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.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Creating History: Lowell Thomas & Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence and Thomas
A new on-line exhibit explores how American journalist Lowell Thomas helped create the 'Lawrence of Arabia' legend. Clio Visualising History has put together a dynamic website that tells the story of how "journalism can create legends and such legends can make history".

"Searching for a World War I success story entrepreneurial American journalist, Lowell Thomas, encounters an extraordinary figure in Jerusalem: a British army officer, T.E. Lawrence, who, dressed in Arab robes, had helped capture the Turkish port of Akaba. With a cameraman in tow and a ton of equipment, Thomas follows Lawrence into the desert, turns his footage into a multimedia spectacle seen by millions, and helps create "Lawrence of Arabia". Lawrence’s new celebrity and brilliant mind earn him a seat at the table when the map of the Middle East is redrawn."

The website can be found at