Baroness Elles, Diana Louie Elles, died on October 17, 2009, aged 88. She was the daughter of Colonel Newcombe and as a Conservative politician she spoke from the opposition front bench on foreign affairs and served as a Member of the European Parliament for Thames Valley for ten years from 1979. A dedicated opponent of discrimination, she campaigned hard for enhanced rights and opportunities for women. She was a working peer for nearly four decades. After the death of her brother, Stewart Lawrence Newcombe, she was an important link to the Newcombe family history.
Colonel Stewart Francis Newcombe was already a legend in the deserts of Arabia before he was joined in Cairo during the early months of the First World War by a group of extraordinary specialists in Middle Eastern affairs. One member of this group was T.E. Lawrence who went on to achieve worldwide fame. Colonel Newcombe's story, like those of other unsung figures in the Anglo-Arabian panoply, has been eclipsed by the legend of ´Lawrence of Arabia´, and has languished in the dusty recesses of regimental records, government files or in the elliptical words of Lawrence’s book Seven Pillars of Wisdom. However, S.F. Newcombe´s untold story is there to be told. IN THE SHADOW OF THE CRESCENT is a story of extraordinary exploits and courage, coupled with Newcombe's own legendary and inexhaustible supply of energy and of remarkable adventures under the very noses of the Ottoman authorities – full of danger, intrigue and perhaps more surprisingly, of romance during Newcombe's captivity in Turkey.