Who was T.E. Lawrence?
T.E. Lawrence was an archaeologist, military
strategist and writer and was known to the world as Lawrence of
Date and Place of Birth:
16th August 1888, Tremadoc, Caernarvonshire,
Wales. Christened Thomas Edward Lawrence.
Lawrence was the second son of five of Sir Thomas
Chapman and Sarah Maden, the Governess of Sir Thomas's daughters
at Westmeath, Ireland.
Oxford High School. Jesus College, Oxford.
Chronology/Biography of Lawrence of Arabia:
1909: Visited Palestine
1910: Joined an archaeological
dig in Syria.
1911-1914: T.E. Lawrence
stayed in Syria and learnt Arabic fluently. He had empathy for the
Arabs who had been under the rule of the Turks for centuries.
1914: Lawrence explored
northern Sinai as part of an expedition and secretly carried out
reconnaissance for the government. At the start of the First World
War he became an intelligence agent in Cairo.
1916: The Arab revolt
against Turkey began and this was assisted by Britain as Turkey
was an ally of Germany. Lawrence was made the liaison officer to
Feisal the son of the Sherif Hussein of Mecca who was the leaser
of the revolt. Lawrence advised on guerilla warfare tactics which
meant the Tuks were pinned down and couldn't be effective against
the regular allied forces led by General Edward Allenby.
1917: (June) The
Arab forces seized Aqaba, a strategically important port. on the
Red Sea. Thereafter they pushed northwards.
1918: (October) Fall
of Damascus. Lawrence represented the Arabs at both the London and
Paris peace conferences although the British and the French had
done a deal beforehand denying the arabs self-rule. Lawrence became
disillusioned. By now Lawrence was a national figure given wider
publicity by the American journalist Lowell Thomas.
1919: Paris Peace
conference and begins drafting Seven Pillars although the manuscript
is stolen when it was almost completed. Takes up a fellowship at
All Souls College and lectures in London.
Churchill then Colonial Secretary appointed Lawrence as an adviser
on Arab Affairs. Organises the Cairo Conference and helps Churchill
draw up a settlement in Trans Jordan. Attempts to negotiate with
1922: T.E. Lawrence
resigned as an adviser to Churchill and joined the Royal Air Force
under an assumed name of J. H. Ross in order to try and find anonymity.
He is sent for basic training at Uxbridge, and then to the School
of Photography at Farnborough. His secret is printed in the newspapers.
1923: He worked briefly
for the Royal Tank Corps again under an assumed name to avoid the
attention of the Press.
1924: Begins work
on a revised abridgement of "Seven Pillars of Wisdom".
1926: At Cranwell
he completes the subscribers' edition of "Seven Pillars of
Wisdom and publishes an abridgement entitles "Revolt in the
1928: Completes his
book "The Mint" which is about life in the ranks of the
Royal Air Force. November 1928 .Is granted a five-year extension
to his enlistment in the RAF. Fictional reports appear in the British
newspapers and then the Indian press that Lawrence is spying in
Afghanistan for the British disguised as a Moslem spiritual guide
called a Pir.
1929: T.E. Lawrence
returns to England. Buys the house called Cloud's Hill. Posted to
RAF Cattewater near Plymouth under the Commanding Officer, Sydney
Smith. Lawrence had already known Smith from the Cairo Conference
and become friends. Lawrence worked as Smith's personal assistant
organising the 1929 Schneider Trophy seaplane contest.
1932: Goes to the
play "Too Good To Be True" by George
Bernard Shaw in which he is satirised as 'Private Meek'.
1933: Bored with
life in the R.A.F. Lawrence asks for a discharge but once this is
written about in the "Daily Mail" he is posted to the
RAF Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Felixstowe.
1934: "T. E.
Lawrence in Arabia and After" written by Liddell Hart is published.
Moves to Bridlington to supervise the winter overhaul of ten fast
Lawrence leaves the R.A.F.
T.E. Lawrence's House in London, 14 Barton Street.
(© Anthony Blagg)
"The Wilderness of Zin."
- 1926: "The
Seven Pillars of Wisdom". (published privately)
- 1928: "The
- 1932: Translation
of Homer's Odyssey.
Date and Place of Death:
19th May 1935, Clouds Hill, Dorset, England after
a motorcycle accident.
Age at Death:
Site of Grave:
St. Nicholasís Church, Moreton, Dorset,
Places of Interest:
Lived at 14 Barton Street.