The Drummond sisters were born and raised on the Clarence River in Australia.
Early in the 20th Century they lived in Berlin, Germany, and worked for the opera company there, for many years.
When war broke out in 1914, they were ‘trapped’ for some time – Behind Enemy Lines. This is their story, in their own words.
Waiting for News
‘Lute’ continues the sisters’ story of their plight of being – Behind Enemy Lines
6th August- the papers this morning, and again to-night are asking the Berliners to keep cool, and above all are warning them against insulting any English- speaking people, as they may be Americans, and to quote the article:”The Americans are a proud people who may resent ill-treatment at the hands of a mob.”
After we packed this morning we hurried round to Inez- whom we found also pale with excitement. She has £15 in the bank. Lucky girl! We went with her while she drew it out. She had also packed. Then we drove to the American Embassy to find out what to do. It was crowded with American citizens and a number of British subjects. One American began to tell us that England had caused the war- it was the result of King Edward’s policy, that we were on the side of assassins, and a host of other unpleasant stuff, which I also had read myself in the German daily before starting out.
We began to think if the Ambassador takes this view too we have little hope of help here. But, thank goodness, the American Embassy is as practical as the Yankee himself. They are very courteous. Told us to come back in the afternoon, which we did, bringing our passports with us. We had to sign our names with address in a register, and now we are awaiting further developments.
Some friends of Purmall bottled fruit in her absence and placed it in our pantry. If the worst comes to the worst, then we can eat that, as on 30s cash we can’t expect to hold out long. Everybody is in the same predicament. I don’t think we can reckon on our German friends. They have enough to do for their own people, and feel very sore about England. We must, therefore, also shoulder our country’s supposed wrongs, which we do cheerfully. Nothing is published about the war- absolutely nothing. It is too early, but Herr Schoneck told us that they expect to be finished with France in eight days. They are putting all their strength there first, then when La France is wiped off the map, they attend to Russia and last comes England. It is a cruel situation for Germany- it lies horribly, surrounded by foes on every side. If it wins then we must take our hats off to the best man. Fancy, since last Tuesday we’ve never heard a word about Servia and Austria. We even don’t know if they are fighting .It’s horrible. And the question of Italy’s policy is beginning to excite curiosity. What is she going to do?
I can assure you the three days before the war broke out were three awful stretches of suppressed tension. “To be or not to be” was the last thought going to bed, and the first on awakening. Now we know the worst, and as Europe seems determined to destroy itself, well let it go on.
Isn’t it an intensely interesting world situation? Poor old Germans! To them interest is the least factor. This awful conscription falls like a blow in times like these as not a house nor hearth has been spared. Brothers, husbands, fathers, from 17 up- all are gone, and the cities sit idly there, waiting for their manly element which may perhaps never return. It’s too terrible to realize.
All business stopped, all field work, harvesting, factories, nothing goes on- only the women; they remain behind, waiting for the daily telegrams, busying themselves in works of charity, benevolence and necessity for the good of the Vaterland.
Every nation has been equally filled with the desire to fight since we’ve been in Europe. Now at least they have their heart’s desire- and we’ll see the result..
The below websites will allow you to see what was happening in the outside world, both in Europe and Australia, at the time.