Today is the anniversary of the 1935 death of Col. Thomas Edward Lawrence DSO,CB, Croix de Guerre, Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford and a long time hero of mine.
In August 1922, in an attempt to evade his celebrity Lawrence enlisted in the RAF under the name John Hume Ross. His enlistment officer believing Ross an alias, challenged Lawrence to come clean. Lawrence admitted he lied and was dismissed from the service. Later that day Lawrence along with an RAF messenger returned to the enlisting officer where the messenger delivered an order for Lawrence's enlistment. It was during this RAF enlistment that Aircraftman Lawrence wrote The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Lawrence's notoriety caught up with him the following February when the Daily Express exposed his serving as an enlisted man causing a public embarrassment for his superiors. Lawrence was promptly discharged by the RAF.
Later that year he changed his name to TE Shaw and joined the Royal Tank Corps, which he hated and repeatedly petitioned to rejoin the RAF, which finally relented under pressure from the PM in 1925. The RAF hustled him off to a remote corner of India for the next 2 1/2 years.
HT Lawrence Tender
Upon his return to England, Lawrence was transferred to the RAF Marine section where he helped to develop a series of fast tenders used to ferry passengers to flying boats, fire tenders and rescue boats. His work saved many downed aircrew during the Second World War.
May he rest in peace.