May 19, 1935 – Lawrence of Arabia dies

May 19, 1935 – Lawrence of Arabia dies

T. E. Lawrence, known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia, dies as a retired Royal Air Force mechanic living under an assumed name. During World War I, Arab forces revolting against the Turks adopted the charismatic Lawrence, a British archeologist and intelligence officer, as their strategic and inspirational leader.

After the war, he lobbied hard for Arab independence, refusing a medal from King George V and appearing at the Paris peace conference in Arab robes. A legendary figure in his own lifetime, his autobiography, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, was widely read.

In 1922, he gave up higher paying appointments to enlist in the RAF under an assumed name, John Hume Ross. He hoped to escape his fame and acquire material for a new book. Found out by the press, he was discharged, but in 1923 managed to enlist as a private in the Royal Tanks Corps under another assumed name, T. E. Shaw.

He later rejoined the RAF and legally changed his last name to Shaw. In 1935, shortly after retiring from military service to concentrate on his writing, he was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident.