One page, small quarto; Plymouth, 24 November 1932; light creases across and down the middle (where folded for posting); 'Mr S Smith' written in red pencil on the verso; in excellent condition.
From the spring of 1931 until the end of his enlistment in February 1935, T.E. Lawrence 'was part of a small team that developed and perfected the new types of RAF boat. He worked on seaplane tenders and armoured target boats, general-purpose workboats, refuelling dinghies, bomb-loading dinghies and experimental craft', as well as high-speed boats. 'Given a choice between active life and academia, Lawrence repeatedly chose to savour the real world. He had enjoyed boating in his youth, at both Oxford and Carchemish. He relished the sensation of speed, whether on land or water or in the air. Testing and helping to improve fast boats was not a break with his past: it was an exciting continuation. He found the work challenging, creative and worthwhile' (Jeremy Wilson). In brief, this letter concerns anti-fouling paint; in essence, it captures the spirit referred to above. 'Dear Bordewich (Let's drop titles: mine are so cumbrous). Your racing green is not so dear' at two-and-a-half times 'our present anti-fouling composition, which is not an anti-fouling, nor a bottom paint, nor an under-water mixture. It's an arsenious oxide which floats off as the boats are launched and poisons the fishes. Dear at any price, that is.... My notion is to give your new stuff (when it comes) some months of a trial, and then try to persuade Air Ministry to stock it, for application to all the fast boats in our fleet: - if it does what I expect of it (like Nelson of the English!) I mean'. The letter is collected in 'Boats for the RAF, 1929-1935', edited by Jeremy and Nicole Wilson (Castle Hill Press, 2012: see '68. T.E. Lawrence to Mr. Bordewich, November 24' ).