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Detail of Biography - Thomas Edward Lawrence
Name :
Thomas Edward Lawrence
Date :
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445
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Birth Date :
15/08/1888
Birth Place :
Tremadoc, Wales.
Death Date :
19-May-35
Biography - Thomas Edward Lawrence
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A young boy read tales of Eastern travel and adventure sitting on a rug in a hut, which hehad built behind an Oxford villa. These stories impressed the boy and he started to dream about the Arabs and the desert. These were no more than the daydreams of a child, whose real destiny seemed to lie in the quiet world of scholarship.[br /]
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[b]Childhood [/b] [br /]
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[b]Thomas Lawrence[/b] was born at Tremadoc, Wales on August 15, 1888. His parentage can be drawn back to a noble family. He was the second of five illegitimate sons of Sir Thomas Chapman, an Anglo-Irish baronet. His sons were the result of his relationship with Sarah Junner, who was employed as governess to Thomas' four legitimate daughters. Chapman and Sarah decided to leave home and also to adopt the name Lawrence.[br /]
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The Anglo-Irish Protestant squire had no more than £300 a year. At Tremadoc, this amount was not sufficient and so the family moved to Oxford, where living was cheaper. The young boy got his formal education in Oxford.[br /]
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Ned, as Thomas was nicknamed, did not like the formal school education. For him it was like an irrelevant and time wasting 'nuisance'. He received basic early education from his elder brothers. The formal education interrupted his personal reading, which he thought more useful than what he studied at school. During those years he was browsing through the books available in all the city libraries. He would lay down with books till late at night, and would go to sleep with books all around him.[br /]
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If something other than the books interested the young man, then it was roaming the country on a bicycle in search of antiquities. His hobby of antiques search grew into a passion after his visits to almost every 12th century castle in England and France during his lifetime.[br /]
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[b]The Lonely Child[/b][br /]
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Ned was rather a lonely child. He was more influenced by his mother than his father. Especially the religious and ethical influence of his mother on his character could be seen in his later life too, though he had stopped performing any religious rituals at that time. From his father he inherited gentleness and unobtrusiveness.[br /]
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His shortness is looked upon as a sign of his singling out himself at school and playground. He was hardly 5 ft. 5 ins., something quite abnormal for a Lawrence boy. His desire to do something unconventional, something strikingly different from others always overpowered him.
His characteristic self-possessed nature was apparent from the childhood. One of his schoolteachers observed, "He was unlike the boys of his age and time, for even in his schooldays he had a strong leaning towards the Stoics, an apparent indifference towards pleasure or pain".[br /]
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He was different from other boys in more than one way. As the boys of his age, including his brothers, would play various games, Lawrence would slowly sneak out. He did not like any of the organized games like football or cricket. Though physically fit to participate in almost any sports, he avoided them due to a peculiar reason : he hated competition. Robert Graves, his biographer wrote later, "He took no interest in organized games because they were organized, because they had rules, because they had results. He will never compete - in anything".[br /]
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More importantly, the reason behind his lonely and aloof childhood could be traced to an incident of his childhood. One day he overheard his father talking to his solicitor. The boy could not understand much but somehow he discerned the fact that there was something grossly wrong about his birth. By the age of 10, he almost knew that he was an illegitimate child, and he was the only Lawrence son to know the fact. This incident left a deep impact on his psyche, making him a loner and a brooder.[br /]
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He used to ponder over the issue of his birth and his inner conflict sometimes became too much to handle. He ran away from home in 1905. He told his friend later that at the age of 17, he 'suddenly found himself'. Through a local recruiting office he joined Royal Garrison Artillery as a boy soldier. The boy saw the raw face of life for the first time here. The brutish practice of settlement of any quarrel by fight scared him. He wrote later, "Every incident ended in dispute and every dispute either in an ordeal of fists or in a barrack-court-martial whose sentence were too often mass bullying…I can not remember a parade during three months without a discolored eye. Usually five or six men would bore fighting damages". When the things got unbearable, he appealed to his father to take his home.[br /]
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[b]College Days [/b] [br /]
