— Lawrence of Arabia
Thomas Edward Lawrence was a British military officer and diplomat that lived from August 16, 1888, to May 19, 1935. He was known for his liaison role during the Sinai and Palestine campaign and the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. His activities earned him the title of Lawrence of Arabia.
T. E. Lawrence was born to Thomas Chapman and Sarah Lawrence on August 16, 1888, in Tremadog, Caernarvonshire, Wales. He was sent to Palestine by the British Foreign Office in January 1914 where he studied the customs and the culture of the Near East. It was here where Lawrence helped conduct a survey of the Negev Desert. This was a done to improve mapping of the area to give the British an advantage over the Ottoman Empire in the event of war.
With the start of World War I, Lawrence commissioned into the British Army and was posted to the intelligence staff in Cairo in December 1914 due to his extensive knowledge of Arabic. His job was to conduct surveys of the Palestinian countryside and to collect maps for the war in the Middle East. He also supervised the encoding and decoding of telegrams sent between Athens, Gallipoli, Petrograd, and Cairo.
In 1915 an Arab-nationalist movement erupted within the Arabic-speaking Ottoman territories. Sharif Hussein bin Ali, Emir of Mecca was in negotiations with the British to lead an Arab uprising against the Ottomans. In exchange, he wanted a guarantee from the British of an independent Arab state. The British were very tempted to accept this offer as it would have been helpful in redirecting the Ottomans from the British oil reserves in the Middle East. Negotiations stalled, however, as France and India did not want the Arab states to become independent. The situation peaked in October 1915 where Sharif Hussein gave the British an ultimatum. Either they give immediate commitment or Hussein would support the Ottomans.
Unable to overcome a possible alliance between Hussein and the Ottomans due to the difficulties of the Gallipoli Campaign, Britain sent Lawrence to Mesopotamia in the spring of 1916 to assist in relieving the Siege of Kut by helping the Bedouins to start an Arab uprising and bribing Ottoman officials. The Arab Revolt began in June 1916.
Lawrence was sent to the Hejaz on October 16, 1916, on an intelligence gathering mission led by Ronald Storris. He visited and interviewed Hussein's three sons and concluded that Faisal would be the best choice to lead the revolt. For the duration of the revolt, Lawrence best contributed to it through his use of strategy against the Ottomans and as a liaison with the British armed forces. His actions during the revolt eventually earned him renown throughout the region, gaining the title of Lawrence of Arabia and a bounty of £20,000 from the Ottomans. Sharif Hussein bin Ali also gave him the status as one of his sons.
Nothing Is Written
- Main article: Nothing Is Written
Hidden in Plain Sight
In the Spring of 1918, Lawrence sent Bedouin warrior Zara Ghufran to recover a communication code book from a derailed Ottoman train. She successfully found the book but was caught by Tilkici and his men. Mistaking Zara for Lawrence, Tilkici proceeded to mock her until she signaled the rebels to take out Tilkici's men. With the tables turned, the real Lawrence reveals himself and states he was counting on Tilkici to show up so that they could capture him. Before he can say anything else, Tilkici starts to antagonize Zara stating that the rebels would soon be free of the Ottoman rule with their deaths, prompting Zara to cut him across the face and ear with her knife. Before she can kill him, however, Lawrence talks her down and reminds her that they still need Tilkici. Zara agrees and starts questioning Tilkici on how to communicate with the Ottoman Armored Train so that they can lay a trap for it and destroy it. Refusing to comply, Tilkici states that it would be pointless to tell them anything as they would still need a code book to communicate with the train to which Lawrence directs him toward the code book that Zara just recovered.
Young Men's Work
Afterwards, Lawrence sends Zara to assassinate three Ottoman officers and deliver three fake messages via Carrier Pigeon to communicate with the train. During her mission, Tilkici escapes the rebel's camp and proceeds to warn the Ottomans about Lawrence's plan and the location of their camp. Upon discovering this, Zara rushes back to the camp to find it empty and destroyed. It is revealed that Lawrence survived the attack, stating that Tilkici was a fool to believe that they would not relocate their camp once he escaped. Lawrence then thinks of a plan to ambush and destroy the train. He also tells Zara that he will rally their fighters but that she should be prepared to fight the train alone if he is unable to gather their forces.
Hear the Desert
The next day, Zara plants dynamite on the tracks and detonates them as the train ride over it. She is then supported by the other rebels who were successfully rallied by Lawrence. After finally destroying the train, Lawrence tells Zara that she was right and they need to think bigger before asking her what she knew about battleships.
Following the conclusion of the war, Lawrence left the British Army and worked as a diplomat for the British government and Faisal until 1922. In 1923 he enlisted in the Royal Air Force as an Aircraftman. He left the Air Force in 1935 and was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident not two months later. He died six days later on May 19, 1935, at the age of 46.
Lawrence of Arabia Pack
- Lawrence is the first historical figure to be featured in the Battlefield series.
- The Jambiya Knife featured in the game is based on the real Jambiya knife that Lawrence was seen carrying during World War I.