c. 10 June 1915

Military Intelligence Office

Poor dear Mother

I got your letter this morning, and it has grieved me very much. You will never never understand any of us after we are grown up a little. Don’t you ever feel that we love you without our telling you so? – I feel such a contemptible worm for having to write this way about things. If you only knew that if one thinks deeply about anything one would rather die than say anything about it. You know men do nearly all die laughing, because they know death is very terrible, and a thing to be forgotten till after it has come.

There, put that aside, and bear a brave face to the world about Frank. In a time of such fearful stress in our country it is one’s duty to watch very carefully lest one of the weaker ones be offended: and you know we were always the stronger, and if they see you broken down they will all grow fearful about their ones at the front.

Frank’s last letter is a very fine one, and leaves no regret behind it.

Out here we do nothing. There is an official inertia against which one is very powerless. But I don’t think we are going to have to wait much longer.

I didn’t go to say goodbye to Frank because he would rather I didn’t, and I knew there was little chance of my seeing him again; in which case we were better without a parting.


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

Is Lawrence’s letter to his mother, written after his brother Frank’s death one month before, one of the most moving pieces he ever wrote?