19 August 1915

“This is only a scribble. I’ve just got back, and there is a post going. Athens was very hot, and glare of sun very bad. Otherwise not dull. I was in office there from 9a.m. (when shops opened) till 7p.m. (when shops shut): so I bought nothing, and saw nothing:- except the Acropolis from the window. Letter by next post: I have a great lot to do today.”

T. E. Lawrence to his family (The Home Letters of T. E. Lawrence and His Brothers, edited by M. R. Lawrence, published by Blackwell, 1954).

Lawrence’s brief note to his family, written following a temporary posting to Athens, once again gives no hint of the portentous events that were taking place in Cairo at the time.

Lawrence’s return to Cairo coincided with a letter being received from Sherif Hussein outlining his conditions for uniting with
the British in a revolt against the Ottoman Turks. The letter (the
beginning of the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence) would set in motion the chain of events that would lead Lawrence to Arabia, and end in him becoming one of the most famous figures to emerge from the Great War.