LAWRENCE T.E. Autograph letter signed (''TE Lawrence'') to Major W.F. Stirling, describing an attack on a Turkish trains, Akaba, 25 September 1917. 4 pages, 8vo, a few minor rust stains, else fine.
LAWRENCE T.E. Autograph letter signed ("TE Lawrence") to Major W.F. Stirling, describing an attack on a Turkish trains, Akaba, 25 September 1917. 4 pages, 8vo, a few minor rust stains, else fine.
LAWRENCE'S GRAPHIC ACCOUNT OF A SUCCESSFUL RAID ON A TURKISH RAILROAD NEAR MAAN
Major Walter F. Stirling (1880-1958) was an acquaintance on Allenby's staff, who would later enter Damascus along with Lawrence (see lot 95) and earn the rank of Colonel. In this important letter, Lawrence graphically outlines his raid on a train following his thwarted attempt to take the strategically important Mudawara station, south of Maan. "...the last stunt was the hold up of a train. It had two locomotives and we gutted one with an electric mine. This rather jumbled up the trucks which were full of Turks shooting at us. We had a Lewis, and flung bullets through the side so they hopped out and took cover behind the embankment and shot at us between the wheels, at 50 yards. Then we tried a Stokes gun and two beautiful shots dropped right in the middle of them. They couldn't stand that (12 died on the spot) and bolted away to the East... Unfortunately for them the Lewis coverd the open stretch. The whole job took ten minutes and they lost 70 killed, 30 wounded, 80 prisoners and about 25 got away."
Although the operation "achieved far less than Lawrence had hoped, there was praise from Egypt: the destruction of a Turkish locomotive was one of the most useful things a railway raid could achieve. Allenby sent congratulations, and Wingate wrote to London that this latest exploit in wrecking a train with two engines, south of Maan, containing a considerable number of Turkish troops...is only in keeping with the splendid work [Lawrence] has done hitherto in Arabia'" (Wilson, p. 447).