An intriguing enquiry from an online used bookseller arrived by email this week. One of their books has an enclosure that mentions Chitterne. The book is about Lawrence of Arabia and the enclosure is a note hand-written by Group Captain L G Maxton of The Grange, Chitterne. The bookseller wants to know: “Was Maxton a well-known figure in the village and whether his association with Lawrence (Shaw) well known?” If any readers of this blog can help with the question regarding Leo Maxton and Lawrence, or T E Shaw as he was known in the RAF, please get in touch.
I passed on the little I know of Group Captain Leonard Graeme Maxton, who lived here at The Grange for 30 years, and died in 1972. Mostly anecdotal tales of his connection with testing the landing or take-off mechanisms aboard aircraft carriers, and over-doing his excitement by driving around Chitterne blowing his horn when Winston Churchill was returned to government in the 1951 election. Now I come to think of it, someone else told me he died at the wheel of his car when turning onto the B390 in the village in 1972. So, yes he was definitely a well-known Chitterne character. But whether he knew Lawrence, I have no idea.
The note reads: “I have kept this picture of T E Shaw, Aircraftsman R.A.F., as it is a typical one of his stance and arms’ attitude when static – Mount Batten RAF Station 1930-31. L.G.M.” The cutting is from the Sunday Times of September 17th 1961.
From reading his note it would seem Maxton had at least had seen Lawrence and was probably stationed at the same base as Lawrence in 1930-31.