Sunday, August 16, 2015

BIRTH: Aug. 16–T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia"), Oxonian

T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
T[homas] E[dward] Lawrence, "Lawrence of Arabia", was born on August 16, in Tremadoc (aka Tremadog), Wales. T. E. was the second of five sons born to Sir Thomas Chapman and Sarah Lawrence Junner. Junner was a Scottish governess to Sir Thomas's daughters. Sir Thomas had an affair with Junner in Wales. He then left his wife and he and Junner lived together as Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence in Ireland. The Lawrences then moved to Oxford.

T. E. matriculated at Jesus College, Oxford in 1907, studying history. He was fluent in Greek, Arabic and French. While at Oxford he joined the Oxford University Officer Training Corps. T.E. became an archaeological scholar and was recruited by the British Army military to conduct a military survey of the Negev Desert while doing archaeological research.

He famously became a champion and military strategist for Arab rebels against Ottoman Turkish rule. He was awarded the DSO but refused the KBE.

His book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926) was an account of his exploits as a military advisor to Arabs in their revolt against the Turks, and was the basis for the film Lawrence of Arabia (1962). He was killed on a motorcycle in 1935 after leaving the military; he had swerved to avoid two boys in the road on bicycles.

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