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T. E. Lawrence

Colonel T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, from With Lawrence in Arabia by Lowell Thomas

Colonel T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, from With Lawrence in Arabia by Lowell Thomas

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Famous as Lawrence of Arabia, T.E. Lawrence was an Arabic speaking scholar in Cairo, working in the Arab Bureau.

In 1916, General Murray, commanding British forces in Egypt, dispatched Lawrence to bring the Arab nationalists into the war against the Turks. Lawrence met with Feisal Ibn Hussein, a leading commander of the Arab Revolt in the Hejaz who had led the June 1916 Arab attack on Medina. Lawrence offered Feisal more than he would be able to deliver as the French and English had no intention of turning control of Palestine over to indigenous leaders.

Lawrence, Feisal, and the Arab forces fought a guerrilla war against the Turks in the desert and along the coast. One of their targets was the Hejaz railway that ran from Medina north to Maan, which Lawrence and his men repeatedly sabotaged.

By December, 1916, the British had reached the border of Egypt and Palestine and took the towns of El Arish and Rafah.

In 1917, Lawrence led a force across the Sinai Desert that captured the Turkish garrison town of Aqaba at the head of the narrow Gulf of Aqaba, an inlet of the Gulf of Suez. Well defended against attack from the sea and the railway to the north, Aqaba was vulnerable to the west, where the desert seemed an impregnable barrier.

With the fall of Aqaba, the Turks withdraw northwards, harried by Lawrence and the Arabs. British forces threatened the Turks from the Sinai as new roads and a rail line delivered troops and supplies to support their advance eastward across Sinai along the Mediterranean coast.

In 1917, Murray was removed after failed attacks on Gaza in March and April cost the British 10,000 men to 3,500 Turks.

Under General Edmund Allenby, the British continued advancing taking Beersheba in October and Jaffa on November 14. On December 9 Allenby entered Jerusalem.

Lawrence and the Arab forces continued harrying the Turks as the British advanced.

On October 1, 1918, British and Arab forces entered Damascus.

Great Britain

Roles held by T. E. Lawrence

Role Start Date End Date
Combatant - Other

Some books by or about T. E. Lawrence (3)

Title Author
Men at War Ernest Hemingway
Lawrence Douglas Orgill
With Lawrence in Arabia Lowell Thomas