Dorset, England Motorcycle Crash Kills Lawrence of Arabiti, May 1935

Lawrence of Arabiti Dying After Crash on Motor Cycle

Doctors Abandon Hope for Hero of Revolt in
the Desert — He Swerved to Save a Child
— Had Planned to End Retirement

LONDON, Tuesday, May 14 —
Former Aircraftsman T. E . Shaw,
who as Colonel Thomas E. Lawrence
was known to all the world
as "Lawrence of Arabia," was desperately
injured in an accident on
his motorcycle yesterday and is
now lying at death's door in t he
military hospital at Bovington
Camp, Dorset.
The hero of a hundred exploits
in the Arab revolt during the World
War, he was crushed in avoiding
a child on a peaceful country road.
He must have been traveling at
a terrific speed, for he was picked
up unconscious and all but dead
almost 100 feet from the wreckage
of his machine. The child was not
Another version of the accident is
that he swerved to avoid striking a
boy on a butcher's delivery bicycle.
The boy, it is said, was thrown to
the roadway but only slightly hurt.
The accident occurred at Cloud's
Hill, near the tiny cottage where
Colonel Lawrence had been living
since he left the air force.
An ambulance rushed Colonel
Lawrence to a hospital. He was
found to have a compound fracture
of the skull and hemorrhage of the
brain. Telegrams -were rushed to
his relatives, and early this morning
hope for his recovery was virtually
Colonel Lawrence's parents,
accompanied by three specialists,
raced by air from London, landing
at Bovington Camp in a chartered
It was Colonel Lawrence's passion
for high-speed motorcycling that
may cost him his life. He thought
nothing of tearing over long
straight roads at 100 miles an hour.
Whether on the back of a camel in
the desert or on a motorcycle in
Dorset he had nerves of steel.
Yesterday's accident occurred in
the heart of the late Thomas Hardy's
country, where Colonel Lawrence
had found his greatest happiness.
He often mounted his motorcycle to
visit Mr. Hardy, hitting eighty-five
miles an hour on the way. He
delighted in a quiet cup of tea with
the aged novelist, who died in 1931.
When Colonel Lawrence left the
Royal Air Force on March 1, he
took a tiny cottage near Moreton
in the loneliest part of the Hardy
country without a telephone and
without even a housekeeper to do
his cooking.
The tragedy was heightened by
the fact that Colonel Lawrence
was on the verge of coming back
into the world after his long self-fimposed
seclusion of more than fifteen
years. His friends say he had
been contemplating a return to the
active life he left when the war was
over and when his hopes for the
Arab people were shattered and he
felt his country had been untrue to
its pledges.

May 14, 1935 edition of The New York Times