Author

T. E. Lawrence cover

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

T. E. Lawrence

British archaeologist, military officer, and diplomat

1888   -   1935

country of citizenship: United Kingdom
languages spoken, written or signed: French, English, Arabic
educated at: Jesus College, Magdalen College, City of Oxford High School for Boys
occupation: anthropologist, archaeologist, autobiographer, writer, military officer, screenwriter, translator, castellologist, spy, diplomat, aircraft pilot, military personnel, world traveler
award received: Knight of the Legion of Honour, Croix de guerre 1914–1918, Companion of the Order of the Bath, Distinguished Service Order

Ebooks: on Wikisource

Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence (16 August 1888 – 19 May 1935) was a British archaeologist, army officer, diplomat, and writer, who became renowned for his role in the Arab Revolt (1916–1918) and the Sinai and Palestine Campaign (1915–1918) against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. The breadth and variety of his activities and associations, and his ability to describe them vividly in writing, earned him international fame as Lawrence of Arabia, a title used for the 1962 film based on his wartime activities. He was born out of wedlock in August 1888 to Sarah Junner (1861–1959), a governess, and Sir Thomas Chapman, 7th Baronet (1846–1919), an Anglo-Irish nobleman. Chapman left his wife and family in Ireland to cohabit with Junner. Chapman and Junner called themselves Mr and Mrs Lawrence, using the surname of Sarah's likely father; her mother had been employed as a servant for a Lawrence family when she became pregnant with Sarah. In 1896, the Lawrences moved to Oxford, where Thomas attended the High School and then studied history at Jesus College, Oxford, from 1907 to 1910. Between 1910 and 1914 he worked as an archaeologist for the British Museum, chiefly at Carchemish in Ottoman Syria. Soon after the outbreak of war in 1914 he volunteered for the British Army and was stationed at the Arab Bureau (established in 1916) intelligence unit in Egypt. In 1916, he travelled to Mesopotamia and to Arabia on intelligence missions and became involved with the Arab Revolt as a liaison to the Arab forces, along with other British officers, supporting the Arab Kingdom of Hejaz's independence war against its former overlord, the Ottoman Empire. He worked closely with Emir Faisal, a leader of the revolt, and he participated, sometimes as leader, in military actions against the Ottoman armed forces, culminating in the capture of Damascus in October 1918. After the First World War, Lawrence joined the British Foreign Office, working with the British government and with Faisal. In 1922, he retreated from public life and spent the years until 1935 serving as an enlisted man, mostly in the Royal Air Force (RAF), with a brief period in the Army. During this time, he published his best-known work Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926), an autobiographical account of his participation in the Arab Revolt. He also translated books into English, and wrote The Mint, which detailed his time in the Royal Air Force working as an ordinary aircraftman. He corresponded extensively and was friendly with well-known artists, writers, and politicians. For the RAF, he participated in the development of rescue motorboats. Lawrence's public image resulted in part from the sensationalised reporting of the Arab revolt by American journalist Lowell Thomas, as well as from Seven Pillars of Wisdom. In 1935, Lawrence was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident in Dorset.
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