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He entered the university at Jesus College, Oxford. He was given scholarship in mathematics but he changed it to history, as had always been dreaming of Arabs and deserts. This subject permitted him to be a free bird and was not obliged to comply with the routine and adhere strictly to the curriculum. He utilized this allowance and read through the nights whatever took his fancy. He rarely attended lectures.[br /]
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[b]Adventures[/b][br /]
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Thomas enjoyed very limited social contacts as an undergraduate. He had friends but no acquaintances. He shared the few activities with the friends like roof climbing by night, which he had mastered by scaling the turrets of so many ruinous castles.[br /]
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[b]Thomas[/b] also liked to play pranks with his hostel friends. One of his favorites was leading assaults on a neighbor's room, armed with a soda water siphon and protected by crawling on all fours beneath an inverted bath. He also explored the subterranean tunnels of the Trill Millstream, which flowed beneath the 'little dark shop' in Saint Aldate and returned to lead an expedition in canoes down the dark channel.[br /]
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[b]Paving the Path[/b][br /]
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Military history interested him a lot and he took it as a special subject satisfying his hobby. During the study of military history he studied about Napoleon and all his invasions.[br /]
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His curiosity in history brought him in notice of Dr D G Hogarth, the keeper of Ashmolean Museum. Hogarth offered him to rearrange a neglected collection of medieval pottery. Thomas preformed the mechanical task in an original way and with calculated economy of effort. A job involving routine and, at the same time, skilled knowledge suited him very well. And if there had been no Arabian Desert, he might have lived and died as the curator of a museum.[br /]
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[b] Landing in the Middle East[/b][br /]
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During his last long vacation at Oxford College, Thomas went to visit and study the Crusader's Castles in Syria. He decided to travel alone and on foot. He set out with a pistol, and an open letter of introduction from Lord Curzon, the Chancellor of Oxford. The next five years he wandered through every part of Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Sinai and Egypt, living as one of the locals. He learnt to be conversant with all the dialects of spoken Arabic. Though he never disguised as a Mohammedan, he found it convenient to wear an Arab head-cloth for comfort, as the natives were strangely suspicious of a European hat or helmet.[br /]
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At 21, on his first expedition he photographed at least 50 Crusader's Castles and began to be interested in the remains of the little known Hittite civilization. While he was in some remote spot near the Euphrates, a tribal, out of curiosity dogged him all day, assaulted him and tried to rob his watch. If it were not a shepherd, who accidentally appeared at the spot, the tribal robber would have murdered him for the watch. He returned with a thesis on Medieval Castles for which he was awarded a degree with first-class honors in modern history.[br /]
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[b]The Scholarship [/b] [br /]
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Thesis on Medieval Castles impressed Hogarth and he persuaded Magdalene College to give Thomas a traveling scholarship for four years. It would help him to study the ruins of the Hittite City, Carchemish. He was granted the scholarship and he soon left to carry out the work of his supreme interest. At Carchemish, several people noted his activities. He was working with a contemporary, C L Woolley, who later described Thomas' extraordinary control over the Arab laborers.[br /]
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At Carchemish he was seen in shorts and a Khaki shirt and a Jesus College blazer, looking absurdly young. When he was off the work he practiced shooting with a pistol, bathed in the Euphrates, or went boating in a crazy craft with a little outboard engine. In 1913, he met a traveler Hubert Young, a lively subaltern, who wanted to make his way back to India by crossing the Syrian Desert. He also shared Thomas' passion for exploring the Arab world. Late in 1913, Lawrence and Woolley were asked to join a survey of the Sinai Peninsula for the Palestine Exploration Society.[br /]
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[b]Thomas Edward Lawrence,[/b] Ned, TEL, T E Lawrence, Colonel Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, T E Shaw, Airman Ross, Private Shaw. He was a multifaceted personality in the literal meaning of the term. He became a legend in his own time, making it difficult at times to separate the man from the myth.
Playing a vital role in the Arab Revolt, this 'Lawrence of Arabia' made his presence felt from behind the curtains. He, who gave his life for a revolt is today nowhere in the memories of Arabist or English. If a search is made today, he is found in the old files of British Army, or the only remembrance of his activities in the memories of Arabist is as 'one of those Englishmen who helped us in the war.'[br /]
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This is a humble effort to excavate the history of a person and remember a soldier who is buried behind the wild desert winds.[br /]
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[b]August 15, 1888[/b][br /]

