In the beginning the Drummond sisters were happy to be in ‘good old England’. They were also able to visit their older brother Dugald Drummond, when he was in hospital in London.
Dugald Drummond had a very interesting and distinguished military career having served in the Boer War, as well as Gallipoli, before being invalided home in 1916. He later re-enlisted and served in Special Duties for a time after the end of the war.
It was all very well for the Drummond sisters to be safe however, with England at war, Convent Garden had closed and there were no other opening for the Drummond sisters to make a living of any kind in the music world. They couldn’t continue to rely on friends to help them with their day to day living expenses, and they didn’t have any real savings to see them through. What were they to do?
Prior to World War I, Italy had an political alliance with the German and the Austria-Hungarian Empires. However, when war broke out in August 1914, Italy refused to join with these powerful empires against the French and English. In fact, they went into secret negotiations with Great Britain and France, for the promise of Austrian territory, and in May 1915, Italy entered the war on the side of the British allies.
Although details are sketchy it is known that the Drummond sisters made their way to Italy and made contact with friends in Milan. They were able to carry on under contract to Italian opera companies for the duration of the war.
When the war was over and the Spanish Influenza was raging across Europe with many thousands dying, the Drummond sisters returned to Sydney, to see family and friends.
Although much loved and respected in Australia, particularly in Sydney, Jean and ‘Lute’ Drummond returned to Europe to continue their operatic careers in the 1920’s. They made periodic trips home to Australia, but after World War II, they returned to Australia, where they remained sharing their great knowledge and experience with the next generation of students and operatic stars.
Jean Drummond died in 1935 and ‘Lute’ Drummond in 1949.
Those who are interested in the references for the above ‘writings’ of their war experiences, will find them in the local Grafton newspaper, the ‘Clarence and Richmond Examiner’. These can be found on-line at the Historical Newspapers site on Trove at the National Library of Australia. http://trove.nla.gov.au/
Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 11 Feb 1915, p2c3
Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 13 Feb 1915, p5c4
Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 16 Feb 1915, p2c3
Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 18 Feb 1915, p6 c3
Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 13 March 1915, p7c3
Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 20 Mar 1915, p7c3
Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 27 Mar 1915, p7c3
Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 3 April 1915,p5c2
Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 10 April 1915, p5 c2
Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 17 April 1915, p7c3
Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 24 April 1915, p8 c1
Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 1 May 1915, p8 c2
Clarence and Richmond Examiner, 13 May 1915, p6 c4
Clarence and Richmond Examiner,15 May 1915 p 5 c6 & 7