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.
‘Lute’ continues the sisters’ story of their plight of being – Behind Enemy Lines
Belief in the Good
Tuesday, September 1st.
The second month of the war is ushered in, and we’re still living here, without the slightest indication, outwardly, that the world is killing each other. It’s only at times- always during night, that we feel we’re too comfortable and safe to last. We get a kind of heavy feeling – a premonition that we too will have terrors to go through. It’s when we are out in the night, and look up at the sky, black with angry and portentous clouds, that we feel – not frightened exactly – but awe-struck, at the greatest tragedy that’s renting the world. Inez feels it too. It seems as if it isn’t quite fair that we should be sitting here in ease and peace, white the rest of our race is marching on to death and glory.
When we awaken in the morning, there’s not a trace of these big prophetic moods, we run to the door for the newspaper, and bury our noses in its scanty and abrupt paragraphs, reveling in more German victories in France, unwillingly, opening our wide that Samoa now flies the “Union Jack,” tittering that the N D L “Wilhelm der Grosse” has been sunk by the “Highflyer” – and wondering how the English prisoners like this country’s brown bread and rations, after commencing their short campaign in France on a breakfast of “biscuits and marmalade”.
Mr von Kellar arrived back yesterday looking splendid. He had no difficulties being an American, but came from the Crimea, through Moscow, Petrograd, Finland and Sweden to Berlin. He said he didn’t notice anything of the war throughout his journey, and he spent three days in the capital of Russia, sightseeing.
Wednesday, September 2nd
The date of Sedan; every house is flying Germany’s flag, and the captured Russian, French and Belgian guns are being drawn through the streets, to show the people some of the spoils of the war. Russian horses are hitched to the Russian guns. We didn’t go in to see the procession. Jean had a singing lesson instead. That always means a heated argument, too, as the anteroom is full of Americans, who take a keen interest in the progress of the war.
We heard privately today that 100,000 Russians were either killed or captured in those swamps. The prisoners included 300 officers and 517 guns.
Now again today, a military train bringing Russians to the front fell into the river Weichsel, and thousands were drowned. Were there ever peasants in the world to be pitied like these? One disaster after another, not even a chance to fight for their lives. I get quite mad when i think of the injustice of it all. I’ll soon be a Russian myself. My sympathies are all on their side. I can’t help it.
We went to the Dome last night. It represents the Cathedral here. Every Tuesday evening a concert is held in it, where for the sum of 2d one can hear the leading artists of Berlin. The funds go to the Red Cross.
The penny kitchens have been opened all over Berlin. As many as 4000 daily are fed at one of these institutions. Of course, if the municipality didn’t organize like this, the people would simply starve. And yet, one doesn’t notice a great deal of difference in Berlin. I fancy it must be full, not only of refugees, but Germans from all the borders.
I wonder how this war will end. It will be fatal if it drags on into the winter months. It is commencing to get chilly already.
This is the seventh day of the big battle going on between the Austrians and the Russians at Lemberg. It is the world’s record, 1,200,000 fighting. Since Sunday the end has been expected, but it’s evidently a hard tussle. It’s supposed to be a very decisive encounter. The people all expected the good news of a win today, to celebrate Sedan.
Saturday, September, 5th
We’ve passed through exciting days. Miss Waller has been staying with us and our room is like War Headquarters.
We thought long before, that France should move its capital somewhere near the Pyrenees, and since Bordeaux has been chosen, the game has won interest, It’s full of checks and counter-checks now. Naturally England is credited with this new step,and I dare say she is at the bottom of it. “Higher Intelligence” must be used against those 42 centimetre guns. Otherwise, the battle is unequal, and is only lead and iron against soft flesh. The “Black Prince” was born in Bordeaux – and the old Cathedral there was finished by the English- so it makes the town doubly enticing.
And Petersburg exists no more. We all call it Petrograd as Petersburg is German, and the Russians don’t like the sound of it any more.
The battle of Lemberg is still raging. This is the tenth day! Germany has sent train loads of soldiers from the French border to help the Austrians, and as there’s the biggest swamp in Europe just to the north of this battle ground, perhaps they’ll try again to push the unfortunate Russians in. Von Hindenberg’s trump strategy.
I expect The Germans are bombarding Paris today. Mustn’t it be dreadful? We’re wondering if Dude is home . We saw where 10,000 more Australians had volunteered. Antwerp is holding out wonderfully, but we heard that 50 more of those 42 centremetre guns were finished and ready for transport. Where the Germans can’t use their heavy artillery and guns they never make any progress, as for instance, on the Russian border and in Lorraine. In Lorraine, the Crown Prince of Bavaria is still fighting, but apparently making no headway. It’s mountainous, and transport is difficult. But where the automobiles with their guns attached can come into action, the Allies seem to have no chance. Perhaps the Allies after the first sudden rush of the Germans will now have time to learn their system. Let us hope so. The losses for the month of August all round must run into millions. If the war lasts, then Europe will be a Continent of women. Nobody does anything but study the war map. Every man, woman and child has only this thought from morning till night. Deadly absorbing is this great conflagration.
To be continued