T.E. Lawrence

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Here's one of my favourites ! :)

    British archaeological scholar, adventurer, military strategist, and the writer of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1927), an ambitious work, which combines a detailed account of the Arab revolt against the Turks and the author's own spiritual autobiography. T.E. Lawrence's (1888-1935) enigmatic personality still fascinates biographers and his legend has survived many attempts to discredit his achievements.

    T.E. Lawrence was better known in his lifetime as 'Lawrence of Arabia' because of the dashing role he played in helping the Arabs against the Turks during World War I.

    When war broke out, Lawrence became an intelligence officer in Cairo. In June 1916, the Arab Revolt began against Turkey, an ally of Germany, a revolt the British had worked hard to encourage. Lawrence became liaison officer and adviser to Feisal, son of the Revolt's leader Sherif Hussein of Mecca. Lawrence was a superb tactician and a highly influential theoretician of guerrilla warfare. His small but effective irregular forces attacked Turkish communications and supply routes, tying down thousands of Turkish troops and preventing them from fighting against regular allied forces under the command of General Allenby. Lawrence's over-riding aim was to help the Arabs achieve military success that would lead to post-war self-government.

    In June 1917, the Arab forces won their first major victory seizing Aqaba, a strategically important Red Sea port. Success continued as they gradually made their way north. After the fall of Damascus in October 1918, Lawrence left for London and then the Paris Peace Conferences to lobby for Arab independence. However, before the conference had even begun, the British and French had agreed on the future of Turkey's Arab territories. Lawrence was very disillusioned by his failure to bring the Arabs self-rule but was by now a celebrity, helped by the publicity efforts of American journalist Lowell Thomas.

    In 1921 Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill appointed Lawrence as an adviser but in 1922 he resigned and joined the RAF in an attempt to find anonymity. During the 1920s and early 1930s, he served both in the RAF and the Tank Corps under assumed names, but press intrusion continued to dog him. A private edition of his book 'The Seven Pillars of Wisdom' was printed in 1926; a full public edition was not released until after his death.

    Lawrence left the RAF in February 1935 and died on 19 May following a motorcycle accident.


    T. E. Lawrence's second major work, The Mint, contains some of his finest writing. The first two parts describe his experiences during the RAF recruits' training course in 1922, while the third part describes service life at Cranwell in 1925-6.


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