T. E. Lawrence 1888–1935
Thomas Edward Lawrence, born in Tremadoc, the illegitimate son of Sir Robert Chapman, was educated at Oxford High School and Jesus College, Oxford. He went to Syria in 1909 and was an archaeologist there from 1910 until he joined British Intelligence in 1914. He was sent in 1916 to assist the Arab revolt against the Turks; he was with the Arab army which entered Damascus in 1918. As ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ he became a public hero in England. Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph, Lawrence’s romantic account of these events, was written in three drafts (the first lost at Reading railway station). Edited by G. B. Shaw and Mrs Shaw, it was published privately in 1926 (trade edition, 1935). There has been much discussion of Lawrence’s complicated, unusual personality, and of his years, from 1922 onwards, as an aircraftsman (under the assumed name of J. H. Ross) and as a private soldier (having changed his name, by deed poll, to T. E. Shaw). The Mint, which describes his service life, was published in New York in 1936 and in England in 1955.
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