Lawrence of Arabia's Yorkshire bomb expert honoured

A MAVERICK explosives expert from Yorkshire who worked alongside Lawrence of Arabia in fomenting the Arab revolt is to be honoured nearly a century after his death.

Sheffield-born Herbert Garland held a number of roles as a soldier, diplomat and scientist in his short life.

But he died almost forgotten in 1921, aged 38, only a few years after serving alongside TE Lawrence, right, as they sought to rally Arab opposition to the rule of the Ottoman Empire.

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Now the Royal Society of Chemistry is set to commemorate his life and recognise the role he played in the Middle East.

Major Garland worked as superintendent of a government explosives laboratory in Cairo before the outbreak of the Great War. Here he developed a specialist interest in the cleaning and conservation of ancient bronzes in which he was to become a leading authority.

He was elected a Fellow of the Chemical Society, the forerunner of the Royal Society of Chemistry, which later awarded him a small grant to research ancient Egyptian metals.

In 1916 he joined Lawrence in organising Arab forces into guerilla units.

He was well regarded and helped teach Lawrence and Arab forces about explosives, which played a huge part in the success of the campaign which was designed to tie up Ottoman forces.

His work was instrumental in derailing a Turkish train in 1917, one of the activities memorably portrayed in the Oscar-winning film Lawrence of Arabia, with Peter O'Toole in the title role.

In his final years, he became superintendent of the laboratories at the Cairo Citadel Museum.

Lawrence, who served in the RAF in Bridlington under an assumed name shortly before he died, later paid tribute to Garland and his fellow officers in his greatest work The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.