During the scorching hot summer of 1930, T.E. Lawrence - of Arabia fame - rented a harbour-side cottage over at Collieston.
Seemingly, well after his Arabian adventures and his RAF sojourn he had become friendly with a fellow soldier, Jock Bruce from Aberdeen, whom he had met during a brief but relatively unknown period of service with the Royal Tank Regiment.

Jock was from local farming stock and the adventurous pair apparently shared a healthy interest in sadomasochistic floggings. 
A 1984 article in Leopard Magazine co-written by Diane Morgan and David Ross reveals the pairs craving for sexual gratification via punishment. “Jock Bruce himself seems to have no qualms about giving Lawrence his scuds” writes Diane. “Young and impressionable when they met, he saw himself as Lawrence’s bodyguard and valued what he regarded as their friendship – and by no means only for the extra cash it produced.”
In her book ‘Six Buchan Villages’ local author Margaret Aitken relates that the cottage that Lawrence and Bruce inhabited was “a very fine house overlooking the harbour.”
Lawrence was less charitable.  Describing the Collieston cottage as “the nearest hovel to the high-tide mark.” He also went on record that his fellow flogger, the redoubtable Jock, was “the roughest diamond in our tank corps hut.”
Aberdeenshire war artist, James McBey met up with Colonel Lawrence during his WW1 desert sojourn and Aberdeen Art Gallery holds a McBey portrait depicting Lawrence in all of his desert finery.

Duncan Harley is author of two books about Aberdeenshire. Both titles – The Little History of Aberdeenshire and The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire - are available from Amazon.


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