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Lawrence of Arabia letter reveals former general's true character

A letter written by Lawrence of Arabia exemplifying the humility of the former British Army captain is expected to auction off for $10,000

Published: Updated:

A letter written by Lawrence of Arabia exemplifying the humility of the former British Army captain is expected to auction off for $10,000, The Daily Mail reported.

The correspondence between him and his friend and former colleague Lietenant-Colonel Stewart Newcombe illustrated that Lawrence had difficulty coming to terms with the notoriety and praise he received for his role in the Arab World during World War I.

In the letter that dates back to 1920, Lawrence is responding to Newcombe’s request for the reluctant hero to be the godfather of his new child and permission to him Lawrence’s name.

Lawrence suggests that naming the baby after him would be a "handicap."

“Of course Lawrence may have been the name of your absolutely favorite cousin or aunt, (observe my adroitness in sex), and if so I will be dropping an immodest brick by blushing - but if it isn’t, aren’t you handicapping ‘it’?”

The former general felt differently about the honor of being a godfather. Lawrence, despite admitting to know nothing about children, said he would be “delighted to take it on.”

He finishes the handwritten letter by saying: "Seriously I am changing my own name, to be more quiet, and wish I could change my face, to be more lovely, and beloved!"

However, it didn’t work out as he planned.

The following year Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill appointed Lawrence as an adviser, but in 1922 he resigned and joined the Royal Air Force under the name ‘Ross’ in an attempt to find anonymity.

Lawrence was an archaeologist working in the Middle East when he was recruited by the British Army in 1914 to mount reconnaissance missions under cover of a scientific expedition. He later helped plan a series of battles against the Ottoman Empire, developing a deep sympathy for the Arabs who had lived under Turkish rule for centuries.

His close friendships with local tribes and his adoption of their flowing robes turned him into the romantic figure of popular imagination immortalized by Peter O’Toole in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.

The letter is now being auctioned at Bonhams later this month.