Born at Tremadoc, Wales.[br /]
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[b]September 1896-July 1907[/b][br /]

At the Oxford High School[br /]
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[b]1907-1910[/b][br /]

Jesus College Oxford [br /]
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[b]1909[/b][br /]

First visit to Syria.[br /]
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[b]1910-1914[/b][br /]

Research Student, Oxford. 1911-1914
Digging at Carchemish, travelling to the East.[br /]
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[b]1913-1914[/b][br /]

Assisted in the Archaeological Survey of Sinai.[br /]
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[b]1914[/b][br /]

Served in World War I. [br /]
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[b]1917[/b][br /]

Liaison officer with Emir Feisal.[br /]
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[b]1919[/b][br /]

Foreign Office delegation at Versailles.[br /]
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[b]1921[/b][br /]

Political advisor to Middle Eastern Department.[br /]
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[b]August 1922[/b][br /]

Enlisted at RAF as J H Ross.[br /]
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[b]1923[/b][br /]

Enlisted in Tank Corps as T E Shaw.[br /]
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[b]1926[/b][br /]

Stationed in India.
Publication of Seven Pillars of Wisdom.[br /]
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[b]1935[/b][br /]

Completion of service.[br /]
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[b]May 19, 1935[/b][br /]

Death of T E Lawrence.[br /]
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[b]Playing His Cards [/b] [br /]
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At this stage Lawrence came into picture. He had applied for a transfer from General Murray's staff to the Arab Bureau. While waiting for the change he accompanied Ronald Storrs, emissaries sent from England to the Arab Bureau on a visit to Jeddah. The two landed at Jeddah on October 16, 1916.[br /]
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The main purpose of the two was to check whether the revolt could be raised to a national level revolution or not. For the purpose a leader of national level had to be found and they found one of Hussein's sons fit for the job. Abdulla - the second son was not having the required fire inside him to raise and lead a revolution. Zeid, the fourth son was too young; the eldest, whom he visited at Rabegh, was an invalid. The third, Emir Feisal was facing the Turks far up in the hills of the Holy Province - Mecca, where no Christian could go safely.[br /]
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Finally with Sherif's help, Lawrence got permission to ride up the Pilgrim's Road to Feisal's camp. The bravery and confidence of Feisal impressed Lawrence.[br /]
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[b]Revolt Began [/b] [br /]
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In this early stage of revolt, the British and French military advisers urged Arabs to capture the Turkish stronghold at Medina and the Hejaz Railway, the Turkish line of communication, their 'heart' that pumped fresh blood. If they drove the Turks off Hejaz railway their strength would decline drastically. Lawrence had laid down the plan how to employ the available forces and accomplish the mission.[br /]
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As per the blueprint, everyone took their positions. Abdulla took up his station astride the Hejaz railway, north of Medina, Feisal moved towards Damascus along with two British officers, Lawrence and Vickery.[br /]
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Moving towards north meant facing Turks at Wejh and no Arab was ready to face them. Lawrence had a suggestion to clear the obstacle. He proposed to take Navy's help for the purpose. His plan was carried out and as was expected the sailors solved this problem by capturing Wejh. The capture was rightly regarded as a strategic victory if not a glorious victory. It posed a serious threat to Turkish lines of communication. Lawrence's main activity in the campaign was to hamper the railways before the Turk retreat.[br /]
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This was of great concern as, if they withdrew altogether from Hejaz and reinforced their army in Palestine, the British would be defeated there and would bring down Arab in general rule. His mind in doubts about the part he was playing, his conscience reproached him for making the Arabs the cat's paw of British policy.[br /]
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[b] Restructuring the Revolt [/b] [br /]
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During 10 days in March 1917, when his body was wracked with dysentery, a revelation came to him. While he was pondering on his last six-month experience as an amateur, he thought of guerrilla warfare technique, which was apt for Hejaz campaign. It suddenly struck him that they had almost won the war.[br /]
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They were blind to everything except their concentration on Turkish Army at Medina. This was requisite to the ultimate aim of any combatant nation who had arrayed their army against one another. But for Arabs, their main aim was to drive the Turks out from Arabia. For that it was necessary that they array their trained soldiers against well-equipped Turks.[br /]
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[b]Planning [/b] [br /]
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To fulfil both the purposes Lawrence planned out the pinpricks in which the Turks would occupy themselves and would not be able to fight efficiently. [br /]
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Lawrence planned out every move. He divided his policy into (1) hecastics, the mathematical element in war, the calculation of numbers and distances - the exact science, (2) bionomics, the wear and tear in material and man - the less manageable factor and (3) diathetics, the psychological understanding of an army. As per the diathotical factor, only Lawrence knew the Arabs among all the British officers. As per the systematic calculation of the policy, Arab's victory was round the corner. The Arab cards at the moment were speed and time, not hitting power.[br /]
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When Lawrence had come to these conclusions and after shaking off his illness he proposed the idea before Emir Abdulla, but got little encouragement. Abdulla was contended with his easy victories and would put himself to no further troubles.[br /]
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[b]Applying Plans [/b] [br /]
