TE Lawrence field books hammer for $173,000 in London sale


2015-06-26 13:39:49


TE Lawrence field books hammer for $173,000 in London sale

The field books contain information on TE Lawrence's assault on the Hejaz railway

The original field books used during the destruction of the Hejaz railway under TE Lawrence in 1917 have made 104,500 ($172,884) at Bonhams London.

The lot led a sale of books, atlases, manuscripts and photographs in London on March 19.

Newcombe Arab revolt HejazTE Lawrence severed the Hejaz railway in 1917, hastening the end of the war

The books belonged to Colonel SF Newcombe (1878-1956), who served alongside Lawrence (1888-1935) during the Arab Revolt - which was fought between the Ottoman Empire and the multitude of tribal and national entities that make up the Middle East.

Britain became involved as a direct result of Ottoman ties to Germany during the first world war. A young officer, TE Lawrence, was among those dispatched to aid the Arabs in the struggle for independence.

During the conflict, the railway was a vital support line to the Ottoman Empire, and was attacked on numerous occasions.

In 1917, Lawrence succeeded in severing it completely, cutting off supplies to Damascus.

The diaries contain a wealth of information on the planning and operation of Lawrence's campaign. Newcombe writes of the bombing: "I took a long time to lay the Electric bomb, which gave them ample time to lay their charges under the rails. After my bomb was ready, Ali fired his rifle & all charges were fired at once".

Also included are entries that bring the situation and participants to life, including Newcombe's constant complaints of a "Very bad tummy ache...".

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