The Battle of Aqaba took place 100 years ago yesterday on July 6, 1917. It was not that big a battle but it was symbolically important. I don’t go into it much in my novel Key to Lawrence: Special Edition, though it does play a part. My big set piece is something called the Battle of Petra which apparently is where Lawrence was holed up in that area of the desert. It was nearby on the high ground. But I cannot determine if the battle ever really took place. It is reported in the narrative of Lowell Thomas, the American reporter, called With Lawrence in Arabia. But I’ve never found it anywhere else. So it is probably apocryphal. But it sounded so good I couldn’t ignore it. All that stuff about how German troops invaded the Siq in Petra and had boiling oil poured down on their heads by Arab women that Lawrence of Arabia recruited. Before the Battle of Petra German airplanes strafed Edward. It was just too dramatic to resist.
What I go into more is the Battle of Damascus whose 100th anniversary is coming up next year on October 1, 2018. This was the battle that concluded the whole Arabian Campaign or Mesopotamian Theater, or whatever. The Turks sued for peace after that. That I cover in a novel called Map Plot, which is from Lieutenant Edward Ware’s point of view. Next year I hope to have an Armistice edition of that book which has never been published before.
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