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Lawrence's plan would not have applied practically if it was not for Sahkir, a chief in Abdulla's camp. The first implementation came on March 28, 1917, with no good result. The mines blew after the train left and caused very little harm. Two days later they tried it again. In those two raids they had cut rails, pulled down telegraph wires and destroyed a culvert, stopping railway traffic for three days. In April, he returned to Feisal's camp. Feisal, like Lawrence, wanted to extend the revolt northwards to Damascus and beyond.[br /]
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By this time Feisal's army was reinforced with Auda, the fiercest of desert chiefs. He had slain 75 men in fair fight and had married 28 times. The Feisal camp was joined by Nasir, a Sherif from Medina. They rode together and on the 10th day they crossed the railway line and stopped to pull the telegraph wires. They also blew up the railway lines, to the delight of old Auda, who had never seen dynamite before.[br /]
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[b]Advancing North [/b] [br /]
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The next major thing to do was to march towards north. And any northern operation would have to be based further inland. This proposal faced a crucial problem.[br /]
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How to supply the essential things to the forces placed in the hinderlands. The nearest supply route to this place was in Turkish hand. Lawrence knew there was an obvious route if it could be secured. Through Akaba, a city at the northern end of the Red Sea, one could reach the inland. Akaba needed to be captured. Before the war, Lawrence had visited Akaba and was familiar with its topography. The scenario had changed after the war. The news from intelligence network reported that the Turks had built heavy defence in the narrow pass leading to Wadi Isthmus. Akaba could be captured through sea but it was worthless without Wadi Isthmus. Lawrence used local knowledge and tribesman to create a wide circuit inland through the desert and devised a scheme. He took part in his first battle, the Action of Abu el Lissal, on June 2, 1917. The Turks deployed stupidly in the valley below while Auda's men and Nasir snipped them from the hills above. All day long the rifles fired in blazing sunshine till the rifles were too hot to hold.[br /]
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[b]The Triumph [/b] [br /]
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This remarkable exploit was accomplished and soon the three small posts down the valley towards Akaba surrendered. On June 6, two months after setting out from Wejh, Arabs held not only Akaba but also the vital mountain passes. Lawrence had brought his Arabs to Akaba and left them there. To keep them organized and boost their moral they needed to be fed and paid. Lawrence had become a good planner and knew the need of the hour.[br /]
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For the required finance the British in Suez were to be contacted. Without wasting time he started his desert ride covering 150 miles in 50 hours. With eight men and selected camels, he started a journey for two days and nights. Reaching Suez, he was told that officers had shifted to Cairo. He left for Cairo, dressed as an Arab, sun-baked, and reduced by hardship to no more than seven stones in weight. At Cairo, he learnt that some new officer Allenby was the Commander-in-Chief. Lawrence had to explain the situation and importance of the aid to Arabs. He explained his strategy and pleaded his cause before the silent general and eventually convinced him. Allenby put up his chin and said, "Well, I will do for you what I can". That was enough and within time Feisal's army was brought up from Wejh to Akaba with the stores. On July 22, Lawrence again landed at Jeddah. Allenby had sent him back as liaison officer with Feisal.
During this revolt he was so close to the Arabs that he was supposed to have seen 'The Holy Place' of Mecca, which was not open for a non-Islamic person since the days of Prophet Mohammed.[br /]
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[b]Palestine and Gaza[/b][br /]
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During the six months when Lawrence had been leading Arabs from Wejh to Akaba, there had been a great change in general course of war. It became more necessary to succeed in the East. Throughout 1917, he supported the Palestine army and by March, Sir Stanley Maude advanced upto Tigris.[br /]
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Sir Archibald Murray laid a broad-gauge railway across the desert that had brought Nile water to the Palestine frontier. Maude's army entered and conquered Baghdad on March 11, 1917. While they took into confidence some prominent Arabs, they were never considered as independent Allies. Arabs were treated as a subject race saved from oppression and brought under good government. After Maude it was General Murray's turn, who made two attacks on Gaza and killed 1,700 Turks at the cost of 3,000 permanently disabled British soldiers.[br /]
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[b]The Revolt Within [/b] [br /]
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Lawrence camped at Rumm in an eastward valley, until in August he carried out his most celebrated railway raid. Few days after returning from the raid he was off on another raid with Pisani, a Frenchman. He bagged a troop train passing over a culvert. But this time he was bitten by a scorpion and wounded by a bullet. His assertion helped to make the pain lighter. Inward revulsion against the work that he was doing was too subtle.[br /]
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He had many questions in his mind. The Arabs were fighting for loot and liberty but what was he fighting for ? As his fame grew, so it became distasteful to him. To curb the vanity in his nature he promised himself that he would "Shoot straighter, ride harder, eat and drink less and claim no reward."[br /]
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[b]Aiding Allenby[/b][br /]
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At Akaba, his English colleagues could not share his scruples and aspirations. He was promoted to a Major at 29, remarkable for his exploits in native costumes. By October 1917, the stage was set for General Allenby's first Palestine campaign. Turks were under the impression that Allenby - the 'Bull' as he was nicknamed, would attack Gaza. Before Allenby disclosed his plan to Lawrence, Lawrence and Feisal were planning to raise tribes in their favor in Syria. To assist Allenby in the assault, Lawrence rode about 400 miles through the desert to Derra junction where he had to cut supplies to the Palestine army by destroying a bridge in the deep Yarmuk gorge. On a dark night their attempt on the Yarmuk bridge failed.[br /]
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In this mission, Indian fighters aided him. An Indian gave the alarm by dropping his rifle, where upon the Arabs threw their explosives into the ravine and fled; leaving Lawrence and Sherif Ali to make their escape through point-blank rifle fire. In the explosion Lawrence was hurt, and was hit by bullets before Sherif Ali and his men could rescue him. The Lonely Excursion[br /]


