Inspired by a collection of letters received by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle during the First World War, Philip Abbott sets out to explore the campaign to provide body armour to British soldiers serving in the trenches.
Setting the letters in the context of the terrible losses suffered during the Battle of the Somme, Abbott reveals the actions of the War Office and Ministry of Munitions in providing better protection for the troops. He examines Conan Doyle’s personal motives for involvement, and investigates the part played by another Edinburgh graduate, Caleb Saleeby, in promoting the development of helmets, body armour and shields.
Saving Lives is an absorbing account of how the creator of Sherlock Holmes used his fame to campaign against the horrific casualties on the Western Front.
‘This account of Conan Doyle's campaign to protect soldiers,
particularly after the horrors of the Somme, shows the surprising compassion of
one of Britain's best known writers. It is a most compelling read.’
-- General the Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL
‘By exploring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's largely unknown
efforts, Philip Abbott reveals an important and overlooked chapter in the
rebirth of modern body armor – a story that continues to unfold in conflict
zones around the world today.’
-- Donald J. La Rocca, Curator, Department of Arms and Armor, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
‘A fascinating and superbly researched connection between a
beloved author of fiction and the brutal reality of industrial warfare’
-- Jonathan Ferguson, Curator of Firearms, Royal Armouries