Lawrence of Arabia's gun donated to National Army Museum

2018-02-18

A revolver captured by Lawrence of Arabia from a Turkish officer during World War I has been donated to the National Army Museum accompanied by a label explaining its provenance.

Lawrence took the US-made Smith & Wesson from Ashraf Bey, whose name is inscribed in Arabic on the revolver when he was captured in 1916 together with more than £15,000 in gold.

The famous Lawrence of Arabia gave the gun to Capt Lionel Gray, a cipher officer in Middle East intelligence and an avid collector of souvenirs of the desert campaign, whose family have now donated it to the Museum along with his archive.

The label explains the origin of the gun and adds: "Ashraf Bey is known to have been responsible for the death of some 2,000 Armenians and this revolver was taken from this person". Lawrence, who had interrogated Bey after his capture, passed on the information to Gray, implicating the Turkish officer the infamous massacre of Armenians in 1915, claiming that Bey had personally used the gun to execute a number of captives.

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