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Perspective: John E. Mack on Aldington Point of View

Excerpt from the 1976 edition of John E. Mack’s Pulitzer Prize winning biography A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T.E. Lawrence

“When Aldington attacked Lawrence as a charlatan and a fraud he aroused most intensely the ire of Lawrence’s fellow officers. The angry reaction of Captain L.H. Gilman, who commanded an armored-car battery in close associate with Lawrence until near the end of the campaign, is typical:

‘Aldington makes what is tantamount to an insinuation of the basest treachery on the part of Lawrence. He would have us believe that Lawrence was guilty of perpetrating one of the biggest hoaxes in history; of the deception of all his friends and former brother officers; of allocating to himself the honour and glory of exploits which belonged to others….

All this and more we, who knew and trusted him, are invited to believe. Those of us who are still alive will not easily be taken in by Aldington’s glib and costive pen. Our faith in Lawrence is too great to be thus shaken, and we will not rest until the stigma of this foul indictment has been wiped from the slate….’

Gilman then proceeds to refute Aldington on specific matters of which he had firsthand knowledge, such as Lawrence’s presence and courage in operations against the Hijaz railroad that Aldington had denied.

Gilman wrote me of his association with Lawrence: ‘…I do not believe there was a man alive, at the time of the Arabian campaign, who could have taken on the job Lawrence so successfully and steadfastly accomplished.’”