17 July 1915

“We live in offices and in railway trains; also interviewing Turkish
prisoners, and supplying information on any subject that crops up.
No civil work however and much map-drawing and geography, both
of which please me.

“Frank’s death was as you say a shock, because it was so unexpected.
I don’t think one can regret it overmuch, because it is a very good way
to take, after all. The hugeness of this war has made one change one’s perspectives, I think, and I for one can hardly see details at all. We are
a sort of Levant Foreign Office, and can think of nothing else. I wonder when it will all end and peace follow?”

T. E. Lawrence to Will Lawrence (The Letters of T. E. Lawrence, edited by David Garnett, published by Jonathan Cape, 1938).

No mention is made in Lawrence’s letter of a visitor who had
arrived in Cairo at around this time: a politician and diplomatic
adviser gathering information to help formulate British policy
towards the Turkish Empire after the war. Yet he would for ever loom large in Lawrence’s life. His name was Sir Mark Sykes.