Meanwhile the Battle of Beersheba had begun. All through November, Allenby's men pressed on but to no avail. Lawrence spent the greater part of November at Azrak camping with Sherif Ali in a ruined castle.[br /]
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The soldier in Lawrence could not accept defeat. Dressed as an Arab, he wandered into Turkish garrison town of Derra, to study the lines of approach to the railway junction. But Lawrence got arrested. A fortnight earlier, he was wounded by five bullets and again he had to suffer humiliation before he was released. 'That night', he wrote, 'The citadel of my integrity had been irrevocably lost.[br /]
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Three weeks later on December 11, he was summoned by Allenby at Palestine, where an honor awaited him - a post at the official entry to Jerusalem. He borrowed a cap and a belt for the purpose and for once he was willing to dress like a British Officer. Recognition for his service by rock-like Allenby was perhaps the one personal tribute acceptable to his tortured spirit, the only man to whom his pride would allow him to bow.[br /]
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[b]Lawrence Distrusted [/b] [br /]
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The early 1918 saw Lawrence busy with battle for Tafileh. He managed to get 30,000 sovereigns from Feisal for the forthcoming campaign and handed it over to Emir Zeid, younger brother of Feisal and leader of the expedition. Lawrence left for a reconnaissance on the east of the Dead Sea. Zeid could not shoulder the responsibility and his advisers persuaded him to pay out all the money to tribals. Lawrence had to pay for Zeid's inexperience and the waste of thousands of pounds was a blot on his honor.[br /]
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The long campaign, many wounds, torture at Derra, bloodshed at Tafileh, physical exhaustion, mental revulsion, the biting cold, the disgrace, everything was overwhelming. He handed over his authority to his successor, Joyce and made his way to Allenby's headquarters to resign. His resignation was not accepted. For the next few months, in preparation for a major Arab offensive against Derra, he visited Akaba and Cairo carrying the duty of liaison between the British and Arab headquarters.[br /]
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[b]Damascus on Map[/b][br /]
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Soon Lawrence was out of the phase of distortion. He was back with the ideas that would broaden the British territory. On June 18, Lawrence was back in Palestine asking permission for a flank attack on Damascus. He was late as Allenby had already started working on this thought. During his stay away from Arab fighting over a month, saw noticeable fall in Arab achievement, setbacks in the fighting about Ma'an and no great Bedouin raids, until Allenby took the bold step of sending a camel corps under Major Buxton to hold them tight.[br /]
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[b]Loner Lawrence's Longing [/b] [br /]
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Lawrence joined the camel corps at Rumm, where there were many English in the troop. He did not feel comfortable with Englishmen and with Arabs also he felt alien. At Rumm, a strong feeling was getting on his nerves - outcast from both the worlds, a lonely stranger in either army and yet an inevitable link between the two. At Palestine, in the staff this 'link' was Lieutenant Colonel T E Lawrence. [br /]
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It was a mere fiction. He never used his rank nor wore his medals. From time to time he was promoted but that made no difference to him whether standing with the Arabs or with Allenby. He could approach him directly without any ceremony. The revolt had passed through a cycle in which he had become the driving force. In the beginning, he was just a British officer sent to Feisal's aid, but by the end he was one of the senior officers.[br /]
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Approaching his 30th birthday, he remembered a promise he had made to himself : to win knighthood and a general's rank, and that they were now within his grasp. Though he got no satisfaction from the sense of power and neither reminder of any brave deeds gave him sense of pride but ultimately he succumbed to it.[br /]
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[b] Reconciliation with Self[/b][br /]
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Lawrence hated the two parts he was compelled to play and when he stripped off the two disguises to examine the real self, he hated them but kept them private. It was equally true that without Lawrence, Arab Revolt could have been easily crushed and it was he who helped to fight and strengthen Arabs for a good cause. But the other side of the coin was equally ugly.[br /]
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The main purpose of British to assist the Arabs was to oblige them and ultimately to get power. Britain had also made Sykes-Picot treaty with France. Lawrence, giving his 100 per cent services, when gazed at these folds he vehemently criticized his self. But amidst all these internal conflicts, he could never reach to a conclusion or could not voice his inner self. He was flowing along the channels, contributing his best to the flow of the channel.[br /]
