The ‘B-P’ of the title is Baden-Powell and the author, Edmund Yerbury Priestman, had been a keen scout. After leaving schoo; he entered business and devoted his spare time to the Boy Scout Movement and Men’s Adult Schools. At the outbreak of war he placed himself at the disposal of the Sheffield Watch Committee (he was a Sheffield man) to superintend the Boy Scouts who were guarding places of danger from spies – his daily round covered eighty miles. In October 1914 he took a commision in the 6th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, a Kitchener battalion in 32nd Brigade, 11th (Northern) Division, and after nine months training at Belton Park, Grantham and Whitley Camp he went with his battalion to Gallipoli and was in the landing at Suvla bay on 6 August 1915. He was killed three months later during the night of 18th/19th November while defending an advanced post, a duty for which he had volunteered. The position he died defending was named after him ‘Priestman’s Post’. He is buried in Hill 10 Cemetery, Suvla. He was 25.
In his preface, which takes the form of a letter to his mother, he notes she has been keeping all his letters and that as things are they must by now (10th January 1915) be a mighty and uninteresting pile so he has decided to reform and suggests she starts a new file and call it ‘Belton’s Bulldogs.’ She evidently took him at his word because this book contains all the letters, with the beginnings and endings excised, starting from 10th January at Belton Park and ending on 10th November, a few days before his death in action. He kept them cheerful (numerous as Baden-Powell notes in his Foreword, and they provide a real picture of life in and out of the line at Gallipoli. They leave the impression of a good man, popular with his platoon and always conscious of his duty as befitted a committed Scout. His final action is described in an extract from the Sheffield Daily Telegraph of 5th Februay 1916. There is a final section entitled ‘Studies From the Dardanelles’ which contains a number of cartoon drawings and a couple of poems.
WITH A B-P SCOUT IN GALLIPOLI. A RECORD OF THE BELTON BULLDOGS
Letters from Gallipoli to his mother written by a subaltern of 6th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment, who landed at Suvla Bay on 6th August 1915 and was killed four months later on 19th November. A good picture of life in and out of battle on Gallipoli.