Monday, 12 October 2009


It is well known that Lawrence is purported to have proposed marriage to Janet Laurie just before WW1, but she turned him down. Apparently she preferred his brother Will. All this was covered by Jeremy Wilson in his official biography of 1989: Lawrence of Arabia. Just after the war she married Captain Guthrie Hallsmith DSO, (see the Supplement to The London Gazette dated 4th February 1918, page 1600) and they subsequently had several children.
Between 1923 and 1935 they lived at Newquay, Cornwall. One of Janet's childen, Emma Smith, wrote and had published in 2008 her childhood experiences of that period - The Great Western Beach: A Memoir of a Cornish Childhood Between the Wars. Published by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London. On pages 242-247 is a blow-by-blow account of a visit Lawrence made to see them c.1931, on his motorcycle, when his stated adverse conduct on that occasion is somewhat at variance with that generally accepted.
To know what supposedly transpired I would recommend readers to obtain a copy of the book. It contains several photographs of the married Janet, as well as many details of her pre-married life, including her award of The Royal Red Cross, 2nd Class for her nursing work during WW1 (see the Supplement to The London Gazette dated 6th August 1919, page 10050).

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