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[b]Capturing Damascus [/b] [br /]
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To raft the white water of revolt, the major task was to take over Derra before Damascus, which was the main railway junction on which Turkish Army depended, as it was 'their lifeline'.[br /]
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Lawrence, with Allenby, made the required arrangements - it was to seize the town and to cut its communication with the Turkish troops. As per the plan, on September 16, 1,200 Arab regulars and large number of Bedouin took on Derra. On the very next day the task of the Arab Northern Army was accomplished. De-communicated from all ends made Derra stand in isolation and with no other way out but to surrender to Arabs. This made Damascus an easy target, which was handicapped without the strong shield of Derra.[br /]
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The 4th and 5th Arab Divisions marched towards Damascus encircling it. The Turks were totally surrounded and were left without any medium of communication.[br /]
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[b]Organizing Damascus[/b][br /]
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The dawn of October 1, was the day of frenzied rejoicement for all. Amidst the celebration of the victory it was necessary to lay out the basic infrastructure before the chaos could turn the victory into a mess. [br /]
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In two days, he set up the framework for the administration, which continued for next two years. The police, railway service, fire brigade, sanitary service, telegraph, streetlights, markets were re-established and paper currency was also introduced. After furnishing the basics, on the third day Lawrence found that Turkish military hospital was abandoned by the staff.[br /]
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Overwhelmed by the sorry scenario at the hospital, he walked barefoot among the stinking corpses of 56 dead, 200 dying and 700 sick of dysentery, lying there forgotten.[br /]
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Lawrence's first priority was to find a doctor to prevent the worst situation. A doctor was found and he could relieve the casualties but still the scene was so appalling that the frustrated doctor, taking Arab dress clad Lawrence to be the man who had allowed the hospital to lapse into such a misery, slapped him on his face, calling him a, 'bloody brute'. Lawrence laughed and turned the other cheek. In a way, he was responsible for all this sufferings.[br /]
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[b]Towards England[/b][br /]
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October 4, the day finally arrived when he could shed off all the burden of Arab revolt. Allenby and Feisal entered the town and Lawrence performed his last ritual of handing over the responsibility to Allenby. Tired of strain and in a sense baleful revolt he asked for leave. As victory became sure the participant groups started dreaming of the fulfillment of their personal interests. Arabs hoped for self-governance.[br /]
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Lawrence's role as a guerrilla leader was over after Damascus and after unloading the cares on the broad shoulders of Allenby, he left Arabia with the intention of starting a new career as a disciplined soldier on the Western Front.[br /]
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Meanwhile the 'pie' he had cooked of liberating Arabia had many mouths to devour. The inevitable conflicts for power began. The French, who almost had the leftovers, were furious on the division of the pie, as they were the major contributors. [br /]
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[b]French Agony[/b][br /]
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Palestine was under the British and Syria under the French rulers. There were many participants of the revolt who believed that Arabs had got more than they deserved. A Frenchman, who had served the whole campaign and remained as a political officer in the Lebanon, recorded in his diary that English had created a legend that the Arabs conquered Damascus and thus permitted the existence of the inefficient Arab Government.[br /]
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Evidently, it was a British plot to bring Syria under control of Feisal and his British patrons. In this respect a French High Commissioner was appointed to study the situation. After reconnoitering the situation, he immediately ordered 20,000 troops to assert the French claims to Syria against Arabs and English. The conclusion of the survey made Lawrence obvious victim of the hassle. A case against Lawrence was drafted by Colonel Bremond, a French officer. [br /]
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If the entire revolt was studied, then it was obvious that French contribution was always there at all crucial points. Paris Peace Conference[br /]


