This multi-bladed pocketknife was carried by T.E. Lawrence (‘Lawrence Of Arabia’) and is currently believed to be in the custody of the U.K. National Trust. It was offered up for auction in 2011 but withdrawn, when an ownership dispute arose. It was discovered in the 1950s, buried in a garden at Lawrence’s former Dorset home.
Thomas Edward Lawrence was a British officer whose WWI exploits became the stuff of legend, as he led Arab insurgents in their rebellion against the Turkish Ottoman empire. Historians don’t know if he carried this particular knife in Arabia during the war, where everything except the corkscrew would have come in handy. To say that Lawrence’s Arab allies ‘frown upon’ drinking would be a bit of an understatement.
While this knife’s legal ownership was in dispute, its provenance appears to be unquestioned. The initials “TEL” are burned into the wooden scales of the knife, which Lawrence did to mark many of his possessions. Despite its appearance, this knife is not a prototype Swiss Army Knife. The Victorian non-Victorinox was made by Royal knifemakers Underwood & Farrant.