Research and discussion
Page updated May 2012
Outline chronology: 1914
For the early months of 1914 see Youth
War is declared, but the Turkish Empire is not at first involved. Lawrence, on S. F. Newcombe's advice, decides to join up later, when his specialist Middle-East knowledge will be useful to the war-effort. Meanwhile, he works at Oxford on his survey of antiquities examined during the previous winter's Sinai expedition, a task which keeps him busy until September.
Lawrence joins the Geographical Section of the General Staff (GSGS) as a civilian. He works there on maps of the Middle East, and is soon in uniform with the rank of Temporary 2nd Lieutenant-Interpreter.
Following Turkey's entry into the war, Lawrence expects to be transferred to Cairo. However, he is held up in London preparing a route-report of northern Sinai: the 190-page Military Report on the Sinai Peninsula.
Lawrence is posted to the Intelligence department in Cairo. He travels out with Stewart Newcombe, overland through France and by steamer from Marseilles to Port Said.
Lawrence reaches the Cairo Intelligence Office at a time when co-operation with the Arabs seems to offer a promising opening to the British in the Middle East. He takes up duties as 'bottle-washer and office-boy pencil-sharpener and pen wiper', interpreting information and writing 'little geographical essays'.
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