Colonel T. E. Lawrence, known as Lawrence of Arabia, was a guerrilla leader
in the Arab Revolt of 1916-18, which expelled the Turks from western Arabia and
Syria during World War I. Lawrence was an aloof, complex, versatile, somewhat
father, Sir Thomas Robert Chapman, was an Anglo-Irish landholder who left his
wife for his family’s governess. Thomas was the second of five sons produced by
this union. Adopting the name Lawrence, the family settled in Oxford, where
Thomas eventually entered the university. Specializing in archaeology,
Palestine. After graduating in 1910, he worked as an archaeologist in the Middle
East until early 1914.
After the outbreak of World War I, Lawrence returned to Egypt in December
1914 as an intelligence officer. In October 1916 he accompanied a British
mission to aid Husayn ibn Ali of Mecca, who had launched the Arab Revolt against
Ottoman Turkish rule. Shortly thereafter he joined Husayn’s son and army
and Lawrence proceeded to push back the Ottoman forces by raiding the
Damascus-Medina railroad and overrunning Ottoman strongpoints. In October 1918
the Arabs took Damascus, and Lawrence returned to Britain.