Australia forgives Lawrence of Arabia's history

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Australia has finally forgiven Lawrence of Arabia for writing it out of the history of the Middle East campaign of World War I, honouring the enigmatic Englishman with an exhibition at its national war museum.

But Australia's War Memorial is using the exhibit to highlight the overlooked role of Australian troops and their commander Henry Chauvel, who played a crucial role in the defeat of Turkish Ottoman forces in Palestine and Syria.

In his famous war memoir Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Thomas Edward Lawrence, known as T. E. Lawrence, ignored the role of Australia's Light Horse in securing Damascus, instead claiming the victory for his Arab forces.

"Essentially it was Chauvel who took the town as the overall commander," exhibition curator Mal Booth told Reuters.

"What Lawrence was trying to do was make the best case he could for Arab self-determination. I think he inflates the Arab claims in Damascus."

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