Thomas Edward Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, bought one of the first SS100s in 1925 having previously owned three Brough SS80s. The crash that would end Lawrence’s life came while riding another SS100, on a narrow road near his cottage near Wareham.

T. E. Lawrence’s eighth Brough Superior, the one he was riding when he was killed, at the Imperial War Museum / Image: Wikipedia

In May 1935 Lawrence was riding the Brough back home from Bovington in Dorset to his nearby cottage at Clouds Hill. Suddenly he came upon two errand boys on bicycles, swerved to avoid them and pitched over the handlebars onto the road. His head struck the ground and he sustained terrible injuries, which would claim his life six days later. The motorcycle was only slightly damaged in the accident and was returned to the factory to be repaired by George Brough.

One of the doctors attending him was the neurosurgeon, Hugh Cairns. He consequently began a long study of what he saw as the unnecessary loss of life by motorcycle dispatch riders through head injuries and his research led to the use of crash helmets by both military and civilian motorcyclists. As a consequence of treating Lawrence, Sir Hugh Cairns ultimately saved the lives of many motorcyclists.

Lawrence’s 1935 Brough Superior SS100

Website: www.iwm.org.uk/

Feature Image: Artist: Paul Dove (T.E. Lawrence riding his Brough Superior SS100 motorcycle)

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