Research and discussion
Page updated May 2012
Outline chronology: 1915
A memorandum from the Cairo Intelligence Office urges a military landing at Alexandretta, a town of great strategic importance. This would distract the Turks from a large-scale attack on the Suez Canal. It would also, Lawrence hoped, provide the trigger for an uprising in the Arab provinces of the Turkish Empire. The proposal meets with approval in London. Lawrence would later claim that the Alexandretta scheme 'was, from beginning to end, my invention, put forward necessarily through my chiefs'. In fact, the idea had been canvassed before his arrival in Cairo, although he undoubtedly gave it new impetus.
Lawrence composes Syria: the Raw Material, a perceptive analysis of what was then known as Syria (including modern Syria, Jordan, and Israel) in political, social, and religious terms. It would later provide the basis for several chapters in Seven Pillars of Wisdom. He wrote: 'the only imposed government that will find, in Moslem Syria, any really prepared groundwork or large body of adherents is a Sunni one, speaking Arabic, and pretending to revive the Abbasides or Ayubides.'
The Intelligence Department begins to issue daily Intelligence Bulletins, 'for the edification of twenty-eight generals' [Lawrence]. His duties now include work on maps, examining aerial photographs, preparing Intelligence Bulletins, and interrogating prisoners.
Lawrence's youngest brother, Frank, is killed in action at Richebourg l'Avou on the Western Front.
Lawrence goes to Athens for a week in order to improve liaison with the Levant branch of British Intelligence.
Lawrence's brother Will is killed, having served as an RFC observer in France for less than a week.
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