Tribute to Lawrence of Arabia

On 18th and 19th May 2015 there were three special events were held at Tremadog paying tribute to Lawrence of Arabia. This was timed to commemorate the death of the village’s most famous son, 80 years previously. Many people, local and from far afield, attended this celebration of a local Welsh hero. The special guest of honour was Falklands Veteran Simon Weston OBE.

The events were: A Lecture by Robert Morris on the life of T.E. Lawrence in Welsh (with English translation) at the Tremadog Institute. Unveiling by Simon Weston OBE of a commemorative plaque to mark the 80th anniversary of T. E. Lawrence’s death, event held at Tŷ Lawrence (Snowdon Lodge). Launch of the book ‘T.E. Lawrence and the Red Sea Patrol’ by John Johnson Allen at St Mary’s Church Tremadog.

“Commemorating T E Lawrence’s death represented a valued opportunity to re-affirm Tremadogs’ close connection to a man from the village who became a household name throughout the world for his wartime exploits in the Middle East and his literary works”, says Carl Borum, co-owner of Snowdon Lodge the birthplace of Lawrence of Arabia.

Anja Borum, co-owner of Snowdon Lodge led the formal commemoration and tribute to Lawrence of Arabia with an introduction in Welsh and English. This was followed by the Falkland Veteran Simon Weston OBE who gave an enlightened speech and unveiled the commemorative plaque on the round tree bench. At 11.05 the RAF flew over at 500 feet in a Hawk 2T from IV squadron RAF Valley. Representation from the Royal Air Force with Squadron Leader (retired) Gareth Llewellyn, from the Army Lt Col SO1 MCI, Patrick J Norrington-Davies, 160th Infantry Brigade and from the Coast Guard Derek Roberts.  This salute to Lawrence of Arabia was followed by the local Tremadog school choir, who performed 2 songs for the 90 attendees.

Additionally, Tŷ Lawrence was open to the public until 2pm on the day.  This provided a rare opportunity to visit the Birthplace of Lawrence of Arabia and preview the maquette of a proposed life-sized bronze statue of Lawrence of Arabia.  Internationally renowned sculptor David Williams-Ellis created the maquette and we plan to have a life-size statue at Snowdon Lodge as part of a Lawrence of Arabia Exhibition.  Limited sponsorship opportunities are still available.

At 12.00 noon the proceedings moved to the nearby St Mary’s Church in Tremadog. Here took place a further tribute to Lawrence of Arabia and the book launch of “T.E. Lawrence and the Red Sea Patrol”. This book, written by John Johnson Allen, is the first depiction of the naval involvement in the Lawrence story.

The commemorative activities ended on the Monday evening, May 18th, with a lecture on the life of T.E. Lawrence by the former Dean of Humanities at Bangor University and renowned historian, Robert Morris. The lecture was in Welsh with simultaneous translation facilities. Following the lecture, there was a showing of a television programme on the life and times of Lawrence of Arabia.

Considering its significance, the event attracted television and radio coverage with live link-ups with the BBC, ITV and S4C.