One of the heroic figures of World War One was Englishman T E ‘Lawrence’ of Arabia. Immortalized in film for his role in the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire, little is known of his legacy as regards road safety. What was this?

Answer: Soldier, archaeologist and writer, Lawrence was the son of an English baronet who left his wife to marry the family’s governess, Lawrence was small in stature, but a commanding and charismatic, if eccentric figure.

Working with Arab leaders during the war, he led military assaults against Ottoman forces.

After the war, the now Colonel Lawrence was internationally famous, and could have become very wealthy by taking up the offers he received from entrepreneurs keen to promote him. Instead, in 1922 he chose anonymity, enlisting in the Royal Air Force as an ordinary aircraftman.

His thrill-seeking love of danger found expression in powerful motorcycles. He owned several tailor-made Brough one thousand machines, the Rolls Royce of motorcycles, capable of one hundred miles per hour.

In 1935, Lawrence was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident in Dorset.

The attending surgeon said he would have survived had he been wearing a helmet. The physician later successfully campaigned for the introduction of compulsory helmets for motorcyclists, citing the high-profile Lawrence as one of the many lives that could have been saved.

Source: A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T E Lawrence by John E Mack

More at: History

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