Lawrence left for England and reached there on November 11, 1918, on Armistice Day. The only reward he accepted for all his services in the Gulf was the rank of a Colonel. Leaving the Middle East did not disconnect him totally from that part of world. He became a member of British Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. To represent the 'liberal' Arabia, Emir Feisal had arrived to participate in the Peace Conference.[br /]
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At Versailles Conference, Lawrence played two important roles. He represented the Foreign Office delegation and also acted as an interpreter to Emir Feisal. The French stuck to their stand, they wanted the Sykes-Picot Treaty to be put into action. Lawrence's efforts to present the Arab cause on behalf of Emir Feisal fell on the deaf ears.[br /]
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Promoting Arab Cause
After the failed attempts at the conference, he left for Egypt to fetch his private papers. On the way his flight crashed near Rome. The pilot was killed. Lawrence survived the accident with two broken ribs and damaged lungs. The accident could not hinder this 'English Arab' from working privately for the Arab cause. Paris Conference, though, had not contributed in his favor but had surely changed British stand on Arab cause.[br /]
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All his achievements were well known to British government but for general public he was a part of the newspaper headlines. During August 1919, an American journalist, Lowell Thomas, arrived in London. Thomas had visited Akaba during the revolt, and Lawrence had encouraged him to write about the Arabs' 'fight for unsung'. Thomas wrote about this forgotten hero of the war. This was the only period in his life when he actively sought publicity, giving interviews in order to advance Arab cause.[br /]
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Renouncing the public life, he concentrated on writing a book on his Middle East experiences named Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Writing the book was a penance on himself as he alone had seen the revolt from both sides. And it was his responsibility to record all that he had seen and gone thorough. He thought it was his duty to ensure to his countrymen that their efforts have not been forgotten, and to the Arabs to ensure that their views behind the war should be male known in England.[br /]
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The first draft of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom was lost when Lawrence left it in the refreshment room at Reading railway station. After that Lawrence thought he should wash his hands off it but Hogarth, always his best counselor, persuaded him to try it again. Early in 1920, the second draft of the book was prepared.[br /]
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"The lost draft', wrote Lawrence to a friend, 'was shorter, snappier and more truthful than the present version which was done from memory." He revised his second draft and also consulted some writers, including Mr and Mrs Bernard Shaw who were responsible 'for all the present semi-colons'. New Avenue[br /]
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The British had provoked the rebellion out of the partial policy and to suppress it British government had spent a huge amount. The situation worsened and Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of England, had to interrupt. He set up a Colonial office to find solution and persuaded Lawrence, to join the office as an adviser.[br /]
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Lawrence was tired of responsibility and to get away from it he planned to enlist as an aircraftman. Renouncing his old life he gave up his name, and adopted new name John Hume Ross. After four months as J H Ross he was discovered by the press and had to discharge the dress. [br /]
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Publishing Seven Pillars of Wisdom
By then he was convinced that life in ranks was his only course. And with the help of highly placed friends he got himself re-enlisted almost immediately in the Tank Corps as Thomas Edward Shaw. He served there until mid 1925 at Bovington Camp in Dorset. After 1923, much of his leisure was spent in revising Seven Pillars of Wisdom.[br /]
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He supervised each and every stage of printing. He spent lavishly on color portraits and other embellishments. All these expenses raised the crest and a copy cost about £90. This was three times the price of subscription and in order to repay the bank loan he had to sanction general publication of an abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom called Revolt in Desert.[br /]
