there was no dressing up as arabs and doing their own thing. A number of the (MGC) personnel came from 1st Light Armoured Car Battery in Egypt.

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