T E Lawrence
- Favourite Briton.

Born in Tremadoc, North Wales
Born on 16th of August 1888
Died in Wareham, Dorset
Died on 19th of May 1935

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T.E. Lawrence, Lieutenant-Colonel, CB, DSO, was born on 16th August 1888 and died 19th May 1935. He was a British soldier renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt of 1916-18, as documented in his books, 'The Seven Pillars of Wisdom' and the abridged version of it, 'Revolt in the Desert' both published in 1926. The books are his memoirs, but also serve as essays on military strategy, Arabian culture and geography, culminating in him becoming known as the legendary "Lawrence of Arabia". He was born in Tremadog, North Wales, the second eldest of five illegitimate sons of Sir Thomas Robert Tighe Chapman, seventh baronet of Westmeath, and his daughter's governess, Sarah Junner. The family moved to Oxford and lived as Mr and Mrs Lawrence, and Thomas Edward went to City of Oxford High School for Boys and later to Jesus College, Oxford. He left Oxford with a first class honours degree after submitting a theses based on his own field research in France and the Middle East. He was then offered the opportunity to become an archaeologist and travelled to Beirut, where he studied Arabic. He worked on excavations in northern Syria under such luminaries as D.G. Hogarth, Gertrude Bell and Leonard Woolley. He continued working as an archaeologist, making field trips to the Middle East, until the outbreak of World War I. In January 1914 Lawrence and Leonard Woolley were co-opted by the British military as an archaeological smokescreen for a British military survey of the Negev Desert. Following this, Lawrence was recruited into the Intelligence Staff of the GOC Middle East in Cairo. He fought with Arab irregular troops in extended guerrilla operations against the armed forces of the Ottoman Empire, allies of the Germans. Lawrence's major contribution to World War I was convincing Arab leaders from the breakaway tribes and regions to co-ordinate their revolt against their Turkish rulers and thus aid British interests. Lawrence was involved in the capture of Damascus and promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in the final weeks of the war. He envisioned Damascus as the capital of a newly liberated Arab state called Arabia. Lawrence adopted many local customs and traditions whilst carrying out his work for the British military, and was often photographed by war correspondent Lowell Thomas riding camels in traditional Arab dress. During the closing years of the war he fought to convince the British government that Arab independence was in their interests, based on tribal patterns and commercial routes. He was highly decorated after the war, and Lowell Thomas used footage and photographs taken of Lawrence during the campaign in a lucrative film that toured the world. After World War I, Lawrence worked for the Foreign Office, attending the Paris Peace Conference as a member of Prince Faisal's delegation and working as advisor to Winston Church at the Colonial Office. In 1925 he was able to join the RAF and was assigned to a remote base in British India where he remained until the end of 1928. He then returned to Britain and bought some land in Chingford, continuing to serve in the RAF until his enlistment ended in March 1935. His RAF memoirs, 'The Mint' were published posthumously by his brother. He was a keen motorcyclist and a few weeks after leaving the RAF was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident in Dorset, close to a cottage he owned called Clouds Hill, near Wareham. However, the accident was not entirely in vain as the surgeon who treated Lawrence went on to establish the use of crash helmets by motorcyclists. Lawrence never married and much discussion surrounds his sexuality, based on the homoerotic and masochistic nature of elements of his life. Lawrence's final resting place was in the Dorset village of Moreton at Moreton Church .

Links: Online Resource The T. E. Lawrence Society

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