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Both the books Seven Pillars of Wisdom and Revolt in Desert were hugely acclaimed and they quickly paid off his bank loan. It even earned him enough to lead a lavish life if he had not dispersed the surplus to a charity.[br /]
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Encouraged by the literary success he thought writing was a new avenue for him. During 1927 and 1928 he wrote another book, The Mint, based on notes he had made during his first Royal Air Force enlistment. The Mint passed such harsh judgment on the RAF regime that the publication would have damaged the reputation of the service Lawrence had loved. He therefore stipulated that it should not appear before 1950.[br /]
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[b]Translating Odyssey[/b][br /]
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He was posted in India in the end of 1926. He was stationed at Karachi for about 18 months. He rarely left the camp and refused many offers for writing. But in 1928, posted in Miranshah, his imagination was put on fire by an invitation to translate Homer's Odyssey. It was mainly because the offer came from Mr Bruce Rogers, the American typographer.[br /]
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The American edition of his Odyssey was highly appreciated. It earned him enough to enjoy a carefree retired life. He had earned enough to buy a small house at Cloud's Hill with the help of his income from journalism and translation. Odyssey had fetched him handsome revenue and he could furnish the house with the only luxury he required, a hot water system and a plunge-bath.[br /]
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[b]Innovator Lawrence[/b][br /]
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The last services in the ranks saw Lawrence as an innovator. He was posted at a flying boat unit at Plymouth. At the beginning of 1931, he witnessed a flying boat crash, quite close to the shore. The old-fashioned rescue-launch was so slow that many lives were lost because of the delay. As it happened, he made a faster motor-launch. He and a friend recommended RAF to adopt the launches. Before things could materialize he retired on February 26, 1935. But during World War II, these launches played a vital role and proved to be a wild card.[br /]
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[b]A Soldier's Death[/b][br /]
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Lawrence was back home at Dorset. "I find myself wishing', he wrote to one friend, 'that my own curtain would fall. It seems as if I had finished." Perhaps he had the intuition. On the morning of May 13, 1935, he was thrown off his motorcycle while swerving to avoid a boy on a bicycle near Bovington Camp. On May 19, he died in the Military Hospital without returning to consciousness.[br /]
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Death was like any other adventure that he carried all through his life. He readily delivered himself to the supreme command without any glory or greed. He performed his duty from the depth of his heart, never expecting rewards. He never expected recognition or sought gratitude from others. But diamond can not be buried in the mines for long; its glare attracts the minds with purpose, who can place before the world the legendary wonder.[br /]
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• All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recess of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.[br /]

- In Seven Pillars of Wisdom[br /]
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• You wonder what I am doing? Well, so do I, in truth. Days seem to dawn, suns to shine, evenings to follow, and then I sleep. What I have done, what I am doing, what I am going to do, puzzle and bewilder me. Have you ever been a leaf and fallen from your tree in autumn and been really puzzled about it? That's the feeling.[br /]
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• The sword also means clean-ness and death.[br /]

- In a letter to Eric Kennington[br /]
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He was retiring and yet craved to be seen, he was sincerely shy and naively exhibitionist. He had to rise above others and then humble himself, and in his self-inflicted humiliation demonstrate his superiority.[br /]

- Lewis B Namier, English Historian[br /]
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He had a genius for backing into the limelight.[br /]

- Lowell Thomas in Lawrence of Arabia [br /]
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Comments - Thomas Edward Lawrence