Revealed, our brave troops with Lawrence of Arabia as he pioneered SAS warfare

Photos in the book show the desert hero received help from a plucky band of British troops as well as native tribesmen while mobilising the Arab Revolt in the First World War.

Lawrence, a former archaeologist, became an intelligence officer in Cairo, Egypt.

In June 1916, the Arab Revolt began against Turkey – an ally of Germany’s – in a rebellion the British had worked hard to encourage.

Lawrence became liaison officer and adviser to Faisal, son of the revolt’s leader Sharif Hussein of Mecca. 

A superb tactician, Lawrence became a master of guerilla war and unconventional methods – right down to wearing traditional Arab dress.

Now the previously unseen photos in the book on Lawrence’s achievements show that as well as fighting alongside Arabs, he was supported by his British countrymen.

The photos had been in private albums of the descendants of soldiers who fought alongside Lawrence during the successful campaign that re-wrote the map of the Middle East.

There are snaps of the top secret “X Flight”, a small group of planes used by Lawrence and his company to carry out missions, and troops can be seen training with huge mountain guns and changing the tyres of their Rolls-Royce armoured cars.

Also featured are photos of the future King of Iraq Emir Faisal’s army who fought alongside Lawrence during the campaign.

Another picture captures a water tower and windmill pump being blown up in the desert. Military historian James Stejskal wrote the book, Masters Of Mayhem.

Mr Stejskal, 64, said: “Lawrence was an anomaly – an amateur officer who eschewed British military traditions and discipline and who loathed its seemingly mindless adherence to rules, regulations and conventions.”

He added: “The origins of British special forces operations are often traced back to World War Two but in reality we should trace them back further than that.

“Both special forces operations and what Lord Mountbatten called ‘combined operations’ had their origins in the British operations of the Arab Revolt.” 

Masters Of Mayhem is published by Casemate, at £19.99