Research and discussion
Page updated May 2012
Outline chronology: 1888 - 1914
T. E. Lawrence ('Ned') born at Tremadoc, Caernarvonshire in Wales (see also family history.) He was his parents' second son. His elder brother Bob (M. R. Lawrence) had been born in Dublin, Ireland, on 27 December 1885.
The Lawrence family move to Kirkudbright in Scotland.
Will (W. G. Lawrence), the third Lawrence son, born at Kirkudbright. He would be the closest of the Lawrence brothers to T. E.
The Lawrence family move to the Chalet du Vallon in Dinard, Brittany, France.
Frank (F. H. Lawrence), the fourth Lawrence son, born. In order to avoid liability to French military service for boys born in France, the family had moved temporarily to St Helier in Jersey. Frank was given 'Helier' as a second name.
The Lawrence family move to Langley Lodge near Totton in Hampshire, close to the New Forest and Southampton Water. Lawrence and his brothers receive private tuition.
The Lawrence family move to 2 Polstead Road, Oxford, where there are good schools. T.E. Lawrence and his elder brother Bob enrol at the City of Oxford High School for Boys, a fee-paying day school.
Arnold (A. W. Lawrence), the last of the Lawrence sons, is born.
Because of tension at home Lawrence runs away from home and serves for a few weeks as a boy soldier with the Royal Garrison Artillery at St Mawes Castle, in Cornwall. He is bought out.
Lawrence sits the Senior Oxford Local Examinations, the examination for school-leavers aged 18. Unlike the modern British equivalent, which is very specialised, the exams cover a wide range of subjects. Lawrence is placed in the first class overall. Only 12 of the 4,675 candidates gain higher total marks. He shares first place in English Language and Literature, and third place in Religious Knowledge, gaining a distinction in these subjects.
In the summer holiday Lawrence goes on a cycling tour in Brittany, visiting medieval castles.
Lawrence becomes an undergraduate at Jesus College, Oxford University, where he will study modern history. By virtue of his academic ability and birth in Wales he has been awarded a Meyricke Exhibition.
In the university long vacation Lawrence makes a cycling tour in France, visiting medieval castles.
In the university long vacation Lawrence visits Crusader castles in Palestine and Syria, travelling largely on foot. The object of the journey is to collect information about the castles for a thesis which he plans to submit as part of his final examinations for the BA degree.
Lawrence wins first class honours - the highest grade - in his Oxford BA degree, having submitted a notable thesis titled The influence of the Crusades on European Military Architecture - to the end of the XIIth century (published after his death as Crusader Castles).
During the summer Lawrence decides to carry out postgraduate research at Oxford on medieval pottery, a subject that has long interested him. In the event, this project will never be fulfilled, because Lawrence will become a field archaeologist.
Lawrence sails for Beirut. He will study Arabic at Jebail as a preliminary to joining a trial season's excavations to be conducted by the British Museum at Carchemish, near Jerablus in northern Syria. This work will be unpaid, but he has been awarded a postgraduate research scholarship at Magdalen College, Oxford.
March 11 to July 8.
Trial season's excavations at Carchemish, working under D. G. Hogarth and R. Campbell-Thompson.
Walking tour visiting castles (Lawrence's diary of this tour published after his death as The Diary of T. E. Lawrence, MCMXI).
Lawrence leaves Beirut for England.
The British Museum has decided to continue the Carchemish excavations. Lawrence leaves England for Jerablus to prepare for a second season.
To gain experience of field archaeology, Lawrence works briefly at excavations led by Flinders Petrie at Kafr Ammar in Egypt. Afterwards he returns to Jerablus.
March - June
Second season's British Museum excavations at Carchemish, led by Leonard Woolley. Lawrence is mainly responsible for pottery and photography, but also plays an important role in managing the locally-recruited workforce. Lawrence remains in Syria and Lebanon during the summer.
Third season's British Museum excavations at Carchemish.
Lawrence and Woolley leave for England.
Lawrence leaves England for Jerablus to prepare for the new season's excavations.
Fourth season's British Museum excavations at Carchemish.
Lawrence leaves Jerablus for a brief visit to England, accompanied by two head-men from the excavations: Hamoudi and Dahoum.
Lawrence returns to the Middle East.
- September-early December
Fifth season's British Museum excavations at Carchemish.
Woolley and Lawrence, under the auspices of the Palestine Exploration Fund, travel to the Sinai Peninsula to join a party of Royal Engineers commanded by Stewart Newcombe. Their role is to provide 'innocent' archaeological camouflage for a British military survey of a Turkish-controlled area. During this period Lawrence visits Akaba and Petra for the first time.
Woolley and Lawrence return to Jerablus.
Sixth season's British Museum excavations at Carchemish.
Lawrence returns to Oxford. He and Woolley prepare their archaeological report on the Sinai expedition, to be titled The Wilderness of Zin.
Outbreak of war.
For the remainder of 1914 see Lawrence in the First World War, 1914
T.E. Lawrence 1888-1935
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset