T. E. Lawrence CB DSO

Thomas Edward Lawrence CB DSO (1888 - 1935)

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Lt. Col. Thomas Edward (T. E.) "Lawrence of Arabia" Lawrence CB DSO
Born in Tremadog, Carnarvonshire, Walesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Died in Wareham, Dorset, Englandmap
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Profile last modified | Created 21 Feb 2011 | Last significant change: 14 Nov 2018
18:45: Nicolas LaPointe edited the Biography for Thomas Edward Lawrence CB DSO (1888-1935). [Thank Nicolas for this]
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Categories: Jesus College, Oxford | World War I British Army Veterans | British Army Officers | Companions of the Order of the Bath | Distinguished Service Order | Chevaliers de la Légion d'honneur | Croix de guerre 1914-1918 | Autobiographers | Nominated Profiles | British Notables.


T. E. Lawrence CB DSO is Notable.

He was known professionally as T. E. Lawrence,and was a British Army officer renowned for his liaison role during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, and the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18. 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, which title was used for the 1962 film based on his World War I activities.

His parents were Sir Thomas Chapman and Sarah Junner who was a governess in his father's home. Sir Thomas Chapman left his first wife and he and Sarah assumed the name of Lawrence and remained unmarried throughout their life together. T.E. Lawrence was the second born of five children. Because of the extensive traveling done by his parents, he nor his brothers were born in the same country. His brothers included: Robert in Ireland, William in Scotland, Frank in Jersey, off England, and Arnold in Britain.

In 1907–10, While living in Oxford young Lawrence studied History at Jesus College and graduated with First Class Honors. He became a practicing archaeologist in the Middle East, working at various excavations with David George Hogarth and Leonard Woolley.

In 1908, he joined the Oxford University Officers' Training Corps and underwent a two-year training course. He had spent years in the desert developing an intimate knowledge and love of the Bedouin tribes that roamed the region.

In January 1914, Lawrence was co-opted by the British Army to undertake a military survey of the Negev Desert while doing archaeological research. At the outbreak of war Lawrence was rejected as physically unfit for military service but his unique knowledge of the area made him a perfect candidate for the Intelligence Service at Cairo.

In June 1916 Hussein ibn-Ali, the sharif of Mecca, had raised the flag of revolt against the four-century-old Ottoman domination of the Arabian Peninsula. As governor of the Hejaz, the desert province bordering the Red Sea, he controlled Islam's holiest place, Mecca, which gave him spiritual leadership of the Arab peoples. Yet Hussein's rebellion soon stalled in front of Medina, where Turkish troops were assured of supplies via the railway to the north.

Before proclaiming the rebellion, Hussein had sought support from the British. He later claimed that they had promised guns, ammunition, and technical assistance in cutting the rail link. From the outset, the British intended to control the revolt and deliberately withheld supplies to make Hussein "more modest and accommodating." But when it began to appear that Hussein might be driven back to Mecca and forced to capitulate, the British realized that it was time for a firsthand report. The man they sent from Cairo was a 28 year-old intelligence officer who spoke Arabic and already had some years of experience in the Middle East: Thomas Edward Lawrence.

Lawrence was sent to bring order and direction to the Arab cause. The experience transformed the introverted and studious Lawrence into one of the most colorful military figures of the war. For two years Lawrence and his band of Arab irregulars attacked Turkish strongholds, severed communications, destroyed railways and supported the British regular army in the drive north to Damascus.

Twice during 1917 Lawrence made dangerous secret forays behind enemy lines to rouse Arabs in Syria. At the village of Deraa, in November, he was briefly detained by the Turks, who probably did not realize his identity. According to the account in his postwar memoirs Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Lawrence was horribly tortured by his captors. Lowell Thomas verified this in his letters to me.[citation needed]

The experience at Deraa left deep psychological scars which are evident throughout his later writings.

"Seven Pillars of Wisdom" is the autobiographical account of the experiences of T. E. Lawrence, while serving as a liaison officer with rebel forces during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks of 1916 to 1918.

Lawrence's public image resulted in part from the publication of the revolt by an American journalist, Lowell Thomas, as well as from Lawrence's autobiographical account, "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" (1922).

Lawrence claimed that in about 1905, he ran away from home and served for a few weeks as a boy soldier with the Royal Garrison Artillery at St Mawes Castle in Cornwall, from which he was bought out. No evidence of this can be found in army records.

He is one of the very few Englishmen who have ever refused both the Victoria Cross and a knighthood. In 1935, Lawrence was fatally injured in a motorcycle crash in Dorset.

In 1990 Jeremy Wilson wrote Lawrence of Arabia The Authorized Biography of T.E. Lawrence. The correspondence between Lawrence and the Mr.and Mrs. George Bernard Shaw is just one of many highlights. Lawrence carried two books that he used for reference while in Arabia, Clausewitz, On War even though there is nothing on the kind of guerrilla warfare that Lawrence practiced;[1] and Doughty Travels in Arabia Deserta. [2]

In 1921 Lawrence wrote an introduction to an edition of Doughty. The opening is pure Lawrence.

It is not comfortable to have to write about Arabia Deserta. I have studied it for ten years, and have grown to consider it a book not like other books, but something particular, a bible of its kind. To turn round now and recokon its merits and demerits seems absurb.[3]


  1. Carl Von Causewitz. On War. Princeton University Press. Princeton, New Jersey. 1989.
  2. Jeremy Wilson. Lawrence of Arabia The Authorized Biography of T.E. Lawrence. Atheneum. New York. 1990.
  3. Charles M. Doughty. Travels in Arabia Deserta In Two Volumes. Dover Publications,INc. New York. 1979.
  • With Lawrence in Arabia by Thomas, Lowell; original photographs taken by H. A. Chase, F.R.G.S., and by the author. Published 1924 by The Century co. in New York, London . Library of Congress D568.4.L45 T53 Pagination: xviii, 408 p. [1]

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No known carriers of T. E.'s ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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On 16 Jul 2014 at 13:33 GMT Maggie N. wrote:

Ths is a GREAT profile ! So interesting .........I need to read his "Seven Pillars of Wisdom"

On 8 Jul 2014 at 13:04 GMT M. (Stewart) H. wrote:

Lawrence-2324 and Lawrence-553 appear to represent the same person because: These are duplicate profiles. Please merge into lowest number. Thanks!

On 6 Jul 2014 at 03:35 GMT Bob Fields wrote:

A picture (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._E._Lawrence) would be really nice. Profile should also be PPP, and would be good to be privacy=Open for collaboration. Thanks.

T. E. is 30 degrees from Rosa Parks, 22 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 12 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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